The Gentle Crackdown

Reviewed by: Pink_Ink

September 29, 2005

Rating: four

Chinese Title: 秀才遇著兵
Cantonese Name: Sau Choi Yu Jeuk Bing
Number of Episodes: 20

Main Cast:
Sui Dong Lau - Moses Chan Ho
Sup Yee Mui - Niki Chow Lai Kei
Sup Yee Ma - Michelle Yim (Mai Suet)
Si Kei Wong - Wayne Lai Yiu Cheung
Luk Sau Gu - Halina Tam Siu Wan
Cameo - Sun Bo Luk Jin - Yuen Wah

Sui Dong Lau (Moses) is a judge who wants to rid the small town that he presides over of corruption. He uses unorthodox methods to achieve his aims, causing constant friction between himself and Sup Yee Mui (Niki). Sup Yee Mui's mother Sup Yee Ma (Michelle) is an ex-outlaw, who settled down when she got married, and never told her daughter of her past. Sup Yee Ma is constantly following her daughter around to protect her without her daughter knowing – eventually this leads to her getting hurt and Sup Yee Mui finds out the truth. All is forgiven, and during the series, many cases are tried and some comedic storylines are shown throughout the series. Towards the end of the series, Fei Ying is framed for stealing a royal object and Sup Yee Mui (Niki) and Sui Dong Lau (Moses) work to clear her name.

Sui Dong Lau -
He is the new judge in town who gradually tries to get rid of the corruption in the government officials (constables, etc). He's very intelligent and quite scheming. He usually tricks people into giving in, sometimes without them realising it. He faints at the most appropriate of times, but he does grow a lot more serious towards the end of the series.

Moses Chan as Sui Dong Lau -
I always thought of Moses as a person who could only play serious characters in modern series. His performance in this series surprised me very much - I didn't think he could play comedy so well! He was hilarious as Dong Lau, and I actually thought that when he did more serious scenes towards the end, he didn't do them nearly as well as he did the comedic scenes. I loved how he kept fainting - there'd be a close-up of his head, and then suddenly he just dropped out of the camera's sight.

Sup Yee Mui -
Full name is Luk Sup Yee – "Mui" kind of means little sister, which is why everyone calls her Sup Yee Mui. She has always looked up to her father Luk Jin (Yuen Wah) who was a famous constable - but he had passed away when Sup Yee Mui was young. She was raised by her mother Sup Yee Ma (Michelle Yim), and despite the fact that all her colleagues are corrupt, she strongly believes in justice and doing the right thing. She's stubborn and very honest - so much so that she often doesn't realise when she's being lied to or tricked. She likes to do what she wants and often doesn't listen to reason. She thought that her kung fu was almighty, but later learns that it wasn't as good as she thought.

Niki Chow as Sup Yee Mui -
She has improved since "Hard Fate", and I'm a little surprised she's been given a leading role so soon - but she handled it well. Her character was very cute and lost throughout, but at the end, Sup Yee Mui got irritatingly unreasonable, often putting others at risk just for a little revenge - she didn't look at the big picture. Of course this wasn't a fault of Niki's - She portrayed the character well.

Sup Yee Ma - (possible spoiler - but it's revealed in early episodes anyway)
Her name is Gum Ying, but she's known as Sup Yee Ma – "Sup Yee" being her daughter's name, and "Ma" meaning mother. She used to be an infamous outlaw (Robin Hood type), Fei Ying - but she met and fell in love with constable Luk Jin (Yuen Wah), settled down and raised Sup Yee Mui (Niki). She pretended to be a simple housewife who knew nothing except how to make soup (as she owned a soup shop). She had never told her daughter about her identity as Fei Ying, because she knew her daughter would be angry and upset to know that her mother was an outlaw. She often followed Sup Yee Mui around to protect her because she knew her daughter's overconfidence in her own kung fu could sometimes get her into trouble.

