Heart of Greed

Reviewed by: Artanis

September 25, 2009

Rating: three-point-five

Synopsis Review

I'm not going to go through the motions of stating who acted in what role. Besides, "Heart of Greed" is much more popular than my previous review and SPCnet is better organised today than it was in the past. I've read other reviews which said that "Heart of Greed" was over-rated. I agree. In essence, it is no different from other typical TVB family/business dramas. Other comparable dramas include "The Greed of Man" (1992), "A Kindred Spirit" (1995), "Cold Blood Warm Heart" (1996), "Secret of the Heart" (1998) and more recently, "On the Track or Off" (2001), "When Rules Turn Loose" (2005), "The Brink of Law" (2007) & etc.

"Heart of Greed" is an odd blend of heart-warming family drama e.g. "A Kindred Spirit", with scheming family drama e.g. "The Brink of Law". It is definitely less dark and twisted than the 1990s and strives to strike a balance between light-heartedness and drama. To a certain extent, this attempt is sucessful. From the early interactions of the Tong Family, I'd have never expected its downwards spiral and eventual disintegration.

However, the scriptwriters did a fair amount of foreshadowing. They never lost an opportunity to remind us that things will go wrong, that the second wife (Susanna Kwan), uncle (Louis Yuen) and second son (Bosco Wong) would have a hand in it and inflict some sort of trouble with their "misguided" perception or behavior. As a result, I found that plot conservative and the presentation cliche. I was actually much more interested in the side dish regarding the love life of Seung Joi Sum (Linda Chung).

Performance Review

For me, the Top performances came from Ha Yu, Susanna Kwan, Louis Yuen, Moses Chan and Raymond Lam. First let's talk about Ha Yu. I was seriously annnoyed by his character, but you have to give the props to this guy acting as the clueless, happy-go-lucky, "face"-loving patriach of the family. It was a repeat of his performance in "When Rules Turn Loose" (2007), but he carried greater dramatic impact here, forming a huge contrast to the rest of the family. He seemed more foolish and convincingly flawed.

Susanna Kwan is bound to draw some flack, but I personally think she did well. Her character wasn't likable, and appeared to be more scheming than smart - which, I think was the whole point. She could alternate between sincere wife/ mother and scheming sychophant with ease, which was the hightlight of her performance, really.

Louis Yuen is a good actor, but his character is limited in range and development. He plays the ne'er-do-well brother to his preachy but capable sisters, yet I find it unconvincing the way his character was drawn. That anyone be so childish at the age of 40 is beyond my comprehension, sometimes his character acts as though he has the mental capacity of a 6 year-old (somewhat similar to his brother-in-law, who could pass for 12).

Moses Chan did well but I did not honestly think that it is a challenging role for him. He nailed the innocent/ honest look, the only real flaw was that his character did not match his looks.

Raymond Lam was good, especially in the emotional scenes. He convincingly portrayed the careless, sometimes hypocritical but introspective Albert. He was one of those who did not need to act immature, innocent or comical, and came off well against all the posturing of the Tong family members.

Louise Lee and Linda Chung were watchable. Louise Lee repeats her performance in "A Kindred Spirit", but I'm tired of seeing her in the same roles. Linda still needs to work on her crying scenes. I heard reports of her popularity as Seung Joi Sum, but this character doesn't allow her to break out of her "nice girl" mold. Seung Joi Sum was irritatingly naive, always kicking up a big fuss in front of Albert (who looked like the veteran casanova), which makes me wonder what he saw in her.

Most Underutilized Performer

Some say Tavia, some might say Yoyo or even Bosco, but I vote for Chris Lai. The poor guy is reduced to the male-equivalent of Fala Chen, looking either sad, lost or foolish. Having saw his performance in "Always Ready", I have to say he has potential to do MUCH better than that.

Opinions on Romance and the Ending

Realistic portrayal of First Love between Seung Joi Sum and Albert with unrealistic ending. Everybody wants the two-timing boyfriend to repent of his evil ways and pine after lost love, but we know that in reality that doesn't happen! Personally, I wanted Seung Joi Sum to chose Mr. Ok or Triple D (whichever it is), seeing that he's the better man, but I wanted her to chose him Over Albert and not because Albert no longer exist. Killing Albert off was a cowardly move by Mr. Scriptwriter.

The conclusion was lame. If the second mum was such a sentimental person as to be moved by her late husband's kindness, she would not have fought over the inheritance. It was a weak conclusion to a dramatic clash of wills, as if somebody decided to back out of a pistol-duel at the last possible moment.

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