Heart of Greed II: Moonlight Resonance

Reviewed by: dianat

October 12, 2008

Rating: three-point-five


Ha Yu as Kam Tai Jo or Jo Bau (boss of a successful mooncake business, Ka Ho Yuet Yuen)
Louise Lee Sze Ki as Chung Siu Hor, or Hor-ma (Kam's first wife)
Michelle Yim as Yan Hung (Kam's second wife)
Lee Heung Kam as Grandma Sheh Gwan Lai (or ma-ma as the children address her)

Moses Chan as son Ka
Raymond Lam Fung as son Ho
Tavia Yeung as adopted daughter Yuet
Chris Lai as son Yuen
Fala Chen as daughter Hin
Vincent Wan as son Chung
Linda Chung as Yu So Sum (nicknamed Yu So Tsau, Yan Hung's daughter by her first husband)

Susanna Kwan as Salina Chung Siu Sa (or Sa Yi as the children address her; sister of Chung Siu Hor)
Kate Tsui as Camie Lo Ka Mei (Salina's daughter by her ex-husband)

Bosco Wong as Dr. Ling Chi Shun or Ling-B
Louis Yuen as Yan Chi (Salina's husband from Portugal)
Dexter Yeung as Kelvin Cheng Ga Lok (Hin's husband)
Chow Chung as Grandpa Chung Fan Dat (or Uncle Dat; father of Siu Hor and Siu Sa)
Lei Kwok Lun as Yu Hak Keung (Yan Hung's ex-husband)
Wayne Lai as Lin Chi Yung (worker in Hor-ma's mooncake business)

This 40-episode drama follows in the wake of TVB's successful Heart of Greed (2007). The cast of Heart of Greed I returns in this 40-episodes drama which revolves around the Kam family and their successful moon cake business.

Kam Tai Jo (Jo Bau as the children call him) and his first wife Chung Siu Hor (a.k.a. Hor-ma) built a successful small moon cake business with a corporate name "Ka Ho Yuet Yuen" which is derived from the names of their children. Further meaning is derived when they put the rest of the children's names together. "Ka Ho Yuet Yuen Hin Chung Tsau" means family bliss as people celebrate the mid-autumn festival. The mid-autumn festival is associated with a full moon and the eating of moon cakes. The "brand" song in this drama series is the Mandarin "The Moon Represents My Heart" and is sung and whistled many times in the 40-episodes.

When Jo Bau divorced Hor-ma for Yan Hung (a.k.a. Hung), Jo gains custody of Ka (Moses Chan), Yuen (Chris Lai) and Chung (Vincent Wan) while Hor-ma gets custody of Ho (Raymond Lam), adopted daughter Yuet (Tavia Yeung) and Hing (Fala Chen). Hung has a daughter by her first marriage, Yuet So-Tsau (Linda Chung).

While Hor-ma is the extreme good-hearted, understanding, and forgiving woman who dishes out lousy gags to make people laugh, Hung is depicted as the evil, cunning, and foxy stepmother who becomes jealous when Jo Bau starts to visit his children at Hor-ma's place a tad too frequently. Hung becomes obsessed that she would soon lose her husband and she schemes to drive the Kam family apart and to make them suffer financially.

As if the chaotic situation is not enough in the Kam's family, in comes Hor-ma's sister, Chung Siu Sa (or Sa Yi as the children address her) who is loud-mouthed, materialistic, fussy and an incorrigible liar. Her daughter, Ka Mei (or Camie) is just as bad and notorious.

The big lesson here is that to live with a clean conscience and to be at peace with self and with others, one should always be honest and tell the truth. Lies would only get one into trouble.

I notice many flaws in this series. I suspect the script was not fully developed before filming began and this leads to jumpy and abrupt scenes. The flow of story does not flow smoothly and I have to rewind some of the time to make sure I did not miss anything.

The constant change of characters from bad to good, then good to bad again, and the all too generous forgiving family members without explanations makes the drama appear unbelievable and real play-acting. It makes the drama unreal.

The love relationships between Ho and Tsau, Tsau and Dr. Ling, Ka and Ka Mei, Ka and Yuet, Yuen and Ka Mei are not fully developed nor was the evolution of their relationships smoothly delivered. They seem to jump so much that it is hard to fathom how one realises that he or she is in, or out of, love with the other.

The Heart of Greed I is definitely better in terms of plot, story line and there are opportunities for both young and old to show off their acting abilities. With the Heart of Greed II: Moonlight Resonance, the older actors hold centre stage.

