Storm in Shanghai


Reviewed by: sukting

September 12, 2009

Rating: three-point-five

How long
30 episodes

Foreword

‘Greed of Man’ isn’t Cheng Siu Chau’s first drama to act as a father to 4 sons. (or rather 5 sons if you wish to include his illegitimate son in this drama.) This is his first blockbuster drama after joining ATV. This is also Chow Wai Mun and Cheung Mun’s only drama with ATV. Both actresses have gone into retirement. The whole drama is shot in Shanghai to revive the old times.

Story

The setting is ShangHai in the 1920s. Siu Tien is a rich man’s son. He is unhappy with the traditional and rigid rules. He is also framed in killing an official. Thus he leaves his parents with his servant, Chung. He is very pampered so he can’t go through a lot of hardship. Still, he forces himself to become a rickshaw puller.

His girlfriend, Siu Dong sings at a nightclub and becomes popular with her good voice. Siu Tien feels inferior and thus befriends a rich man, Cho Hok Yu’s mistress , Mei Lan. He gets to work under Cho because of her. She is in love with Siu Tien. So to get his love, she sends people to gang rape Siu Dong.

Siu Dong feels that she can’t match Siu Tien so she accepts Kar Sing (Lee Dou Hung) ’s love. Siu Tien gets so disillusioned that he gets drunk and sleeps with Mei Lan. Hok Yu’s daughter, Pui San returns from overseas. She falls for Siu Tien and gets engaged to him. Mei Lan is mad with this and reveals to Hok Yu about their affair. Hok Yu chases her out of the family and she vows to seek revenge before going to Japan.

Ho Yu is assassinated and dies on their wedding day. The killing is caused by Kar Sing. Siu Tien gets rid of him and seeks revenge for Hok Yu. But he is unable to make Siu Dong return to him as she is no longer innocent and young. She decides to go to France.

Cheng Sing Bun appears in Shanghai as he wants to kill Siu Tien to avenge his father’s death. However, his wife (Chow Wai Mun) talks him out of it and he is at peace with Siu Tien. However, Siu Tien mistakens that it is his act when he nearly gets killed. Both men argue near a cliff and Sing Bun falls to his death. His wife wants to kill him but kills Pui San instead after being killed by the police.

Pui San leaves Siu Tien 4 sons while he adopts Sing Bun’s orphaned daughter. Siu Tien has good ties with the French embassy after 20 years. His five children have grown up. Yat Mun is mature, Yat Mou is reckless, Yat Choy is weak while the last two are innocent. Yat Choy wants to prove his ability but falls into Siu Tien’s enemy’s trap. He kills himself but Siu Tien manages to kill the killer.

Siu Mun comes from France and Siu Dong requests Siu Tien to take care of her. Both fall in love during the process. A Japanese, Gong Bun Yau Wo also comes at the same time to get close to the Mas. Yat Mun and Yat Mou fall for the same woman, Yuk Hung. She causes disputes among them by accepting Yat Mun’s proposal but still goes out with Yat Mou. Both brothers fight during the wedding dinner.

Yat Mou accidentally uses his gun to kill Yat Mun. Siu Tien helps Yat Mou to cover the truth to prevent him from being jailed. Yat Mou is truly in love with Yuk Hung and elopes with her. Both are suddenly killed. All these are planned by Gong Bun. He is Siu Tien’s illegitimate son – the very son bore by Mei Lan. He is here under his mother’s command after she marries a general.
Yuk Hung is the chess piece placed by him. Although Gong Bun likes Siu Mun, he woos Yat Mui. Siu Mun leaves Siu Tien to open a boutique. Gong Bun bribes an old man to tell Yat Mui that her biological father is killed by Siu Tien. Siu Tien doesn’t explain further to deepen their misunderstanding. She moves to stay with Gong Bun and now Siu Tien senses that Gong Bun isn’t a simple man.

