Honor and Passion


Reviewed by: XWingSuki

August 01, 2008

Rating: four

Stars: Huang Wenyong, Tay Ping Hui, Felicia Chin, Bryan Wong, Rui En, Hong Huifang, Pierre Png, Nathaniel Ho, Ix Shen, Dawn Yeoh

Others: Li Yinzhu, Jin Yinji, Constance Song, Ong Ai Leng, Lina Ng, Vincent Ng

This twenty-episode sitcom drama features the life of a widowed man in his 40s in bringing up his four children, Wenjing, Wenzhong, Wenwei and Wenguo.

Huang plays Bao Pengju, who despite his stubborn daughter, Wenwei's objections, falls in love with a young woman who is manipulated by her boyfriend's desires for money, and runs off with the money from Peng's bank loan. Peng is determined to acknowledge that all women who borrow from their boyfriends are scammers, and this creates further confusion between him and his second son (Wong)'s girlfriend, Xiaonuo (Yeoh). He objects to them being together and tries to get Wenzhong to accept an independent military officer, Peipei (Chin), as he has a strong appreciation for Peipei, who is the tough and smart kind, not knowing his eldest son, Wenjing (Tay) is deeply in love with her. Only Wenwei knows that Wenjing still loves Peipei, despite Peipei has already encouraged him to give her up. Unknown to herself, what Peipei feels for Wenzhong is not actual love but her longingness for the memories shared between Peipei and Wenzhong in secondary school when she developed a crush for him.

When Wenzhong gets hurt from creditors whom Xiaonuo's cousin owes money to, Peng's misunderstanding wanders further and worsens as Xiaonuo tries to borrow money from Wenzhong when her aunt gets injured. With the help of the woman who loves him, the younger sister of his late wife, Yamei (Hong), he eventually accepts Xiaonuo as his future daughter-in-law.

Wenwei is involved in a love triangle between two men she cares for, her boyfriend Wu Chengyi (Shen) and her colleague which she initially developed misunderstandings with, Picasso (Png). Her relationships are finally resolved with the unearthing of Chengyi's true identity followed by his death, and her saving by Picasso...

Specific comments:

On Bao Pengju (Huang Wenyong): He was the typical father, probably nagging and irritating, only that he had his own problems to worry about. But he was perfectly cool in the ending, seemingly having accepted Xiaonuo as well as being pleased by his children’s success in romances. Proves very well he can take on serious and non-serious roles, as in his performance as the taxi driver in the popular sitcom Gan Gan Zuo Ge Kai Xin Ren.

On Bao Wenjing (Tay Ping Hui): The actor may be a little old for this role (but doesn’t look it), but he plays the shy and silent role of Wenjing differently as compared to the sarcastic policeman in My Mighty In Laws and his problematic man role in Mars versus Venus. I like this role best among all of his roles. He did a good job keeping his feelings to himself.

On Ouyang Peipei (Felicia Chin): Her character is unique as she doesn’t give up easily in anything, neither does she let romance affect her work. Also, when she knows Wenzhong likes Xiaonuo, she doesn’t give Xiaonuo any problems. However, I bet that every watcher is desperately wishing for her to accept Wenjing, as both characters are very well matched. I liked how Felicia acted as the ‘tough military woman’ and how she put her heart in her work. A good performance from a young actress in her twenties.
On Bao Wenzhong (Bryan Wong): I’ve never thought he is handsome; however he looks better in here than in Chinese Paladin . Perhaps glasses suit him. There’s nothing too special about his character, he isn’t as outstanding as Wenjing and there’s no chemistry between him and Felicia either. Apparently, his character hadn’t much to do but talk. His character was involved with Constance Song’s Amy in the first half, and the second half with Dawn Yeoh. I suppose he needs to work harder.

On Bao Wenwei (Rui En): I admit Mediacorp has nothing to do but give her bratty ‘sassy’ stubborn roles. Maybe that’s the future of teenagers nowadays? I don’t know. Sometimes, I’m tired of seeing her argue with her fathers and siblings (in all her roles) and then suddenly, act as Miss Nice before her friends and colleagues. Well, she has no connection with SAF other than her father and Picasso. However, she was a relief from seeing Wenzhong and Xiaonuo’s draggy moves all the time, so I need to thank Mediacorp for having Wenwei’s role. She’s quite fun, especially when she goes to the spa with Peipei and gets splashed with water, and also when Picasso tries to carry her when she’s drunk.

On Liu Yamei (Hong Huifang): I wouldn’t say she and Pengju are a good match in terms of appearance, however I can say that they were somewhat best friends and cared for each other. Somehow it wasn’t just fair that Yamei was doing a lot for Pengju and he didn’t know or was clueless on what to do about it. I was surprised that he did develop feelings for her later on. It was a bit surprising how she kept appearing in episodes when Pengju was suspicious about Xiaonuo. Anyway, a veteran actress who can act evil and good roles. She had a considerably main role in Palm of Rulai and in the movie The Maid as the mother of the boy ghost, both ‘evil’ roles, but with a good reason. She’s been in a lot of good roles too, such as in the sitcom Bo Yin Ren and others. She’s also in Kinship I believe.

On Pierre Png (Picasso Soh): His character is a bit weird when he talks or does any actions, he seems unconfident but things change when he develops feelings for Wenwei. I never expected it, but it happened near the end of the drama when Wenwei was feeling brokenhearted over her boyfriend. He had difficulty putting things into words as he is also shy. Somehow I feel his role wasn’t really important, but they were just fated as for example, he got to know Pengju through the ICT.

On Bao Wenguo (Nat Ho): He started off as a lazy person who was into chatting and looking cool with his long wig, but he changed when he entered the army. However, there wasn’t much for his character to do but be Pengju’s son. The script also added some misunderstandings between father and son so both could understand more of each other.

On Wu Chengyi (Ix Shen): Ix Shen seemed to have slimmed down as compared to his role years ago in Hero of the Times where he played as Vincent Ng’s evil older brother. His character was a little plain here, dressing in simple clothes, and lacks screen time. If I was Wenwei, I would have gotten annoyed myself if my boyfriend wasn’t there when I needed him. I couldn’t see how he loved Wenwei, and surprised myself when he said near the end “I’m afraid to lose you”. However, everything was explained in the last episode, and the love triangle was resolved.
On Liang Xiaonuo (Dawn Yeoh): She appeared in only the second half of the series, somewhat after Amy was no longer there, purposefully Mediacorp’s own reason to find Bryan Wong somebody to pair him up with while Tay was with Chin. I felt Mediacorp had to do something about her sense of fashion and her hairstyle. I prefer her hair in two ponytails than straight down, and I didn’t like how she always wore dull colours, making Wenzhong’s statement of “a girl who sweeps me off my feet” very contradictory. Anyway, she isn’t so important in the series, so she did okay, being an actress who doesn’t get much roles (haven’t seen her around much in Singapore series).

Overall:

A nice original SAF series, but needs improvement with account for the SAF scenes and the actors' lack to respond in time in certain events which require live action. Also, it could help if Rui En's screen time was balanced with Felicia’s.

The drama did a good job portraying relationships within the army but it would have been better if they focused more on army training. Nevertheless, some scenes were sweet, such as the love ribbons with Felicia and Tay, and the scene where the Bao youths and Yamei's friend got together to trick Peng in revealing his feelings for Yamei was simply funny.

This review is also posted on http://www.yurikamome.org/featured/.


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