Take Care Your Highness!


Reviewed by: sukting

September 20, 2008

Rating: three

How long
20 episodes

Foreword
This is the second time Tak Wah acts as the emperor and the first time he acts with Kar Ling as a couple in period dramas. Did they create sparks?

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Emperor Chin Long – Lau Tak Wah
Being wise, highly skilled, knowledgeable and competent, he is the chosen successor to the throne. He is also cheeky and loves to make fun of others. Feeling bored of palace life, he loves to sneak out of the palace.

He is in love with Fok Yu and is determined to marry her despite her Han status. He voices out his wish to his mother but is dismayed that his empress becomes Lan the wedding night. His beloved Fok Yu is married to Wang on the very same day.

Chin Long is heartbroken but he can’t do anything. He warns Wang not to touch Fok Yu and often meets Fok Yu secretly. As the saying goes, paper can’t conceal fire and hell breaks loose. Their affair ends in tragedy when Lan commits suicide.

Feeling sorry for his uncle who is imprisoned for so long, he orders his release. He feels that he isn’t a threat to him since he is so old. How wrong can he be when he creates so much chaos later! Shortly after he ascends the throne, he learns that he is a Chinese’s son from his nanny.

He sneaks out of palace with Yat Ching, wanting to seek the truth. He befriends Nam Sing who plans to overthrow the Qing dynasty. Still, he treats him as his good friend and promises to be a good emperor to repay his kindness.

The Muslim tribe offers Princess Heung Heung to him as his concubine. Heung Heung plans to assassinate him and his hand is injured in the process. He doesn’t blame her and keeps it from the rest.

He finds her innocent and approachable. She slowly makes him forget his painful separation from Fok Yu. Her death freezes his heart completely. The pathetic emperor is left alone in the end. After all these ordeals, he becomes mature overnight.

Tak Wah definitely acts better in here than in ‘Duke of Mount Deer’ as he has more coverage. He looks and behaves every inch like an emperor. His love scenes are well done with the different actresses too.

2. The fifth prince – Poon Hung Bun
Although the princes do not have the same mother, both are very close. He isn’t ambitious like his mother and supports him in whatever he does. He is always cheerful and caring. Upon knowing that his mother is involved in seizing the throne for him, he gets very upset and leaves the palace. He can’t forgive the empress dowager for killing his mother and doesn’t know how to face Chin Long.

3. Chiu Nam Sing – Lau Ching Wan
He is a boorish rebel. He doesn’t know about Chin Long’s identity when he befriends him. Upon knowing his status, he wants to kill him. This man doesn’t even trust his own wife and suspects that both have an affair since Chin Long is so popular with women.

4. Chow Yat Ching – Ha Yu
He sneaks into the palace, eager to get a post. He follows Chin Long through thick and thin. He also helps to protect him in the political struggle. Seeing how many people have died in the dispute, he becomes disillusioned to leave the palace.

5. Wong Chin Gan – Kwok Fung
A faithful official who sets to protect Chin Long’s safety wherever he goes. But Chin Long enjoys freedom and often escapes from his protection.

6. Chan Sau Goon – Lo Kok Wai
He is a court official and is the one rumoured to be Chin Long’s father. He nearly dies of shock when the emperor kneels in front of him to acknowledge him as father! Initially he wants to deceive him till the end to enjoy riches. But knowing that lying to the emperor will result in a death sentence, he finally reveals the truth to Chin Long. Chin Long quickly rushes back to the palace upon knowing the scheme behind this.

7. Fu Wang – Lee Kok Lam
He is Chin Long’s subordinate but Chin Long treats him as his close buddy. He has an even temperament although he is a general. As the saying goes, wives can’t be shared. He witnesses how Chin Long loves Fok Yu but he still goes through the wedding ceremony with her. He even plans for them to meet together. Fok Yu treats him badly but he suffers in silence. Slowly, he realizes that he falls for her. His love is finally paid off when she accepts him.

8. General Fu – Yeung Chak Lam
He trains his only son to be a general like him. That is why he is enraged when Wang disgraces the whole family by allowing his wife to meet the emperor. It takes him a long time to forgive him.

