No Regrets


Reviewed by: sukting

June 16, 2012

Rating: three

Foreword
Set in the late 1930s to late 1940s in Canton, No Regrets tells about a triad family, the Guangzhou police force and the Japanese. It shows the unrest period of war and the complicated relationship shared by Cheng Kau-mui and Lau Sing. No Regrets is one of two grand TVB productions used to celebrate 43rd anniversary. It also helps many of the cast to win drama awards.

Guangzhou is in a state of political turmoil in the 1930s. Gangsters are open with many opium dens. The government forms the Anti-Smoking Bureau to suppress opium, but the bureau is under the influence of Long-kwan, the gang’s leader. Meanwhile, the Japanese army invades China and Canton falls into the hands of the Japanese. How do the couple get through the darkest time in their lives?

Story/introduction to characters
1. Lau Sing – Lai Yiu Cheung

He is the leader of the Criminal Investigation Team. He has disliked Miss Kau for being high-handed but has to admit that she is fair in handling his lottery case (he has thought he won but Kat does not buy the ticket). He has feelings towards Miss Kau after knowing her better.

He has worked hard all his life to ensure an easy trail for his family, especially for his sickly younger sister Ching. Despite his hot temper, he values friendship and brotherhood more than anything else. Once, he almost sacrifices his life to help his timid teammate, Kat. He softens when it comes to Miss Kau. Knowing that she is forced to become an opium addict to gain the Japanese’ trust, he helps her to kick the habit.

Both often have meetings at the church where she pours her woes or they share their secrets there. He is a sharp shooter and often hits the targets. He even gets her to shoot him to save the rest and she trembles to get relieved later that he is saved. He has lots of ups and downs in life. Yiu Cheung is outstanding in the role although he can be over the top in some scenes.

I find some similarities in Gau and Sing in the beginning. At first, I feel that he is still the same. But through the development, Sing mellows down and becomes more mature. Yiu Cheung concentrates on the inner emotions and is excellent. He has done a wonderful job.

2. Cheng Kau Mui also known as Miss Kau – Tang Shui Mun

She is the daughter of Cheng Long-kwan, the most powerful drug tycoon in Canton. She is an unscrupulous person who returns from Shanghai to assist him as an adult. Miss Kau meticulously plans her every move. Despite helping her father manage the family's opium and other gambling businesses, she has a deep hatred toward drugs as she has seen how her friend suffers. Although they have no blood relations, she agrees to look after her daughter for her.

She dislikes working for the Japanese but has no choice in order to help the poor get visit passes to escape overseas. She adopts a girl and wants her to call Sing as grandfather when they meet again. Her best is to smuggle orphans to other countries so they attend her funeral when they grow up. Shui Mun has delivered more than what is expected of her. The many emotional scenes that show her hidden kind nature is expressed thoughtfully.

3. Lau Ching – Chan Fa La

She is Sing's younger sister who has a heart disease. She and Yeung mutually have feelings for each other. Although she is kind, she hinders almost everyone’s life as they need to take good care of her. Even though they give her the pass to seek treatment overseas, she still sneaks back repeatedly as she misses everyone and often gives them trouble. She dies after marrying Yeung. No doubt her acting has improved – her role is still one-dimensional.

4. Tong Kat Nicknamed Spareribs – Ngo Kar Nien

He is Sing's good-natured friend and subordinate. He has no ambition in life. He becomes a police officer only because he wants to support his grandmother. He is very touched when the neighbours fork out money for his grandmother’s funeral. He works hard and is Sing’s capable assistant. He is no longer the timid person. Many praise him for acting well here but I still like his role in Rosy Business better. Sometimes, his stammering in a loud voice irritates me at times.

5. Yeung Yeung – Wong Ho Yin

He is Sing's good friend and subordinate.He looks gentle but has a mind of his own. Yeung, who has been best friends with Ching since they are children, develops a crush on Ching. He is too shy to express his feelings to her although he sends her to and from work on the bicycle. He helps Ching the best he can in every way. Ho Yin is terrific – although he keeps a low profile from the rest, all can feel his emotions as he is very expressive.

6. Ma Lai Wah - Ng Ding Yan

She is Kwan's young concubine. She's narrow-minded, bears grudges, and materialistic. She is originally taken care of by Kau Mui but Kau Mui discovers that she seduces men and lies that she is raped. She even nearly causes Ching to be raped by the Japanese as she herself refuses to cut her hair short like her. Kau Mui has no choice but to send her to the nursing school to become a nurse.

