The Charm Beneath

Reviewed by: Quinn

March 12, 2006

Rating: four


Do not be intimated by the first impression of the series. There is a bit of confusion in the beginning, sorting everyone and everything out, trying to link and understand the "big picture" and pretty much, knowing who everyone is. Continue to watch the series, because in my opinion it was good. Okay, maybe not all, but some. And it does get pretty interesting near the ending. I know ... you have to wait until near the ending to be looped into the world. But let's just say you will watch things that you did not expect to happen. It was twisted but yet fun. I found a huge variation of moods to label this series but I finally came up with a few: funny, light-hearted, romantic, cute, sad, and ... scary. That scary part really hit me in the head - I did not even expect a little of it. I was discouraged since Moses Chan was the lead. I don't like the man, and I see him as a not-that-good-of-an-actor. He surprised me.



There are many many subplots in the story, which guide you toward the near-good ending. But I'm sure the main story was people being highly greedy and you end up with a "dog-eat-dog" thing.

Actors lived up?

(Left - Right) Gigi Lai, Yoyo Mung, Sharon Tang, Anne Heung, Mandy Cho

Moses Chan
Once again I'll repeat this because it's very true: This guy definitely surprised me. He might as well list this series as one of his best of all time. I can't say it's his BEST because god knows how many series he's been in. So let's just settle on the thoughts. I was shocked Moses Chan can be funny. Most series I've watched him lay down the role of the "organized serious superior man" or have the potential to do so. In this, it was a major change in character and I'm satistfied with the ways in which he tried to go for something different (instead of others with, well, their same everlasting role). So he went for the gold in this one. That's where his skills should be, in the roles of a not-so-serious and funny young guy. I won't say much about him, with fear of going into details and ruining the fun for those who are still or going to watch this series. Is it just me? Or do Moses and Yoyo go together quite nicely? I stand on the side of them being together. But I still think through the deaths, Moses has no sympathy. He is not a good lover (no romantic smile/face). Yoyo is the only one that will work with him.

Yoyo Mung
Yoyo ... I've seen her look better in another series. I can't really put my finger on her, but I think I'll say she did alright. I can't complain. Her character didn't have much depth. I think the scenes where she's teasing Moses are very cute. I pitied her. Sometimes I felt like she didn't really let loose and open up. As in, let go of herself and become the character.

Gigi Lai
This series makes me even more proud to say "I'm a Gigi fan". This is one of her better series. I still say her best series was "Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre". So Gigi, in this series, was halfway soaring to brilliance. I'm glad this series let Gigi do what she did best, and that is crying. She is a very good crier, and 90% of the time you want to cry with her and for her. Her mad face: I'm kinda iffy about it; I'm kind of on the fence. I did, somewhere while watching this, really hate her guts (because she was being mean and I pitied the guy). The way her body is structured and the way she stands is all royalty and built up on confidence. She looked good as a beauty in a rich family. Now all the downsides. Sadly, Gigi is not perfect (but no one is). How can she let herself go and cry so easily but not let herself out of her body to release frustration? I don't get that. It is something she needs to work on.

Anne Heung
I don't like Anne very much, but I don't hate her or anything. I just really started finding her polite/innocent face annoying after awhile. If people don't like that about her, don't watch it, because she's like that for 80% of the series. But it's cool to see her change. And I mean BIG change in how she acts. I won't give much away. It's better to know not to expect anything. Advice: Accept her character as it is and just watch it without thinking too much. But it's okay to sometimes try to think about what's going to happen next. I found her very boring and out of touch with everyone else, but maybe it was one of her character's weaknesses. Like Moses, she pleased me with her rebound at the end. Anne can act in different ways. Like being happy, polite, motherly, understanding, sad, mad... just to name a few. I'm not saying she shines in each and every emotion, but she can play it off with okay effectiveness. Anne cannot cry, nor can she be 100% dedicated to showing emotion onscreen. Even after all this, I still say they chose the right girl for the job.

