War and Destiny


Reviewed by: kiss7

August 20, 2006

Rating: four-point-five

Year: 2006
Chinese title: 亂世佳人
English title: War and Destiny
Chinese translation: Loon Sai Gai Yun
Number of Episodes: 30

Cast:
Koo Ping On - Myolie Wu
Poon Sai Cheung - Sunny Chan
Chong Tin Hao Yi/Tin Hao Yi - Ron Ng
Chong Tin Ngai - Sek Sau
Cheng Yuet Fung - Leila Tong
Sum Yi Ping - Mandy Cho
Koo Man Chai - Lau Dan

Supporting Cast:
Lee Shing Hong - Ellesmere Choi
Lam Jun Sing - Eric Li
Koo Duk Yee - Anita Kwan
Koo Chiu Yee - Charmaine Li
Koo Oi Yee - Chan Hoi Yee
3rd wife - Halina Tam
1st wife - Lo ? ?
Lit Wun Shan - Kwok Fung

Theme song:Fortunately - Myolie Wu

Plot - WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS

"War and Destiny" is a pre-modern series revolving around World War II, when Japanese forces invaded and took over parts of China such as Nanjing, where the story and lives of certain individuals is about to unravel...

Storyline

Koo Ping On (Myolie Wu), her best friend, the brother-like Tin Hao Yi (Ron Ng) who grew up with her, and her mother, lived peacefully together until one day, Japanese forces invaded and disrupted the lives of many in their residing hometown. Afraid to fall as the next victims, Hao Yee took Ping On and her ill mother to the great city of Nanjing, in hopes to seek her father, Koo Man Chai (Lau Dan) who owns the biggest rice company and business in town for help.

Unfortunately, her ill-fated mother met her death soon. However, before ending her last breath, she handed Ping On a jade ring to prove her relations with the old man, hoping to provide her daughter a settlement with the family in where she belonged. Thus, Ping On is recognized as the 2nd eldest daughter of the Koos. As for Hao Yi, due to close bonds with Ping On, is placed as one of the rice company's many workers.

The Koos are not only the owner of the biggest and most prosperous rice company in the city, but also the family of the greatest wealth around. However, problems arise often in the family.

Although the compassionate, selfless, humble and tender Ping On desperately tries the best she can to please her family, especially the first wife who loathed her (Ping On's mother was her maid but had an affair with her husband) things get worse as time goes by. She thought nobody in the family would ever grow to accept her until her father marries a 4th wife by the name of Cheng Yuet Fung (Leila Tong) and she finds a companion for once in the household.

Koo's rice company business declines, and finally under the treacheries of Poon Sai Cheung (Sunny Chan), a rich, devious businessman and restaurant owner looking to expand his wealth, the company goes under his liability. Furthermore, he is well known for being a traitor and "a Japanese work dog".

Poon Sai Cheung doesn't budge into the pain suffered by his people, as expanding his wealth and doing business are the only things on his mind. Moreover, this links him to a successful Japanese businessman of power named Chong Tin Ngai (Sek Sau), whom he realizes is more than just a powerful businessman. As the story progresses later on, he reveals himself as a general of the Japanese military.

Prior to this, Sai Cheung organizes an ingenious and talented singer of great beauty from Shanghai, Sum Yi Ping (Mandy Cho), to work in his restaurant and win hearts of his customers and her audience, but most importantly, Chong Tin Ngai. Later as the series progresses, she goes on to secretly cooperate and work with him. Her task is to seduce and get as close as possible with Chong Tin Ngai to spy on him and his ambitions.

Working in the same rice company as Hao Yi is a young Chinese student named Lam Jun Sing. Leading others, he is often found protesting against the Japanese in the streets of Nanjing, and occasionally drags Hao Yi into the act. Soon, he also becomes good friends with Hao Yi and Ping On.

Yuet Fung is an unhappy and pitiful character. Due to her greedy brother who owed numerous debts from bad gambling habits, she was married off for cash to the Koo family. This leads to her unhappiness, as she had to marry someone old enough to be her father, whom she obviously had no feelings towards, and had to bear him a child.

As predicted, a newlywed wife is bound to receive poor treatment from the other wives. Occasionally, she would be striked and scorned at, especially by the first wife, leading to her depression. At first she was in good terms with Ping On, but due to some misunderstandings and refusal to listen to Ping On's explanation, she disliked her ever since. Therefore, she realized nobody except a stray cat she found, would earn her trust and hospitality.

Tin Hao Yi develops pity towards her and because cats were forbidden in the Koo household, he would often take care of it and rendez-vous with Yuet Fung at a certain place so she could see her friend. Because of this, a special bond of friendship is developed and as time goes by, a different set of relations and feelings emerged.
However, both dare not think of it, as they know too well their own identities.

As time goes by, the strongly protected city of Nanjing loses its firm support from the Chinese government, and is seized with control under the sabotage of the Japanese. The Koo's were left with no choice but escape Nanjing and find a safe settlement somewhere within the mainland.