She then makes use of this chance to seduce Kwan. After she marries Kwan, she betrays Kau Mui by telling her secrets. Kwan sets her free and tells her to remarry after he suffers from a stroke. She goes overseas and nothing is said about her ending. Ding Yan is only reprising her role in ‘The silver chamber of sorrows’ but her role there has more depth.

7. Chiu Tung Nei – Kong Mei Yee

She is Sing's wife. She finds that Sing cares too much for the others than her. She has an affair with a Leung Fei Fan when he seduces her. She stays with him for a while and later leaves to go back to live with her mum. She is too remorseful to face Sing.

8. Ng Lai Sim - Wai Ying Hung S

he is Yeung's mother who controls Yeung like a puppet as she is a widow. She rents the rooms to the others. She relies all her hopes on him and doesn’t want him to marry Ching who has a short life. She even wants to send Ching away. However, Yeung is very insistent and she has to give in to them. Unlike her other usual roles, this role doesn’t show much besides crying, whining and yelling. What a waste of Ying Hung’s talents!

9. Leung Fei Fan – Mak Cheung Ching

He is Sing's superior who accept bribes and often bullies them. Sing has to fight hard to keep his post. He has as an affair with Sing's wife, Tung Nei. After she leaves, he gets married to another woman named Rose. He works as a spy for the Japanese. He had two sons, the youngest is killed with his wife when the Japanese come. He loses the will to live and entrusts Sing to look after his son after his death. Brilliant performance by Cheung Ching! All will hate and pity this role at the same time.

10. Cheng Long Kwan – Yue Wah

He is Miss Kau's father. After many years of patience and hard work, he successfully establishes a opium den and drug trading business in Canton. He becomes one of the biggest drug dealers in the county. He is bitter when his eldest son dies and Miss Kau has wanted to close down his drug business.

After knowing that the disrespectful Siu Hong is actually his nephew, he sends him away. He can never forgive him for hitting his bed when he is ill. He is actually a timid person who escapes to let Miss Kau manage his business. He has a stroke and he feels useless now. Sing goes missing while trying to protect him. Sing actually loses his memory and meets Miss Kau again many years later. They tour many countries before he dies by her side.

11. Cheng Long Hei – Tse Suet Sum

She is Kwan's younger sister. Kau-mui's aunt. She often questions Miss Kau's ability to be a leader, and tries her best to help her nephew gain power within the society. She keeps framing her and can’t wait to see her downfall.

You will know why when knowing that her nephew, Siu Hong is actually her son. She spoils him rotten and blames Long Kwan when Siu Hong walks with a limp. Siu Hong later dies in an explosion and she becomes mad. She acts just as in Rosy business so there are no surprises.

12. Colonel Mukaiyama Tetsuya – King Kong

He is Takashi Akumarin's subordinate. He works closely with Miss Kau. Sorry but no romance involved. He threatens her business all along so she has to reopen her drug business although she is unwilling. He is a man who keeps his word but all must be glad when he dies in Kat’s hands.

13. Mukaiyama Takuya – Doi Yiu Ming

He is Tetsuya’s younger brother and falls in love with Ching when he meets her at the hospital. This turns into everyone’s nightmare when he keeps threatening everyone’s life. He also gets killed in the end.

14. Cheng Long Hung – Kwok Fung

He is Kwan’s younger brother who manages his business in Beijing. He arranges Kwan to be hospitalized to recuperate and takes care of him. He often sides with Kwan so Long Hei is displeased with him. I am puzzled that Fung is given a minor role – is he too busy?

15. Cheng Siu Hong – Wong Chi Hin

He is Kwan’s second son but is only given minor duties, unlike Miss Kau. He tries to keep a low profile to please his father but to no avail. Kwan only gives him a second chance under Long Hei’s persuasion. But he loses his head and offends him again. This time, his parentage is revealed and he blames his mother. His mother gives in to him all the time and causes his death indirectly.

16. Cheng Siu Kit – Cheung Chong Chi

He is Miss Kau’s elder brother who is regarded as Kwan’s successor, He is also a lustful man who sets eyes on a woman. He attempts to rape a woman on a street and is killed. Before this, he rapes married woman and causes her to kill herself. So her husband seeks revenge for her. Sing is mistakened as the killer but Miss Kau clears his name.

She also knows that Siu Kit is in the wrong so she helps the man to escape overseas. She gets another man supposedly to be hung to be killed by Kwan. Kwan lets the matter go, thinking that he has his revenge and Sing starts to view Miss Kau in a different light.

