Born Rich

Reviewed by: juphelia

January 07, 2013

Rating: three

I bought this series because of the star studded cast. After all, how can Ray Lui, Kenix Kwok, Jamie Chik, Anita Yuen, Gallen Lo, Joe Ma and Lau Siu Ming go wrong, especially since it is so rare for them to act in TVB series nowadays? Because of my high hopes, I was kinda disappointed because the plot is only mediocre. It would be better if the show is thirty episodes instead of the 39 or 41 episodes, as many parts are quite unnecessary.

The story started off with the introduction of the Cheuk family, flanked by eldest brother Marcus (Ray Lui, who never seems to age from his Bund days), his wife Connie (Jamie Chik, almost unrecognisable now save for her pointy nose), their two children, his younger sister Rene (Anita Yuen) and their mother Musa (Nancy Sit). The family owns a bank. Does this sound similar to the Yip family in Cold Blood Warm Heart, which incidentally Gallen Lo also played the main villian in there, and Anita Yuen's husband Julian Cheung also had a major role? But Cold Blood Warm Heart is a much better show, even though it is longer at sixty episodes.

The series then went on to Sabah, where the Sa brothers are introduced, Sa Fu Loi (Gallen Lo) and his younger brother Sa Po Loi (Kenneth Ma). Due to their being orphaned at a young age and poverty, both brothers had to be con artists to make ends meet. Fu Loi loves his younger brother dearly and would do anything to protect him, and Po Loi has deep respect and admiration for his elder brother and would always remain loyal to him. Even though they were con artists, they never physically harmed anyone.

Old man Cheuk went missing in Sabah. It was later established that he was looking for his long lost son in Sabah, Cheuk Yat Ming. Coincidentally, Yat Ming was the Sa brothers' neighbour who died early, and they became the administrators of his estate. When Marcus went to Sabah to find Yat Ming, Fu Loi passed himself off as Yat Ming, and Po Loi passed himself off as "Yat Ming's sworn brother. Marcus then brought both of them back to Hong Kong, where Fu Loi realised is the only way to make money and have a better living for his brother and himself.

Before Marcus went to Sabah, Rene went there on his behalf, on the pretext of looking for her half brother. But she never intended to look for him as she was angry with her father for cheating on her mother and they never found out until recently. She met Fu Loi when he passed himself off as her tour guide to go to Mount Kinabalu. However, after he saved her from a kidnap attempt, getting himself injured in the process, they developed feelings for each other, although she still went back to Hong Kong soon after that.

When Marcus brought Fu Loi / Yat Ming back to Hong Kong, Musa did not approve and wanted to throw him out. But when she found out her husband had died in Sabah and his last wish was to reunite with his long lost son, she kind of adopted Fu Loi / Yat Ming and treated him as her own son, even giving him the villa her husband left behind, where he stayed with Po Loi, while the rest of the family stayed on their house near the Peak.

Upon arriving in Hong Kong, Fu Loi / Yat Ming thought with his new found status, he could officially woo Rene, so sought her out and she responded. But just when they could progress, she found out he was her half brother, and threw a fit. He too was shocked, but because he wanted to be recognised as part of the Cheuk family, he continued up the farce and buried his feelings for Rene.

Marcus then brought Fu Loi / Yat Ming into the bank to work. That was when the story became a tad more interesting, as the things Fu Loi / Yat Ming did, one wonders if he was really ignorant of banking regulations, or he was deliberately making mistakes to get the bank into trouble, just so he could gain others' trust and oust his elder brother?

The relationships are also complex. Marcus and Angie (Kenix Kwok) were childhood friends and even dated for a while. But he chose to marry Connie and start a family with her. Yet when Angie came back and declared she never could forget Marcus, he could not make up his mind which woman he wanted. I thought he made up his mind long ago when he got married? Then why still hesitate? Plus if he knew Angie still had feelings for him, why did he want to go entertain her to lead her on further? When he started the affair, he thought he could just string both women along, and never once thought of divorcing his wife until she confronted him about it. I find this aspect of him such a weakling! How can he think he can get away having both women? There are quite a few unnecessary parts here which I think can be cut down.

The petty quarrel between Musa and her singing buddy is also totally unnecessary and can be cut out completely. This alone takes up about two to three episodes, which can be better used to focus on the power struggle between Fu Loi / Yat Ming and Marcus.

I also dislike Angie's father (Lau Siu Ming) for encouraging his daughter to steal Marcus away from Connie. Which father would ask his own child to be a third party and break up other's marriage? And I feel so much for Connie when in the midst of their separation when they were not even formally divorced, and Angie's father died, Marcus was standing by Angie's side throughout and did not even sit with his own family! No doubt at that point in time he felt Angie needed him, but he was still officially married, so should he not fulfil his own obligations to his own family first?

I find the whatever romance between Fu Loi / Yat Ming and Rene also does not make sense. Ok, she was heartbroken when she found out the guy she liked was her brother, and he could not tell her the truth either. So she went with Topman (Joe Ma). It could really be a sense of rebound in the beginning, but later on she really wanted to be with him. But if that was the case, should she not have made up her mind that Topman was the one she loved, instead of still hesitating? Fu Loi / Yat Ming did not actually start anything with her, so would the feelings not have cooled off by then since they were not that deep in the first place?

No doube Fu Loi / Yat Ming was driving her crazy with his antics, but since she has already made up her mind, why would she want to create the opportunity for him to be alone with her? She should just totally avoid him altogether and not see him unless absolutely necessary.

The ending was rather anti climatic. Even though it was a happy ending for all, I expected more drama after the intense build up over the last few episodes. Everyone went back to their own normal lives and Fu Loi got away easy. The one part that did not make sense was that, why would Rene and Topman choose to settle down in Sabah, especially since the guy who caused her the most misery was there?

All in all, it was not an unbearable show to watch. It is still ok from beginning to end, but it would have been better if some parts were cut off. Still, the stellar cast made up for the mediocre plot. Watch it for the actors, not for the plot. If you want plot, the similar plot of Cold Blood Warm Heart is much better, and that too have rather great actors.

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