Dare To Strike

Reviewed by: Lingz13

September 08, 2003

Rating: three-point-five

Mandarin Title: Sao Bing Zhe

Cheung Chilam - Jiang Dihui
Li Nanxing - Wang Shen
Ann Kok - Xiaoxiang
Monica Chan - Dong Xue
Stephen Au - Hu Shichang
Andrew Lien Kai - Gao Tianyi
Damien Lau (Liu Songren )- Li Dechao
Huang Zhongkun - Mad Dog(Xiao Gao)
May Phua - Liu Shihui
Chen Wencong - Baldie(Xiaozun)
Constance Song - Ann

This TCS serial was basically about anti-narcotics officers bustling drug syndicates. Two CNB officers, Dihui and Wang Shen, were sent on an exchange programme to Taiwan and Hong Kong respectively. Dihui was a capable but hot headed cop. He has an ex-wife, Liu Shihui, who actually still loves him. In Taiwan, Dihui worked as an undercover agent. He got acquainted with underworld leaders, Mad Dog and Gao Tianyi. Many comical and interesting happenings took place in Taiwan. Later, with his capabilities, he won the trust of Gao Tianyi, to the extent of almost burying Wang Shen alive even though his heart ached. He knew he has to accomplish his mission at all costs. And he did successfully became the right hand man of Gao. In the meantime, he fell in love with Xiaoxiang, a 'xiao tai mei'. However because of his undercover status, he was unable to commit himself totally to this relationship. And when forced by circumstances to arrest his then good buddy Gao Tianyi, he was torn between loyalty and friendship. Back in Singapore, he was framed by best pal, Wang Shen, and became a wanted man. To find out the truth, he went to New Zealand.

On the other hand, Wang Shen, a righteous and commited cop, initially could not get along with his new HK partner, Li Dechao. After facing many difficulties together, they became great pals. Unfortunatly, Li Dechao was killed by baddies. Wang Shen was grieved. He suffered another shock when his long time Singapore girlfriend, Ann, dumped him for another guy. He began to wallow in despair until a HK star, Dong Xue, brought light into his life. Just when he thought he had luck and happiness, another shock came. Dong Xue was actually a spy sent to seduce him by Hu Shichang, the HK drug king whom he had always wanted to arrest. Being a cop, Wang Shen could do nothing about Hu. Instead, he was repeatedly insulted and humiliated by Hu. After all this, he began to realize that a cop was useless and that the power of the bad was unlimited. His character took a drastic change. He stole the Blue Ice formula and earned a great pile from it. He even plotted the deaths of Inspector Ou and Tommy Zhong, a Singaporean policeman. He didn't even let his best pal, Dihui, off.

Dihui and Wang Shen fought it out on the snowy mountains of New Zealand..

- The character that left the deepest impression on me was the Taiwanese triad chief, Mad Dog, played by Huang Zhongkun. He was so hilarious and the way he talked with that strong Taiwanese accent was real funny and cute. I always looked forward to his appearance on the show. It was a pity that this character disappeared so early in the serial. If there was a chance, I would definitely present the 'Best Supporting Actor' award to Huang Zhongkun. The handsome Lian Kai was also quite convincing as the Taiwanese triad leader who valued brotherhood ties very much and was devoted to his paralysed wife.

- Hu Shichang, the most vicious, despicable and crazy character in the whole show. Ou Jingtang's (Stephen Au) portrayal of this role was flawless. I always thought that he could only act good guy roles, especially those imitating Bruce Lee (which he did a good job of!) This serial proved me wrong. He is actually a versatile actor and all his gestures were so convincing. The only problem perhaps was the dubbing. If only they had used his original voice, it would have been more natural.

- The 2 lead actors, Chilam Cheung and Li Nanxing, both turned in good performances too. The character, Jiang Dihui, was one of my favourites in this serial. From the a bit dim-witted but righteous Guo Jing in Legend of the Condor Heroes'94 to the sentimental policeman Luo Zijian in Cold Blood Warm Heart and then to the kind hearted Wenchu in Return of the Cuckoo, Chilam has certainly shown maturity in his acting. As for our TCS "Ah ge" (Big Brother), Li Nanxing, I think compared to the other HK and Taiwan actors in this show, there is still room for improvement. Frankly speaking, this character, Wang Shen was not really likeable. But his performance was quite impressive during the last few espisodes which marked his transistion from policeman to drug king. On a side note, the serial in which Li Nanxing fully impressed me was The Unbeatables 2. Till now, I still remember pretty clearly his character in there - the suave, capable and devoted Gambling King, Yan Fei.

- Dare To Strike is a male-dominated serial, therefore the leading actresses do not really play important roles - they were just there as the leading actors' love interests. Constance Song and May Phua's performances were not that outstanding. I didn't really like the Ann, the character played by Constance Song. I thought it was pretty mean of her to desert her long time boyfriend. I did pity Wang Shen in this aspect. As for Monica Chan, a former Miss Hong Kong, she looked gorgeous and striking in this show. On another side note, I liked her best in Duke of Mount Deer 2000, though I don't think highly of that production. Special mention to TCS pretty "san-jie" (No. 3), Ann Kok. This was her last TCS serial before venturing into the overseas market. This was the first time that she took on this kind of role. Her Xiaoxiang had to wear skimpy clothes and was a bit "ah lian". I wouldn't say her acting was superb but at least there was a certain standard. She had adequate chemistry with her co-star, Chilam, too.

A splendid plot. An outstanding cast. Beautiful scenic spots. No unnecessary dragging.

One of the better TCS dramas that I have watched these few years (from 1998 onwards). Though it doesn't have many A list stars, it certainly surpasses all those so called TCS blockbusters like The Legendary Swordman and Home Affairs. Dare to Strike is a serial of high standard and if you are one of those who like thrilling action-packed serials, this is a good choice.

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