17. The roommates who also stay with Sing – Yu Chun Shun, Lee Shing Cheong, Yiu Ying Ying, Leung Cheng Ka, Lo Mun Kit
They are close to Sing and they protect the rest from harm when in trouble. They are not only friends, they are a family. But you will get tired of them talking too much. The only scene that moves me is the parts they sit down for feasts with Miss Kau after knowing how she helps them. The reunion meal after the war is also a memorable scene.

18. Chow Tiet – Ma Hoi Lun

She is Miss Kau’s capable assistant but she also doesn’t know her dark secret of the drugs. She only does her job and protects her against Long Hei. Seeing how Miss Kau suffers from seasickness really pains her but they have no choice to make the trips in order to rescue others.

Interesting facts from Wikipedia

After the critical and popular success of Rosy Business, TVB decided to produce a sequel. Most of the original main cast signed on to film the sequel, with the exception of Sheung Tin Ngor, Ng Cheuk Hei, and Chui Suk Mun, who were reported to be not taking part in the production due to schedule conflicts.

Yiu Cheung, who portrayed Chai Kau in Rosy Business, expressed that he would not film a sequel. Chai Kau's ending was the most significance part of his life. So were the rest so they changed the story.

The three-minute trailer aired during TVB's 42nd Gala Presentation was well-received. 58% chose No Regrets as their most anticipated drama of 2010. Many looked forward to watch it. The finale episode had almost 3 million Hong Kong TV viewers at 47 points, and resulted in an unprecedented zero share of ratings for rival ATV, The series was the highest-rated TVB drama of 2010.

Shui Mun related that it took a while for her to grasp Miss Kau's character. She is extremely complex and manipulative. She doesn't abide to one direction. Her relationship with Sing is interwined. There's love and hate, right and wrong; and most of the time, they oppose each other.

Here are the awards nominated and won :
MY AOD My Favourite TVB Drama awards ceremony 2010
Top 10 Favourite Character - Lau Sing (Lai Yiu Cheung)
Top 10 Favourite Character - Cheng Kau-mui (Tang Shui Mun)
My Favourite Supporting Actor – Ngo Kar Nien
My Favourite Supporting Actress - Fala Chen

TVB Anniversary Awards (2010)
Nominated: Best Drama
Won: Best Actor (Lai Yiu Cheung)
Won: Best Actress (Tang Shui Mun)
Nominated: Best Supporting Actor (Wong Ho Yin)
Nominated: Best Supporting Actor (Ngo Kar Nien)
Won: Best Supporting Actor (Evergreen Mak)
Won: Best Supporting Actress (Fala Chen)
Nominated: My Favourite Male Character (Lai Yiu Cheung)
Nominated: My Favourite Female Character (Tang Shui Mun)
Nominated: Most Improved Actor (King Kong)
Won: Most Improved Actor (Wong Ho Yin)

YAHOO! Asia Buzz Awards 2010
Most Popular Theme Song Award and Most Popular Drama Award
TV Programme Appreciation Index Survey 2010
Top 20 Most Appreciated Television Programs of the Year - #3 (77.47 points)
Note: The only TVB drama within the top 20.

Next Magazine Awards 2011
Top 10 Artistes – Lai Yiu Cheung (#2), Tang Shui Mun (#3) Fala Chen (#9)
Top 10 Dramas - #2

17th Shanghai Television FestivalNominations
Best Actor – Lai Yiu Cheung, Best Actress - Sheren Tang
Note: No Regrets hasn't been aired before the ceremony.

2nd Starhub-TVB Awards Ceremony 2011
Top 5 Favourite TVB Male Character – Lai Yiu Cheung (Lau Sing)
Top 5 Favourite TVB Female Character – Tang Shui Mun (Gau Mui)
Top 5 Favourite TVB Female Character - Fala Chen (Lau Ching)
Most Improve Actor award - King Kong
My Most Favourite TVB Drama - No Regrets

6th Seoul International TV Festival 2011Nominations
Most Popular Actor – Lai Yiu Cheung
Most Popular Actress – Tang Shui Mun
Best Drama Award (series category) - No Regrets

43rd Ming Pao Anniversary Awards 2011
Most Outstanding TV Programme: No Regrets
Most Outstanding TV Actor: Lai Yiu Cheung
Most Outstanding TV Actress: Tang Shui Mun
Most Outstanding TV Back-stage crew: Cheung Wah Biu, Chan Ching Yee (No Regrets)
Note: No Regrets swept all the awards available in the TV category. The only other time this happened was in 2009, when its predecessor, Rosy Business, won all the awards available in the TV category as well.