Michelle Yim as Sup Yee Ma -
Easily my favourite character and actress in the series. I love how she gave up her previous life as an outlaw to get married and raise a family. Michelle was adequately serious when she needed to be, and funny and lost when she needed to be as well. I always laughed when she rolled her eyes or made faces at her daughter's overconfidence or her daughter's ignorance. I remember seeing an interview where Michelle said that she enjoys doing wirework - it's great to see an actress who loves to do her own stunts. I'm happy she had quite a lot of screen time too – when she played the younger version of herself in flashbacks, she looked convincing…Michelle looks at least ten years younger than she is!

Si Kei Wong -
The judge's assistant, who disliked Sui Dong Lau (Moses) at first because he thinks that all judges are corrupt. He thinks that he does all the work for the judges but the judges reap all the rewards. His mother raised him on her own, and he is extremely obedient to her. He dislikes Luk Sau Gu (Halina) at first because he hates people who gamble too much, but he later helps her in getting her son back from her divorced husband, and they end up falling for each other.

Wayne Lai as Si Kei Wong -
No complaints at all. Wayne is such a versatile actor and this series didn't disprove that. His comedic scenes had such spark but when he had to talk about cases and be series, he was also fantastic.

Luk Sau Gu -
She gets divorced by her husband, who won't give her or let her see their son without charging her money. Her lucky streak leads her to develop a gambling problem, and when she asks for money to see her son, everybody thinks that she wants the money to gamble with. When it is revealed that it really is for her son, Si Kei Wong (Wayne) helps her out and ends up falling in love.

Halina Tam as Luk Sau Gu -
They made the character out to be a bit oldish, but I thought Halina still looked young. She can play comedy quite well - but some of her serious scenes were a little stiff. She can play hysterical quite well too!

Minor characters -
There are other constables that are throughout the show, the four main ones being Mo, Si, Sung, Fei. (In Cantonese, these four words put together roughly means "Create trouble out of nothing". Mo's father was a colleague of Sup Yee Mui's (Niki) father, and when Mo's father passed away on the job, Sup Yee Mui's father (Yuen Wah) vowed to care for ah Mo. Sup Yee Ma (Michelle) has always lived up to the promise, so Mo lives and grew up with Sup Yee Mui. Mo, Si, Sung and Fei originally follow Yiu Gong (the head constable), who is extremely corrupt. Towards the end they follow Tong Bo Tau, who is anti-corruption. Ah Sing works at Sup Yee Ma's (Michelle) soup shop. Siu Choon is Sui's (Moses) servant, who has quite abit of screen time. The villain Man Tai Bo and his daughter Man Lai Gwan (Cindy Au) appeared halfway through the series, and Man Lai Gwan was a pretty hate-able character – who you were meant to feel sorry for at the end, but the things that she did during the series really made it hard.

Chemistry -
I thought that basically all the actors/actresses seemed quite comfortable with each other. Moses and Niki were great as a crime fighting pair, and they were cute at the end too. Michelle and Moses were so funny when they knew about the Fei Ying secret, but they were still keeping it from Niki. Yuen Wah was only a cameo and only appeared in a few flashbacks, but I loved the flashbacks with Michelle – you could just feel the love! Mo Si Sung Fei worked together perfectly, always in the background. There basically wasn't anybody at all who didn't seem to fit in.

I didn't intend to watch this series, it didn't appeal to me too much, but when I heard the theme song I decided to watch a little of it - and I was hooked after the first episode. It's a very light hearted comedy, which turns into a drama towards the end of the series whilst still maintaining some comedic scenes. I didn't like the ending at all, my rating for this series was lowered because of it. The last episode was a little anti-climatic, and I thought the very very last part was unnecessary - but I suppose it is hard to wrap up a comedy because they can't exactly kill off any characters to make it dramatic. The theme song was sung by Moses and Niki, and the first time I heard it, I found it highly annoying. But as I heard it a few more times, it became really catchy and once you listen to the meaning of the lyrics, it's a pretty good song to sing along to. The veteran actors and actresses really stood out, and it was basically a very enjoyable series.

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