He can’t stop Yat Mui from leaving but she soon knows that she is being made use of. She can’t escape from him but luckily Siu Tien leads her away. Yat Mui forgives him but can’t stay with him so she decides to go to France. Mei Lan returns and decides to tell Gong Bun to stop seeking revenge after meeting Siu Tien. He refuses to stop as he vows to get Siu Mun. Siu Mun can’t tolerate Siu Tien’s poor treatment and wants to leave ShangHai. Siu Tien finally realizes her importance.

He rushes to the train station with a wedding ring to keep her back. It seems smooth for both but Siu Dong turns up for their engagement. Siu Tien doesn’t know who to choose between them and Gong Bu is about to kill him when he gets caught. Siu Tien is about to avenge for his sons when Mei Lan reveals that Gong Bun is his son from their one night stand. His Japanese father is actually impotent.

Siu Tien can’t kill Gong Bun and locks him up. Gong Bun pretends to be dead to escape. He returns to Mah’s residence to place a bomb. Siu Tien isn’t at home as he is out with Siu Dong and Siu Mun. Yat Kuen doesn’t want Siu Tien to get hurt so he dispatches the bomb to get killed with Chung. Gong Bun challenges Siu Tien. Siu Tien wins the fight but lets him go.

Gong Bun returns to his superiors but all eye him with hostile as they know his parentage. They view him as a Chinese but he wants to be a Japanese till his death. He kills himself with the samurai sword. Siu Dong comes to the harbour to give Siu Mun happiness. She decides to leave Siu Tien. Siu Tien sends her off but later finds that Siu Mun also leaves him.

Siu Mun knows that Siu Tien is in love deeply with Siu Dong and doesn’t want to be her replacement. Thus Siu Tien sends her off at the same harbour. This is the evening in Shanghai. Siu Tien walks alone as he loses his whole family. He throws the watch that he has kept for years into the river. Life is like a dream and it can be endless as dreams continue one after another.

Introduction on characters

1. Mah Siu Tien – Cheng Siu Chau
He does through many ups and downs in life. Although he has the love of 3 women, he hardly enjoys it as he is burdened with too many problems. It is definitely a test to Cheng to act as a father. He holds the forte well, showing his versatile acting throughout. He even reveals his thin hairline to make a father’s figure more convincing. What more can we ask?

2. Suen Siu Dong – Chu Wai San
She is Siu Tien’s sweetheart who is able to withstand hardship and is self sacrificing. She often considers others before her own. She feels that she isn’t good enough for him after being gang raped and leaves him twice, not knowing that she brings him sadness instead. Both rekindle their love after meeting again but love isn’t as simple as before as he has many children now. Chu can look innocent and mature. She complements Cheng well in acting.

3. Fok Kar Sing – Lee Dou Hung
He is often sore over Siu Tien’s success. He doesn’t like to lose to him so he tries to get rid of him – with little success. He thinks that he has won over Siu Dong but she never belongs to him.

4. Cho Pui San – Yip Yuk Hing
She is a demure and traditional woman despite her western upbringing. Even though she knows Siu Tien’s past with Mei Lan, she is willing to oversee that. After marriage, she concentrates to look after their children. Her happiness is short lived when she gets killed. Yuk Hing should not take up this role as she looks too young to be a mother. She struggles hard with the scenes and she doesn’t match well with Cheng. Their combination is the weakest link in the drama.

5. Siu Tien’s sons
They are definitely the best that ATV can offer then with their clean cut looks and acceptable acting. I am very sorry that I can’t remember their names due to my failing memory. Please update me with any information if you have on them.

6. Mah Yat Mui – Ng Sin Mei
She is Siu Tien’s adopted daughter but she commands the most attention from him. Her elder brothers do not mind it as they also dote on her. She knows no danger of society and is easily deceived by Gong Bun. But she knows to differentiate between love and hate. Thus, she is able to let go of the hatred towards Siu Tien for causing her parents’ death directly. Sin Mei had wished to have a change from her usual childish roles in TVB but her pixie size and childish face prove to be obstructing her from making a breakthrough.

7. Gong Bun Yau Wo – Suen Hing
He has no warmth in his heart. He only wants to seek revenge on Siu Tien even before knowing that he is his father. That is because both are interested in Siu Mun and he refuses to give way. He has a sorry end when he discovers his own roots but refuses to admit it. Suen proves why he was so sort after when he was in ATV besides Kong Wah and Lui Chung Hin. He has the charisma to attract people to watch him. Even though he facing Cheng, he shows no fear or stress to place in his best.