And amidst this dark era, certain individuals will struggle to shed for the sake of love, dignity and freedom for millions of their own blood. As for some, their lives will dramatically change forever as they approach different chronicles of the unpredicted and suspense.

Hence embracing a series of turbulent twists, deceits and bloodshed to unravel a classic sequel of pain, hatred, love, truth and hope.

Character Synopsis:

Koo Ping On - Myolie Wu
A compassionate, selfless and naive character of good nature, Ping On tries her best often to make the people around her happy and comfortable, even if that meant sacrificing her self and her happiness. All I can say is, Ping On is too good to be true. And I'm sure the audience is glad to find a slight bit of sanity in her later on when she finally starts to think of herself instead of everybody all the time. Her good nature brought her both harmony and problems. After a reunion with her family, she is settled and recognized as the 2nd eldest Koo daughter.

I felt bad for her when she realized Hao Yi promised to marry her because it was all a vow he made to her mother he would take good care of her. I do appreciate her bravery at times and last but not least- I loved her romance with Poon Sai Cheung!

Chong Tin Hao Yi/Tin Hao Yi - Ron Ng
Once again, Ron Ng takes on the role of a hotheaded, impulsive, and stubborn character. Hao Yi is the brother-like best friend of Ping On as they grew up together under the care of her mother, as his died years ago. His romance with Cheng Yuet Fung was a bitter and pitiful twist, but at the end, it blossomed and worked out for them.

He promised to marry Ping On because of a vow he made to her mother in the past that he would take care of her no matter what, not because he loved her. His love for Ping On was a sibling-like one, as he only saw her as a sister and best friend whom he trusted with all his heart. However Ping On developed further feelings for him besides those of siblings.

We also find out about his true identity as the long-lost son of Chong Tin Ngai. Most people, including me, felt his pain when he was struck with the shocking truth he learned that he's half Japanese, flowing the same blood as those cruel cold-blooded people he loathed and saw that killed millions of his own people.

Poon Sai Cheung - Sunny Chan

What can I say? I totally love this guy! An ingenious, devious, calm yet cool man, Poon Sai Cheung was an enjoyable character in this series. Watching him from practically not caring about his own people to becoming a secret scout of the Chinese government and doing a lot of unknown deeds to serve his country, I really admire how he could just take in insults and blames from the whole world yet keep his cool on the outside but is the real culprit behind the Japanese plans.

Apparently, he is also a very dedicated and sweet man. I really enjoy this character and his sweet romance with Ping On.

Cheng Yuet Fung - Leila Tong
Yuet Fung is a sad and pitiful character. The pain of being married to some old guy who is old enough to be your father whom you have no feelings towards is already a lot. Not to mention she has to take all the mistreatment from the other wives especially the first wife. This character's level of maturity, righteousness, dignity, and being not afraid to speak and stand for what she believes in and is right is her most admirable instinct.

Later on she gives birth to a son, Koo Tin Ming, thus earning her husband's great hospitality. Her faith is also greatly appreciated. She knew she developed feelings towards Hao Yi, but she didn't even dare to think about it as she knows too well her own identity and she has a husband already even though she didn't love him. Therefore she kept persuading Ping On to confess her love towards him, knowing she loves him and that's the only way to end all that.

But the romance she shared with Hao Yi was definitely bittersweet and touching. During the turbulent times, the family all learned to love, care and respect each other and she finally found a place in her home and learned to be happy.

Koo Man Chai- Lau Dan
Koo Man Chai is a stubborn man of great honesty and faith, and also the owner of Wing Fung Ho, the biggest rice company in Nanjing. Like most Chinese families, he always longed for a son, and wanted one badly to inherit his business, but all he had was daughters. He actually has a son with his 3rd wife, Koo Tin Yao, but due to what they believe are mental disorders, he is unable to speak, listen and follow what the others say. However, it is told later on he suffers psychologically, which led him to become mentally challenged.

He's also on bad terms with his daughter, Chiu Yee, as she is rebellious and stubborn, and she often causes arguments around in the household. He strongly forbids her to become a movie star, leaving their relationship even more negative. However, later on before he died, both shared their emotions and feelings to clear any misunderstandings and finally he passes away on a good note with his daughter.

Sum Yi Ping- Mandy Cho
She is a beautiful, talented and ingenious singer yet a pitiful beauty who works for Poon Sai Cheung in his restaurant. Both secretly work together as she is a Chinese scout and spy who seduces and tries to get as close as possible to Chong Tin Ngai to learn of his ambitions. Chong Tin Ngai falls for her, and she takes advantage of it to find out news about the Japanese so she could help her own people.

However, she loved Poon Sai Cheung but never told him about her feelings nor did he know - even to her last moment. When Ping On went with Poon Sai Cheung, all she could do was helplessly watch the person she loved all along as a property of another woman. Overall, she was a pitiful yet admirable character.