9. Yung Cheng – Lau Siu Ming
He becomes sickly and knows that his end is near. Thus he makes plans for Chin Long, hoping that he will be an emperor smoothly. He is killed by Sei Niong before he can warn him about Yuen Tai.

10. Yue Mun Kei – Tam Chuen Hing
He is Yuen Tai’s sidekick who is loyal to him. Hoping that he will be an emperor one day, he plants all the spies in the palace to pave the way for him.

11. Yuen Tai – Chun Pui
He is imprisoned during the power struggle with Yung Cheng as he wants to be the emperor. He finds Chin Long too soft-hearted. He decides to bribe the nanny to lie Chin Long about his parentage. When Chin Long is away, he tries to seize the power by threatening the court officials. He even gets Concubine Yee to assist him, lying that he will help the fifth prince to become the emperor. Luckily, the rebellion doesn’t work this time and Chin Long orders his execution.

12. Suen Fok Yu – Lau Kar Ling
She is a Chinese official’s daughter. She gives Chin Long the cold shoulder when she doesn’t know his identity. She has thought of him as a hooligan when meeting him on the street. Only when she is aware of his identity, she becomes nicer to him as she fears that he will punish her father.

Fok Yu is very delighted when Chin Long promises to make her become his empress. But the empress dowager forces her to marry Wang instead. She has an unhappy marriage but through Wang’s love and concern, she realizes that he is the right man for her and they are happily married.

I am always not convinced that Kar Ling acts well. I normally get the arrogant feeling from her. She often has the ‘you owe me everything in your previous and present life’ look. Thus I don’t find Fok Yu’s suffering pathetic. Still, she compliments well with Tak Wah in here.

13. Fu Lan – Tsang Wai Yu
She is Wang’s younger sister who is proud and willful. She has liked Chin Long since young and is overjoyed to be his empress. But her pride is hurt when he charges out of the wedding chamber. Chin Long ignores her completely and she finds a chance to slap her out of rage. Seeing that he has never looked at her at all, she gets very depressed. She jumps down the tower to her death. This tragedy wakes both up and they break up miserably.

Wai Yu does so well for this role. This is so unfair to her as she is still an unknown after that and is demoted to play motherly roles now.

14. Dan Kar Mui – Leung Suk Jing
She is highly skilled although she sells fishballs for a living. She also aims to overthrow the Qing dynasty. Unlike Nam Shing, she is very understanding and manages to talk him out of their initial plan. Both get married but she is upset that he doesn’t trust her and even doubt that their unborn child is not his. She kills herself to prove her innocence, bringing him regret for the rest of his life.

15. Princess Heung Heung – Siu Mei Kei
She is offered to Chin Long as a gift for peace. She is proud of her identity and refuses to change into the Manchurian clothes. However, she doesn’t want to sleep with the enemy so she arms herself with a dagger when they first meet. She tries to kill him and he seizes the dagger from her, hurting himself. To protect her, he lies to his mother that he hurts himself. She is touched and both fall in love. She manages to heal his broken heart. The empress dowager definitely doesn’t like to see both running in the garden, especially when she does it without her shoes on.

Knowing that Chin Long intends to make her his empress, she forces her to take the poison. This breaks Chin Long’s heart and he decides not to get involved with anyone anymore. Mei Kei brings out the beauty and innocence well.

16. Nanny – Lo Lan
She is Chin Long’s nanny to bring him up. She is forced to lie to him about his parentage as Mun Kei holds her son hostage. When Chin Long and the empress dowager want to affirm the truth with her again, she hangs herself. This affirms Chin Long’s belief that his mother wants to silence her to defy her openly.

17. The empress dowager – Ha Ping
She is the most powerful woman in the palace instead of the empress. She knows Chin Long loves Fok Yu but she doesn’t want a Chinese to be the empress so she breaks them up. Not only she allows her niece, Lan to marry Chin Long, she also makes sure that Fok Yu marries her nephew, Wang to kill all Chin Long’s desires. But she creates unhappy married couples instead.

She is enraged when Chin Long accuses her of changing a daughter into a son with Sai Goon. She is too proud to deny this accusation. Never does she expect him to run out of palace because of this.

