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Reviewed by: sukting

September 10, 2014

Rating: three

How long
24 episodes

Have you ever seen Ma Tuk Chung and Lam Fung in a Chinese drama? This drama is Fung's first Mainland drama. This drama will be able to satisfy your curiosity. It is on the rivalry between two advertising companies. Which is better than the other? The staff manage to settle their differences to work for a better future.  

1. Lam Fung as Long Tian Jue
He is the manager of creativity and production in Li Tian. He makes guys jealous over his capability. In the eyes of his boss, he is a wild horse which is hard to tame. In the eyes of women, he is perfect. He is Xin Li's world and she sticks to him all this while. When Tian Jue first joins the advertising firm, he is very reckless. He can't stand the rigid ways of his boss and unreasonable from clients.

He feels that the world owes him and overlooks his talents. He doesn't do his self-reflection till he meets Chuang Qi. The love setbacks also make him revisit his ideas to become Chuang Qi's Zhuge Liang in his career. He also steps in to help the company when it runs into a crisis.

Fung has matured in his acting but somehow, his role as a spoilt brat is no difference from his usual TVB drama roles.  Fans might crack up at the scene where Tian Jue cracks his brain on how to shoot a sanitary pad commercial. It is classic indeed!   
2. Tang Yan as Ruan Xin Li
She is the brands manager in Li Tian who has the wits and the beauty. Many have thought that she only falls in love with her job.  She is sore with her boss who seizes all her credits to make her shoulder all the blame. She endures it initially but later can't bear it anymore to challenge his authority. Chuang Qi admires her talents to get her deal with the important clients. 

However, her decision to cross over to Yi Wei shocks all. She can't bear Tian Jue's arrogance anymore. Both keep picketing as a couple so she decides to force him to change. She brings all the clients away with her so Tian Jue has to start from scratch again. She returns to Li Tian after Zhi Sheng entrusts her with the responsibility. Yan has improved in her acting and she complements well with Fung.  She has taken on a more mature role instead of acting cute in other dramas.  

3. Ma Tuk Chung as Liu Chuang Qi
He is the dashing and understanding  GM of Li Tian. He is very stable, mature and has good foresight. He is able to tame Tian Jue with his patience and explanation. Every small company is important to him as a client and he acts like Liu Bei. 

His own weakness is he is too softhearted. He is indecisive on choosing the woman he loves. He has signed the divorce papers with Lian Li but both have not finalized their divorce. He is about to marry Ruo Lin when Ruo Lin discovers his past.  She then proceeds to marry Ren Jie, another colleague. He reconsiders and finds Lian Li still important to him. He decides to woo her all over again.

Tuk Chung is exceptionally dashing here and he acts well as the man torn in love. He looks good in all the clothes – why not have him modelling on stage? It is a pity.  
4. Chen Ran as Zhou Lian Li
The capable GM of Yi Wei who doesn't lose out to men. She has the face of an angel and a devil's figure. Many men want to get fresh with her but fails. She knows the human too well. She is aware how a woman must survive in the business world so she uses her wits to defend her position. She is always having the upper hand dealing with clients. 

She keeps a distance from all potential suitors except Chuang Qi. She is unable to stop her love for him even though he is going to marry Ruo Lin and secretly helps him to get clients when Li Tian nearly folds up. Chen is a credible actress who compliments Tuk Chung well too in their love-hate relationship.    

5. Yuan Hong as Ou Yang Le
The brands manager of Yi Wei who is Lian Li's capable assistant. If Li Tian has Tian Jue, Tian Jue's only opponent will be him. when compared with Tian Jue, he is equally handsome but he is more reserved. He knows and understands women well. He can wonder how much hardship they need to go through. There is unspeakable empathy in his eyes whenever he is with Lian Li.

He is like an elder brother and close friend to Xin Li. He knows that Xin Li is with him to try to forget Tian Jue so he works with her. However, he is sure that he only likes Lian Li. So he wishes Lian Li to give him an equal chance to be with her as like she gives chances to Chuang Qi. Lian Qi then decides to let nature goes on its own course as she can't decide who to choose.  Hong shows that he acts in modern dramas as well as in period drama roles. Thumbs up for his acting!   

6. Zhu Xuan as Pang Ruo Lin
She is the producer of Yi Wei. It is love at first sight when she meets Chuang Qi. She later helps him in his daily private life and career. He is hesitant when she moves in to stay with him as he is unprepared after Lian Li leaves him. She realizes how little Chuang Qi understands her to get her a necklace instead of a ring as she can't wear jewellery as she is allergic to metal and gold.

She waits a long time for Chuang Qi's wedding proposal but he offers her none. Thus, she is disillusioned to marry another man. She regrets at first as she truly loves Chuang Qi but later loves her husband. She can't return to Chuang Qi again even though he requests her as the feelings are not the same anymore. Xuan is quite pretty but her role shows little depth so I can't tell much about her acting.        

7. Chi Shuai as Guan Zhi Sheng
He is the gentle and caring managing director. Many regard him as a perfect man like Chuang Qi. He is like Guan Yu who comes up with the most ideas. In the eyes of others, he is their best friend, boss, brother, man and husband. He loves his family but neglects them due to work.