The older actors are given much space and airtime to show off their acting prowess and this proves well for veterans such as Michelle Yim, Louise Lee Sze Ki, Ha Yu and Lee Heung Kam.

Michelle Yim's short hair suits her but it looks false and stiff. She is decked out in all nines and she looks immaculately good and is beautifully made-up. As Hung, her wrath knows no bounds and hate builds up to a point where she loses good-conscience reasoning. Her act as an evil, scheming and unforgiving third party is par excellence it ought to earn her the Best Actress Award for this year.

Unfortunately there is only one Best Actress Award each year and both Louise Lee Sze Ki and Susanna Kwan deserve to be commended for their excellent acting too. The veteran actors do shine in this series and I am glad they are given the opportunity. Susanna still has a figure to flaunt!

Ha Yu is great as a husband filled with guilt and remorse for deserting his first wife and their children and then as a hen-pecked husband to his second wife. He can be quite funny at times and his expressions of joy and sorrow can easily be followed.

The younger stars take a back seat in this series. Even Moses Chan and Fala Chen do not have much to show in terms of acting talents. Fala, as the deaf daughter, could only express through sign language.

Moses Chan, sadly, does not shine. He had a better role in Heart of Greed I. His onscreen relationship with Tavia Yeung (who incidentally looks good and acts well) seems natural enough but nothing more could be said.

Lam Fung, Linda Chung and Kate Tsui have a wee bit more opportunity to display their talents and they did not fail to deliver their roles well. Linda Chung does quite a bit of crying in this series.

Poor Lam Fung. As Ho, he is such a loser but his pan-faced expression and his dressing of untucked long sleeve shirt, long trousers and driving a van, suit his character of a lowly-educated mooncake baker to a T.

Despite her age, Lee Heung Kam, prettily made-up and well dressed, looks her part as a rich Grandma but she has always carried her roles well in the past. She deserves to be commended for her acting skills.

Bosco Wong's acting skills have yet to improve. His expressions remain much like his other roles in other drama series. In fact I find him almost dead looking.

Chris Lai as son Yuen fails miserably to make his mark as a good actor even though he has the opportunity to do so in this drama. He lacks the multitude of expressions to carry his role as a manipulated puppet of Hung, his stepmother.

Dexter Cheng and Vincent Wan are like wall flowers and act as decorative features to the family scenes. Their acts and lines are easily forgettable. So are the acts of Louis Yuen and Wayne Lai.

Chow Chung as Grandpa Chung started promisingly with many lines but as the drama unfolds his character is somewhat cast aside. Another forgettable character.

Lei Kwok Lun's character as Hung's ex-husband is a sham. His logic to ward off the retribution of deserting Hung by helping her to gain control of the Kam's business and fortunes is unfounded.

Love scenes between the characters of Lam Fung and Linda Chung, Linda Chung and Bosco Wong, Moses Chan and Kate Tsui, Moses Chan and Tavia Yeung, Chris Lai and Kate Tsui are weak and hopelessly unloving. If you are expecing gushy whispers of sweet-nothings you will be sorely disappointed. In fact, it gets boring after a while, for example, space fillers such as when Tsau reminisces her good times with Dr. Ling, Tsau's on-off relationship with Dr. Ling and Tsau's hot-cold relationship with Ho.

Besides boring love scenes, some other family scenes can also cause you to yawn. There are lots of repeats such as the whistling of "The Moon Represents My Heart". I cringe each time the actors whistle because they look so unreal.

The frequent Sa Yi bitching scenes become a chore to watch after a while too. Much of these space filler scenes could be cut.

Though there are no heart-stomping love scenes between the younger stars, there is one scene when the children toast Jo Bau and Hor-ma at Jo Bau and Yan Hung's wedding anniversary celebration. Personally I find this scene touching and warm.

Equally sweet and innocent is the little kissing scene between Ho and Tsau.

The Cantonese songs sung by Susanna Kwan, Lam Fung and Linda Chung are good. So is the duet by Ha Yu and Louise Lee. The English ballads, including "My love will get you home" by Christine Glass, are melodious and you'd want to sing along. I wish the credits roll include the names of the English songs and their artistes. The Mandarin "The Moon Represents My Heart" is an old favourite and will definitely resonate in the hearts of old and young.

To watch or not to watch? If you are critical of plot and storyline (hence my 3.5*)you can give this a miss but if you are into family drama it is still watchable. The story is draggy at the beginning but it picks up momentum and dramatization when more chaos reign in the Kam family. However you do have to make concessions for the unstable characterization of personae and jumpy scenes.

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