Mandy Cho
I think this is the lady that won Miss Hong Kong? She's okay. I think Mandy does fairly well in series that wears these types of clothes. I saw a picture of her in "Guts of Man", let's just say I was ready to punch her because frankly, I found her annoying and at first glance didn't much like her. But in this series, I didn't find her half bad. She was cute. Most of all, she did seem nice and cared about the "world" and others.

Kiki Sheung
Does this lady ever look different from her actual look in the series. I looked her up and almost didn't recognize her. But I found her delightful. I was amazed I can find her both evil and motherly nice at times. She played it well so I think she's a fine actress. It was a little weird in the ending because she became good again, in a span of 2 seconds in the series, but I believed it, which I don't very often. So I think that's on her part, which leaves me saying that she's a fairly intelligent actress.

Chan Hung Lit
I did not know this actor very well, so I looked up what this guy looked like. It literally took me minutes to figure out who the heck he was. He was the dad, and the old guy a.k.a "Head of the Family". I don't have much to say about him, though it is strange because he is an important factor. He was mad to the extreme. His sickness did look real. His smile looks exactly like my grandpa's (haha bonus). I didn't have much as a back-up or an ideal actor for this role so I accepted the guy. Good job.

Sharon Chan
Sharon looks younger in the series, but that's just me. She, like Mandy, looks very cute. I enjoyed Sharon's character, maybe a little too much than I'm supposed to, because I was sure I was supposed to hate her for awhile, but I didn't. She did not disappoint though. She has the most innocent precious little girl's face I have ever seen. Sometime into the series, she shows you her knack for being greedy. I had a laugh and I did not doubt her. Again, in the end, what you believed her to be changes. I was pretty confused as to what to believe. I thought I couldn't trust her, but she did okay. So through all her changes, she's got to make you believe her persona. I did -well, not 100% but you get the idea.

Tseung Chi Kwong
I was disappointed when I knew he was Gigi's husband. I always thought Gigi looked better with someone like Lawrence Ng... I found it kind of weird that every guy in the series had short, spiked hair while Tseung had a mushroom cut and wears glasses. He was the "jumpy, hardworker but underacheiver; mumbling, but caring husband" in the family type guy. For some reason I always feel like his eyes aren't focused and always darting here and there. Him being mad just turns out to be more cute then mad. When he tried killing himself, it was a shock but he did okay. I label this guy's work as average.

Ngo Ka Nin
When Ngo's character dies (oops SPOILER!), I was yelling at the screen. His death was the weirdest one in the series, so fast. At first I was questioning the events that happened and what they were supposed to lead to. It was a 3-second event and I was asking myself why the producer would include this worthless piece in? Then his death. It left me thinking the writer wanted some way for his parents to "get what they deserved" and must kill the guy, and just squished his death in. I felt bad for the guy. He was so pure, so good, so smart, so innocent. He was perfect. Might I add he was handsome. His part was so little, but it was the little part that fixed the glinches to make the series go on. When you think it's impossible to uncover a certain lie and no one's going to find out, he comes in. He served a purpose. Ngo was good.

Michael Tong
Why did I not expect Michael to be the guy to be the cop/detective type of guy? He's always the one that gets the job when you need a cop. He has the face of a cop though, all serious. I couldn't imagine him as a painter. But you have to give the guy something, it's already weird that his character's a cop/painter. His death was terrible.

Lee Kwok Lun
This guy plays Ngo's father, or in other words the brother to the "Head of the Family". He and his wife (Kiki) are the happy couple who's very greedy and evil. They want to take over the family business and do anything to destroy the person in command. Lee's the intelligent guy who schemes everything to get his dirty hands on the money and the business. He definitely created the "dog-eat-dog" atmosphere. I sometimes hated him, then other times it was almost pity or utter annoyance. Lee did well.


I think I have found a Hong Kong (HK) series that would make me want to watch another HK series. Because after all straight Korean series, I found HK series to be all fake with no feelings at all. This was good, in another way. I really think people should try it out.

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