8. Lam Siu Mun – Cheung Mun
She is attractive and young. She is a good friend of Siu Dong and regards her as her elder sister. Siu Tien finds her having a striking resemblance to Siu Dong and falls for her. Siu Mun is touched when Siu Tien takes care of her personally when she is injured in an attack. However, she is tormented in knowing that Siu Tien has not forgotten Siu Dong and decides to back out.

Normally a movie star does not act that well in dramas as they are not sure of their filming routines and procedures. Yet, Cheung shines in here, not only looking attractive but also handles sentimental scenes well. It can be considered one of her best works.

9. Cho Hok Yu – Cheung Jing
He is old but refuses to admit it. Being rich, he takes a mistress and expects her to do all his bidding. He is enraged to know that Mei Lan is unfaithful to him. Strangely, he doesn’t punish Siu Tien – his future son-in-law. He knows that Pui San is devoted to Siu Tien and doesn’t want to upset her. He has anticipated that Mei Lan makes the first move to seduce him to kick her out of his life.

10. Choi Mei Lan – Poon Sin Yee
She is a very revengeful woman. She becomes Hok Yu’s mistress unwillingly. So when she sets eyes on Siu Tien, it is love at first sight. If she doesn’t get him, no one else can. That is why she forces Siu Dong to leave him. Leaving no rivals left, she expects Siu Tien to ask for her hand in marriage. However, she is dismayed when he chooses Pui San over her.

Wanting to destroy him, she blurts her affair to Hok Yu, expecting him to throw Siu Tien out. She doesn’t expect to be the one being chased out so she vows to seek revenge. She has instilled her hatred in Gong Bun since young and keeps his parentage from him. She is repentant after meeting Siu Tien but it is too late to resolve the hatred between the two.

It is an unfavourable role but she is excellent in it! She steals the limelight in the beginning scenes and shares the same limelight with Chu.

11. Lee Yuk Hung – Lee Ching
She is a pawn in Gong Bun’s revenge plan. She is his lover but is willing to help him to carry it out. She manipulates the two brothers with her fingers but do not deprive joy in it. She falls for Yat Mou in the process and is willing to elope with him. But Gong Bun runs into a rage to discover that she has betrayed him so he orders his men to kill the pair.


She is 1987 Miss Asia first runner up but she is hardly beautiful. The only plus point is she is fair and does resemble a Japanese. She is quite plain looking and her acting has more to be desired. It is very painful to see how she acts as she has little expressions. Unlike the two actors who are convincing in showering their love for her, her response is lukewarm. I can hardly feel that she really loves him.

12. Chung – Hon Yee Sang
He is a loyal servant who sticks with Siu Tien through thick and thin. Siu Tien does not regard him as a servant but a brother. His children also treat him with respect as he takes care of them after they lose their mother. If Siu Tien is not at home, he is a fatherly figure to them.

Favourite character
Siu Dong. But she is too considerate for others. She should plan more for herself.

Most hated character
Gong Bun, he kills for the sake of killing and never repents for what he has done even after knowing that he has killed all his half brothers. Nothing matters to him than to make sure that Siu Tien pays him back with his own blood.

Song
It is 浪滔滔 by Cheng himself. We all know that he acts as well as he sings. So all should keep it since they get to come across it.

Conclusion

If I compare this drama with ‘Once upon a time in Shanghai’, I will think this is better as it provides adequate acting opportunities between the young and old actors. The later stresses too much on Cheng Siu Chau and Cheng Yuk Ling instead of Chan Chung Ling and Chan Kum Hung who should be the lead. The setting is well done – one of the best in ATV’s dramas. You will enjoy the scenery as ATV shot them beautifully.

With a strong cast, they offer a good story but you might not like the plot which comes to a sad ending. Thus I will not wish to watch it a second time even if I have the chance and will prefer to keep it impressed in my memory.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : **** (Scale of 5)

On story : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)

On songs : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)



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