16th Asian Television Awards 2011
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Mak Cheung-ching
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Fala Chen

After winning Best Actor and Actress award for Rosy Business, Yiu Cheung and Shui Mun successfully defended their titles based on their brilliant performance in this drama respectively. Lai became the second actor to win the Best Actor award consecutively after Kar Leung in 1997 and 1998, while Tang became the first actress in TVB to win the Best Actress award consecutively. Both of them became the first ever couple in TVB's history to win the awards consecutively based on the same drama franchise.

After sweeping the main acting awards in the 2010 TVB Anniversary Awards ceremony, No Regrets was expected to take home the Best Drama award. However, the award went to Can't Buy Me Love unexpectedly, shocking everybody who was present. Complaints were lodged immediately after the ceremony ended, with many people saying that No Regrets should have won because of its high ratings as well as critical acclaim it had garnered during its broadcast.

Most favourite character
Miss Kau, she suffers all the wrongs and keeps the secrets alone but bears with it. She has the guts that most men lack. Luckily, she has a confidante, Sing so she will either go mad or kill herself due to the overwhelming pressure. Luckily, she still have time to spend their silver years together.

Most hated character
Long Hei, she is annoying and can do anything to help Siu Hong. But this also ruins herself and her son. A close second is Mrs Yeung. She doesn’t treat Yeung like an adult and keeps wanting his attention. A third is Lai Wah for being a selfish and ungrateful brat.
Song The theme song was by Ku Koi Kei. It is a nice song that fits the sad mood and background. All should not miss it. It should have won the best drama theme song but it didn’t too! The subtheme red butterfly used in Rosy business is used here but surprise, surprise – it is sung by Yiu Cheung himself. He sings quite well.

Conclusion
Unlike many viewers, I am not exactly impressed by the production. It only uses the usual plots to recycle again. The closeness between roommates – we have watched many sitcoms so it isn’t worth mentioning. I am quite thankful that they don’t keep singing ‘the moon represents my heart’ like Moonlight Resonance. That one is a big torture for me. The corruption between the policemen – I have also watched other dramas and ICAC dramas so there isn’t any surprise too. Or maybe I am too demanding?

I will strongly recommend other productions that I mention in my review above for watching. They have better plot arrangement and character development. Rosy business is famous and all could have watched it by now. Probably, that is why I need some time to accept Yue Wah and Shui Mun as father and daughter here as they act as a married couple there. If you have watched Rosy Business, you will want more but alas, most only act the same way they are given to. This is not being fair to them.

‘The silver chamber of sorrows’ may not be that famous but due to the strong acting delivered, you will find the story engaging. For here, the story is just touch and go. There are just too many characters. I was like – huh – that ‘s all? Maybe the producer rushes through the script and doesn’t know how to handle the ending. 32 episodes is simply too long – 30 is a prefect number. The cast has tried to give their best but somehow, I feel that they are let down by the character arrangement. They should have more flesh and blood but it is about the same as in other dramas.

I have expected a better ending. What is this – memory loss again? Please – don‘t recycle this again. How can they just add in the first scene as the last scene again of Miss Kau retrieving a briefcase at the spot where Sing is shot? But all must be delighted that Sing and Miss Kau land up together although not for long. Moreover, Sing has forgotten Miss Kau for a long time and how can he suddenly remember her? An injection or something that triggers his mind? It is too hard for me to stomach this.

The subplot of the love between Yeung and Ching is too draggy. We know that the two are destined not to be for long together so it is more like puppy love. It is long winded indeed when Ching tries not to implicate Yeung with her illness but keeps doing that unintentionally.

Ching is arranged to be very annoying – all worry that she might run out of medicine supply to send her away or to sneak her to the hospital to seek treatment repeatedly. Unlike other concerned faces shown in the drama, my neighbours commented that she should have stayed right at the hospital all along so that she do not burden the rest, especially during the war period.

In comparison, the love between Sing and Miss Kau is more compelling and forceful. They leave you breathless when they are against each other. Yet later, you can feel that they love each other but they are unable to voice their feelings openly. The part where Miss Kau shoots Sing is classic. They care for each other but can only relate with their expressions. Without them, there is no luring power.

Thumbs up for their acting. And yes, justice is given to them to win the awards twice. They have deserved to win the awards earlier. I am looking forward to them working together for the third time to win again!

Sukting’s ratings :

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

On story : *** (Scale of 5)

On song : **** (Scale of 5)


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