Thus, his wife files for divorce to fight for his son's custody. He trains Tian Jue to take over the company as he knows that he is critically ill. He later dies of leukemia when he is unable to find a suitable match but his family sticks with him to the end. His acting is passable – not much can be developed from a too good to be true rule.  This arrangement is too predictable – countless times in other dramas.   

8. Yang Ting Ting as An Qi
She is also worshipped by her fans as a fashion icon. She has wits and beauty too. She is cheerful and persistent in her modeling job to want perfection. She is attracted by Tian Jue to fall in love deeply for him. Although she  knows that she loses out to Xin Li, she keeps trying and isn't afraid of concealing her love. I find her not pretty enough to be a model but her acting makes up the deficit.

Interesting facts
The golden director Yip Siu Yee planned this drama. She was formerly the director for 《义不容情》、《我和春天有个约会》、《大时代》、《新不了情》、《银狐》and《戏王之王》to name a few classic dramas. It was said to come up with novels to complement the drama. She wanted to make sure that it truly reflected the lives of the professionals at work to bring out the rivalry in the advertising media. She also included the car business and international working conditions.

At first, the director was thinking of shooting 84 episodes. Due to the lack of resources, she stopped at 24 episodes. The actresses she found were all tall, at more than 170cm. They matched Tuk Chung well. Many joked that actors shorter than 180cm did not have to go through audition for this drama. Fung turned down 5 offers to accept this one. It was filmed in Shanghai and Hong Kong. 

This was the first time Yan and Fung worked together. Fung wanted to know more about Yan so he found out from TVB artiste head Lok Yee Ling about her details. He also wanted to get recognized for the viewership. He only had the drafts at hand then and was unsure about the development but he believed that it should be different from his usual dramas.

Through reading the script, he found that it was different from the good guys roles that he portrayed in recent years. Tian Jue is forceful and sometimes uses extreme methods to gain his profits but he isn't too evil as to harm others. He is ambitious and sticks to his principles. This is quite realistic and he actually wants to act as a baddie or pervert but so far, no one approaches him. 

Many were attracted by Fung and Hong in this drama. They found their presence too difficult to resist. However, they disagreed that the actors were significant to the characters of the three kingdoms. Only Zhi Sheng is qualified to be Guan Yu. Tian Jue is only clever after many setbacks and never contributes to any success. How can he be Zhuge Liang? He only steps on Zhi Sheng's wisdom.   

Ran was thrilled to take up the role. She cut her hair short and when she appeared in a camel colour suit with shorts and high heels, all could not recognized her. She found the role challenging and wished all to watch. It was inevitable that all would compare this with 'The Promotion of Du La La'. The cast begged to differ. The former was on how the lead grew on her job while theirs was a true reflection on sales and advertisement industry. Yip confessed that Ran was her top choice for the role.  

Yan also denied that Xin Li was like La La. She disliked her childish voice and tried to be more mature for this role. She had watched Yip's works for a long time and was overjoyed to work with her.

There were 2 groups of supporters – one rooting for Hong/Yan while the other rooting for Fung/Yan. Fung's fans argued that the scene where Fung drove past to see the two kissing was heartbreaking. More so when Tian Jue was fired from his job later to lose out in career and love. Hong's fans maintained that Le was equally affectionate to be romantic. Yuan Hong had to rush through filming this to join Bu Bu Jing Xin's set so it was unfair to compare.
Most favourite character
Chuang Qi, he gives his staff time to develop their abilities. But he can be stubborn at times, rejecting Lian Li's help. If not for Zhi Sheng, the company will just close down.                                                                                                                 

Most hated character
Lian Li, she keeps coming between Ruo Lin and Chuang Qi. She can't contain her jealousy when both are together. They break up due to her. I have thought that the two are a fantastic couple if not for her intrusion. 

The Theme song is Si Shi Er Fei (似是而非) Specious by Fung while the subtheme song: Huo Xu Lai De Ji (或许来得及) Perhaps There's Still Time is by Yuan Hong. Both actors sing quite well.

Seriously, I find that this drama could have just stopped at 20 episodes. Going to 24 is too draggy. It is no different from the usual dramas on love and competition. I am disappointed in a way as I expected more from a Hong Kong director on a more original story. However, I am glad that I am spared from watching stage-like artistes yelling at high pitch at the top of their voices.

Still, I always feel that joint productions with China cast is hardly successful. 'The Drive of Life' is a good example. It nearly drives many nuts instead as it is too long. Fung might have chosen this drama as Tuk Chung is also in it. It is a good way to try to act opposite different actresses – it gives a change. Luckily, he makes a wise choice this time.

Tuk Chung's co-stars are also okay, subdued and less exaggerating from their counterparts.  I like it as his usual co-stars are either Hsuan Hsuan or Kwok Ho Ying. The characters have different personalities and although there is little breakthrough for the two actors, I will still encourage all to watch it.  It truly shows how the industry works but it is slowed by the many love relationships which I find redundant.        
Sukting's ratings:
On acting : *** (Scale of 5)
On story : **1/2 (Scale of 5)
On song : *** (Scale of 5)

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