Master of Play

Reviewed by: miriamfanz

July 16, 2012

Rating: two-point-five

Plot Summary: Adam is obsessed with finding his kidnapped daughter. Maggie's hand was
chopped off by a psycho killer. Moses is controlled by four weird people who don't even
exist. Aimee runs around crying and yelling and being annoying. People die.

Review: I was looking forward to this series. So what if Producer Chik's previous dramas set
records for lowest ratings? This is different! Right and wrong! Yeah, it's a new theme, new
setting, but a very Jonathan Chik feel. Dim lighting? Check. Long-winded dialogue?
Present. Ambivalent meaning? Yes. Moses and Kenny? Definitely.

This series is supposed to talk about humanity and consequences of falling into bad
habits. If the thesis is that humans are psycho, then I'd say it was portrayed pretty well.
Moses imagines psycho people, Adam becomes psycho, Maggie is a psycho killer, Aimee
can see the tree change colours. I'm surprised I didn't go crazy myself after watching this.

Not everything you see is real. A lot of things are constructed in the minds of Moses and
Adam. I like the technique they used. It cuts from one thing to another, mixing two
unrelated scenes together to evoke your imagination. It also keeps you constantly
guessing. But at the same time, you might feel really lost about what's happening. The
audience is led to believe many things and then there's a big twist. For the majority of the
series, the set-up is that Aimee is Adam's long-lost daughter. When she admits to this,
you're like “Yes! I'm right!' and then she goes “Haha, just kidding! I'm not his
daughter.' Then as he's dying, Moses declares “You'll never know what happens to your
daughter.' Huh? Same situation when Maggie turned out to be the Wednesday killer. The
audience is left in a daze. I find this both brilliant and frustrating.

The story leaves a lot of room for guessing. Some things are supposed to be implied and
some things you have to think really hard to understand. The lingering questions: Does
Adam die in the end? Is Aimee his daughter or not? Did Kenny & Co. ever exist in real life?
Is Maggie the real Wednesday killer as she claims? Why did she hook up with Adam if she
still loves Moses? And what's up with Aimee's ability to see the tree change colours?

The setting, like I said, is really Jonathan Chik - as in dark. It's as if none of his productions
ever have a lighting crew. The characters speak in circles; they never just say things
directly. Very similar to his previous dramas where the long dialogue brings out some kind
of deep meaning if you can actually stay awake to hear the whole thing. No wonder the
housewives in Hong Kong didn't like it. The costumes and make-up are plain weird for the
people at the Jekyll bar, especially Kenny and Rachel. But I guess this is fitting because
they're weird people to begin with. The sand paintings at the end of each episode is very

For me, it's always plot over acting. Plus the veteran cast had no problems with acting
anyways. Special compliments go to Adam, since he had to portray so many different
personalities when his character immersed himself into the mentality of other people.
Adam expertly handled everything thrown at him. The only glaring exception was Aimee.
She sounded like she had a stuffed nose when she talked. Not helping things is her
pronunciation and sometimes she slurred the words together, so it makes it hard to hear
what she's saying.

Last thing I want to say is that this series received a lot of complaints for being bloody and
terrifying. I find them unwarranted. There weren't many bloody scenes after the opening
ten minutes. And this series was hardly terrifying. It was being branded as such, but it
turned out to be mostly talking. Probably should have been less than 30 episodes so things
can move along faster.

Recommendation: Watchable.

Written By: miriamfanz @

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