General Father, General Son


Reviewed by: sukting

June 08, 2008

Rating: three

How long
12 VCDs

Foreword
As SC has done an excellent storytelling in her review, I shall only focus on the characters analysis in my review. I will also compare it with 'Lady Fan' since many characters are the same.

Introduction on characters

1. Fan Lei Far – Chan Mun Yee
She makes such a great warrior. Lei Far is strong and can also be demure. Who is not captured by her smiles and also her marvelous ability to make important decisions? Despite being framed and wronged by Ding San for numerous times, she is able to get back to her feet again. Man Yee was superb in the role. I like the way she handles the spear and other war scenes. Although headstrong, she has an air of demureness whenever Lei Far is shy or when she talks to the elders.

Hsuan Xuan – TVB should stop giving her all these strong-willed roles. She is being stigmatized to act in these roles far too long and too many.

2. Suet Ding San – Wong Yat Wah
He is the most inflexible and stubborn. Even his father has accepted Fan Lei Far but why can't he? This coward chooses not to tell his parents that he is forced to marry Sin Tong and later Lei Far. Just because one is a bandit and another is not a Han? Or because he lost and got caught by them in many instances? Argh!!

He is just too proud to admit defeat. Aren't men supposed to keep their promises? I nearly tore my hair when he feigns ill to escape marrying Lei Far.

Upon seeing the poor treatment that he gives both women, I feel like telling them to marry other men instead. This man is not worthy of their affections. And yes, I derive pleasure to see how Yan Guai ignores him because he truly deserves this treatment! I even wish that he should suffer and get burned longer in the fire trap! Why? Because he is the culprit who also sets Yeung Fan free in the first place.

Who can forgive him when he accuses Lei Far for having an affair with Ying Long? This man must have gone out of his mind. That is why I applaud when he kneels all the way to the nunnery to seek her forgiveness. This is the worst humiliation to a man. Yat Wah also handles the role with ease. He is impressive in the role. If not, he could not have made me dislike this role so much.

Ma Tuck Chung – he doesn't look comfortable in period dramas. Yat Wah makes this role detestable but he makes Ding San irritating because his role lacks common sense. Because of his tall built, he looks awkward in the soldier uniform.

3. Yeung Fan – Lai Hon Chi
He is an evil general who will stop at nothing to get Lei Far because he loves her. He nearly tricks her into marrying him but she gets away. His hatred extends to Ding San – he will not let him have Lei Far since she doesn't belong to him too. He frames Lei Far for killing Hong and Pao. Later, he kills Ying Long to frame Ding San. This causes so much conflict between the two. This actor is great!

Tsang Wai Kuen – he also delivers a splendid performance as the evil Fan. Actually he is more devoted to Lei Far than Ding Shan. Why doesn't she accept him? He refrains from hurting or harming her initially but this woman forces him, not giving him room for any choice.

4. Suet Ying Long – Chan Ying Chun
He is so cute! He likes Lei Far at first sight and tries to win her to be his wife. When he fails, he becomes her adopted son instead. I can't help laughing to see how filial he is. He can't rest his mind when she is with Yeung Fan and tails them. He is also wise to track down the mastermind behind her family's killings. I feel so sorry that he is killed by Yeung Fan. Who is the nitwit who arranged this?! Chan never disappoints me with his acting and he shines in here again despite the limited screen presence he gets.

Chan Kok Bong - he is equally adorable and likeable too.

5. Dau Yat Fu – Lee Kok Lam
He treats Sin Tong well and often speaks up for her in front of Ding San. He is fond of Kam Lin and always tries to woo her. He joins the army and gives up his bandit livelihood because of her. He becomes upright and even protects Lei Far from Yeung Fan when she is in labour.

Lee Kar Shing – he is also persuasive as the caring brother.

6. Chun Hon – Poon Hong Bun
He is Yat Fu's friend and is a lecher. He nearly molests Sin Tong but is nearly discovered by Yat Fu so he claims to save her instead. Later, he turns his attention to Kam Lin when Sin Tong is engaged to Ding San. At first, he is loyal to the army but he defects to Yeung Fan when he loses to him. He is actually a coward who treasures his life than anything else. Yeung Fan kills him by mistake when he goes berserk to think that he is his master. No one will shed tears for this traitor.