She doesn’t feel secure when Heung Heung is brought in. Soon as she expects, Chin Long gets hurt. Worrying that he might get hurt again, she intends to separate them. She also doesn’t want a woman of another race to become the empress. This time to make sure that it works, she kills her. She doesn’t realize that her love for her son brings him more harm than good.

18. Kam Lien – Chan On Ying
She is Fok Yu’s maid who tries very hard to bring Chin Long and Fok Yu together. Feeling sorry for Wang, she does the same after their marriage.

19. Concubine Yee
She is so gullible to believe in whatever Yuen Tai tells her. Although she treats Chin long badly, he still treats him the way he treats his mother. She dreams to be the empress dowager one day. When the empress dowager learns of the coup, she sentences her to death.

20. Mrs Chan – Su Hing Suen
She flies off the handle upon knowing that Chin Long is Sau Goon’s son. She has thought that he is the son of his mistress but he has to assure her that he has no other woman beside her. Overcome by greed, she persuades Sau Goon to pretend to be his father. She enjoys the attention that she gets from Chin Long.

Favourite character
Chin Long, he has the wits and ability to deal with all affairs calmly and analytically. It is a pity that his love life isn’t as smooth as he goes through so many ups and downs.

Most hated character
It is not Yuen Tai but the empress dowager. She knows who Chin Long loves but she enjoys disposing them one after another. Does she have pleasure doing that? She could have banished Concubine Yee to the cold palace but she chooses to kill her too. That also strains Chin Long’s brotherly ties with the fifth prince.

A close second will be Fok Yu who is so materialistic to take everyone for granted. When she doesn’t get her way, she treats all like dirt and that includes Chin Long. She expects all to listen to her beck and all. I am baffled by her poor attitude. Oh - what does Chin Long see in her besides her pretty face?!

Song
I don’t know the title but it is from Cheung Mun Mun. it is a fast paced song and I like it! the slow subthem song is equally enchanting.

Interesting facts

Tak Wah always envied Chun Yip and Kiu Wai to get prince roles. But the other 4 tigers envied him later in getting emperor roles. He enjoyed acting as Emperor Hong Hei in ‘Duke of Mount Deer’. He was so overjoyed to get this role again. He already did a lot of homework in there and more in here because this time round, he is the main lead. He read more books to find out more about the mannerisms. He took pains to walk and talk like one. Don’t you find him elegant as the emperor?

Kar Ling often partnered him to act in modern dramas and this was the first time they acted for a longer period than in ‘Duke of Mount Deer’. They treasured this rare chance. Both were reputed to be the ‘Double Lau’ combination after this drama.

This drama bonded Hung Bun and Tak Wah closely. They were as close as brothers off screen. Hung Bun still worked in Tak Wah‘s company till now after he left TVB.

Mei Kei was a newcomer and this was the first time she took up a non-Chinese periodic maiden role. Many producers were captivated by her looks and kept casting her in these roles from then on. Her biggest breakthrough was in ’86 Heavenly Sword, Dragon Sabre’.

Another drama concerning Chin Long would be 'War and remembrance' by Tin Lok produced in the 1990s. Tin Lok also did his part well.

Conclusion

I feel that ATV is more capable of producing historic dramas than TVB. Although most are not entirely close to the truth, they are not that fictional too.

If you remember Jin Yong's novel 'The Book and the Sword' well, Chin Long fails to get Princess Heung Heung's love and he is middle-aged. Probably the producer feels that the Chin Long deserves some joyful moments to make him younger and enjoy the love essence for a while.

The drama is only an average production as we can see that TVB only recycles the costumes from ‘Duke Of Mount Deer’. Little care is given to the story planning so we keep on seeing loopholes here and there. The pace is also too slow to my liking. How I wish that it could be done better as the setting was really lousy.

Luckily, the cast is correctly chosen so we are entertained by their fabulous acting that make up the deficit. It still amuses me to see how raw Ching Wan was then. He looked so uncomfortable in the periodic outfit.

It is one of Tak Wah’s best performances from all his dramas. It is also rare to see ‘Double Lau’ acting in dramas now so you must watch it. Don’t ever miss it!

Sukting’s ratings :

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

On story : *** (Scale of 5)

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


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