7. Dau Sin Tong – Kung Chi Yan
She is witty, pretty and also talented although she is a spitfire. She is as direct as Lei Far to propose marriage to Ding San. She gives Ding San a lot of assistance in wars and hopes to marry him soon but this man always finds excuses to defer it. She bears with it long enough till Lei Far is going to be the first wife. I don't blame her for trying to make Lei Far's life difficult on her wedding day.

She is caring to feel sorry for Lei Far when she loses her family. In comparison, Ding San's heart is made of stone and doesn't believe in Lei Far's innocence. Thus Lei Far treats her like an elder sister to offer her tea. In order to save Ding San's life when he is injured by Yeung Fan, she loses her skills and becomes wheelchair bound. Ding San doesn't forsake her and takes her in as the second wife. Her efforts are finally paid off and her happiness starts here.

Chi Yan is at top form for this role and doesn't lose out in looks to Man Yee. She shares equal screen time with Man Yee, capturing our attention at all times.

Lo Mun Chong – I don't know why TVB chooses to disfigure her to make her a lowly servant. To create a chance to be grateful to Lei Far to help her to restore her looks? Still, Lo offers insight into her role.

8. Suet Kam Lin – Yeung Pan Pan
She is Ding San's willful younger sister who can't keep secrets. She is also indecisive on who to choose as her prospective husband although she knows that Yat Fu and Hon like her. She is initially supportive of only having Sin Tong to be her sister-in-law but after finding Lei Far to be nice, she also accepts her. Pan Pan makes Kam Lin to be very annoying and obstinate.

Ou Jing Yee – she likes to go outdoors and tells others their fortune. But Yan Guai dislikes this and she has to do this in secret. She looks very weak in appearance so is unsuitable for the role.

9. Suet Yan Guai – Ha Yu
No wonder his son resembles him. He is equally stubborn. He enjoys flattery and is deceived countless times – by his family over the nightmare issue, Hon and also his subordinates. He has nightmares of getting killed by Ding San to be mistaken as a tiger so he is very wary of him. Alas – shouldn't Ding San hate him more instead as he is shot by him 7 years ago?!

He is aware of Ding San's talents but he will not give him important roles. He treats him as cheap labour. It is little wonder that Ding San is bitter over it. Ha Yu lacks the looks of a general while the others have! Why aren't the others chosen instead?

Shek Sau – he gives a constant performance as always.

10. Fan Hong – Chu Tiet Wor
He is initially firm not to marry Lei Far to the enemy but has to give in as she is so insistent and he loses the war. It is sad that one letter by Yeung Fan and Hon ends his life miserably.

Lo Lok Lum – also at par with Chu's acting as he is a veteran actor.

11. Fan Bao – Ho Kwong Lun
He is Lei Far's elder brother who has the brawns but no brains. But he is still a doting brother to her. He and Hong are victims to die in Fan's hands.

12. Lau Kam Far – Ko Miu See
She is very demure and takes care of the family well. Her whole life is to worry over the men's safety when they are at war. All will be won over by her long suffering love for all.

Cheng Hor Wai – she is the most horrendous mother-in-law that all will not want to have. She goes all out to make Lei Far suffer.

13. Mrs Fan – Nam Hong
She is like Mrs Suet – demure and cares for her children. She supports Lei Far in choosing her own husband. Upon knowing that Lei Far killed her son and husband, she still conceals her grief to try to marry Lei Far. When that fails and no one believes that Lei Far is innocent, she kills herself.

14. Tsui Mou Gong – Chan Chung Kin
He tells the fates and fortunes of all but he can't stop tragedies from happening. What he will try to do is to reduce the hurt caused.

15. Chow Ching – Lau Kok Shing
He is Yan Guai's capable assistant and is mad at him for making Hon his sidekick because he likes flattery. He is careful in wars but he dies in an attack due to Yan Guai's stupid decision.

16. Dong Luk –Cheung Lui
He is also another talented general. Like Ching, he tries hard to bring Yan Guai and Ding Shan closer by creating chances for them. Too bad he dies with Ching in the same war.

17. Prince Lee Sai Mun – Ng Chun Yu
He is the strictly no-nonsense type – to carry out rewards and punishments when required. The other generals certainly know how to make use of his authority to force Yan Guai and Ding Shan to listen to them. He becomes the emperor but still makes visits to the camps.

Liu Kai Chi – he makes an aged Sai Mun comical.

18. Abbess Lee San – Lee Heung Kam
She forsees from Lei Far's fortune to tell her about her pre3vious life. She knows that Kei Far has a rocky road ahead but supports her decision by giving her all the weapons she needs.

Suet Nei – turns out to be a naggy old woman instead.

19. Priest Yellow Brow – Cheng Kwan Min
He is highly skilled but his disciple, Ding Shan is pure stupid to let Fan off for causing havoc to the world. He has wanted to keep Ding Shan longer but this troublemaker leaves him no choice but to hand over all his precious weapons to help him out too.

20. Chan Kam Ding – Kwong Chi Nei (in Lady Fan)
She is Ding San's first sweetheart but seeks to create discord by being his second wife. She doesn't know martial arts but she has a sharp tongue. This actress is hopeless – no wonder I never see her in other lead roles all these years.

21. Fan Mou – Wai Kar Hong(in Lady Fan)
He is Lei Far's younger brother and is very protective towards her. He dislikes the Suets for bullying Lei Far. So much that he follows her all the way to Central Plains to stay with her.

22. Fan Wai – Mok Kar Yiu (in Lady Fan)
He is Lei Far's elder brother who is past caring how she feels. He keeps pressing her to marry Fan – so as to get more military power from her. He is so foolish to believe whatever Fan says.

23. Cheng Yiu Kam – Chun Wong
He is the only actor who appears in both dramas as the old but witty general.

Most favourite character
Lei Far – she is simply perfect – in beauty, skills and in wits. That is why she is chosen as the general. Who is to be as capable as her to go to war even though she is pregnant?

Most hated character
Not Fan but Ding Shan. He makes empty promises to Lei Far. So frequently that it breaks her heart that he has to eat the humble pie in order to win her back.

Song
The themesong 'Do not be afraid of success or failure' is by Frances Yip Lai Yee. Her strong voice brings out the herosim of the song. The themesong in 'Lady Fan' is by Lo herself. She sings quite well although it can't be a hit.

Interesting facts

This drama helped the whole cast become more popular. It spanned a long drama craze - TVB shot many general series in 1985. We had 'Suet Yan Guai Ching Sai', 'Suet Kong Fan Tong' and also 'The Yang Generals'. Probably TVB did not want to put the general costumes to waste after making them? However, we could still see that some were recycled from 'Demi Gods, Semi Devils'.

It was rumoured that Chi Yan and Yat Wah fell in love during the shooting of this drama. It proved the viewers wrong as Yat Wah was already going steady with his present wife, Kit Wah. Chi Yan also married someone else. Her second marriage is to Taiwanese actor, Lin Wei.

Many called Man Yee a superwoman. She could learn how to handle the spear in the morning and managed it with ease when shooting in the afternoon. Pan Pan gave her a lot of help as she is a pugilist expert.

Conclusion

It is a small scale production so please do not expect to find lavish battle scenes in here. Some special effects also look cheesy. But TVB valued their artistes then, putting their talents to best use. All do their jobs well – otherwise this production will become a less than average material. The actresses are convincing as warriors, not losing to the actors.

Yat Wah is cast as the sad hero too many times so this is a refreshing change for us to see him as an obstinate character. In fact, I am so convinced by his acting that I curse Ding Shan many times for forsaking Lei Far. I wonder why producers of both dramas are so kind to Ding Shan to arrange two wives for him. Ding Shan hasn't done anything particular touching for both.

He marries Sin Tong out of gratitude. He also marries Lei Far unwillingly initially – just to fulfill a promise and Prince Sai Mun forces him. The person he loves most is himself. Wilful to deceive his parents, always wanting to do things his own way and also trusting the wrong people. Oh – how I wish to whip him!

The actresses are self-sacrificing and loveable. Despite the cold shoulder he often gives them, they risk their lives to save him. They also assist him in battles. They deserve better men. And it isn't explained if Kam Lin chooses Yat Fu in the end. The ending is quite abrupt with the birth of Suet Kong. Fan's death comes too fast – although it is explained that Kong's birth causes him to lose his powers. But at least it provides a happy ending with Sin Tong's marriage to Ding Shan.

'Lady Fan' is also of average standard. Although Xuan and Tuck Chung have worked together in a few dramas, they hardly look like a couple here, especially when their fate is linked together by parts of a ring which is very ridiculous. To make matters worse, they don't have the ancient looks. 'General Father, General Son' is still slightly better than it.

Sukting's ratings :

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

On story : *** (Scale of 5)

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


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