Chong Tin Ngai- Sek Sau
He is the general of the Japanese military and is responsible for the reason why Ping On didn't marry Hao Yi, and went with Poon Sai Cheung. He's also the long-lost biological father of Tin Hao Yi.

He didn't want his son to end up like him years ago, starting a relationship with a Chinese woman that should've never started in the first place, and end up both sides being hurt. So he made Poon Sai Cheung put up an act with Ping On to break his son's heart and also forced him to be with her. It was part of the agreement they made in order to save Ping On and her sister Chiu Yee. Eventually that's how Ping On and Sai Cheung got together.

He loved Sum Yi Ping dearly, wanted to marry her and bring her to Japan to live with him. But he found out she was a secret scout and a spy, and during the gun conflict that night, by accident, he shot her through the back and killed her. I think he still loved her because before he placed the white blanket over her face that covered the body, he slid the wedding ring he proposed to her on her finger.

Koo Duk Yee - Anita Kwan
Duk Yee, the eldest Koo daughter, is a well-educated, proficient and naive yet arrogant young woman who often tries proving to her father her capability and potential to do business. However everytime, she ends up turned down being given the cold shoulder by her father who showed zero interest and consideration at her intentions.

Koo Chiu Yee - Charmaine Li
Chiu Yee, the 3rd Koo daughter, is a rebellious and stubborn young woman who is eager for attention and fame. Often, she tries finding ways to pursue her dreams in becoming a movie star, thus infuriating her father who strongly forbids her to do so. She's also in bad terms with the whole family whom she considers a nuisance, and often indulges into arguments.

Koo Oi Yee- Chan Hoi Yee
Oi Yee is the youngest Koo daughter. Unlike much the rest of her family, she is a gentle, soft-spoken and shy young girl of nature who is forbidden to go anywhere outside of the house due to her asthma, fragile and sickly health conditions. Later on her asthma goes away as she started getting out more and naturally fresh air and nature heals and strengthens her body condition.

Also, she had tiny signs of blossoming romance with Jun Sing, as it was obvious she liked him. Too bad it never happened as he died later on. Personally, I was really interested in seeing it happen. They would've made a cute and sweet couple.

Lam Jun Sing - Eric Li
Jun Sing is a determined and stubborn young Chinese student who happens to be a strong protestant against the Japanese. His biggest ambitions are putting an end and getting rid of the Japanese military in China. Because of this, he hates Poon Sai Cheung and every Japanese, thus couldn't bring himself to accept Hao Yi, his good friend, when they find out he's half Japanese. Eventually, seeing that Hao Yi is still very loyal to the Chinese, he is back on good terms with him again.

Due to his hot-headed personality, he is often impulsive with his decisions and actions. He also became a teacher in the school Hao Yi founded for the children of Nanjing, and is very kind and caring to Oi Yee, making her have a crush on him. owever, later on Poon Sai Cheung reveals his true identity to him and becomes his commanding scout. Unfortunately, once during a mission, he was shot and died later on.

Cast Analysis:

Myolie Wu as Koo Ping On:
One word. Brilliant. Myolie was perfect portraying the compassionate Koo Ping On as she absolutely brought this character to life. She had the expressions, emotions and charisma and was definitely convincing.
Not to mention, she's seriously an awesome crier! Her emotions and tears are so real that on a few occasions, I put myself into her shoes and cried along. Keep up the good work Myolie!

Overall, I loved her portrayal as Koo Ping On - even more than her character. Her performance? Outstanding. *My rating: 5/5

Ron Ng as Chong Tin Hao Yi/Tin Hao Yi
Personally, I think Ron didn't do such a bad job portraying as Hao Yi although he could work to put more into his emotions. Ron certainly showed progresses of improvement in his acting here and really had the look in this show especially when he changed into a new set of western styled clothes. Overall, I liked the character Hao Yi and Ron didn't do a bad job portraying it. I think he deserved this rating. *My rating: 3.5/5

Sunny Chan as Poon Sai Cheung
I think Sunny did a good job portraying Poon Sai Cheung. He was natural yet detailed, and really portrayed the calm, cool and crafty personality traits that this character possessed. And Poon Sai Cheung, with no doubt, is the most genuine character here. Overall, I really enjoyed this character and Sunny Chan did a great job. *My rating: 4.5/5

Leila Tong as Cheng Yuet Fung
I think Leila did a really good job portraying the pitiful Yuet Fung. Her performance is decent and very natural. I also liked this character's maturity, righteousness and not afraid to speak, stand for what she believes in and is right. I think Leila proved herself to another level by showing her ability to portray such maturity and pitiable essence in a natural yet convincing way. Personally, I prefer and enjoy her in these roles much more. Overall, Leila did a really good job as Cheng Yuet Fung. *My rating: 4/5

Mandy Cho as Sum Yi Ping
Mandy is still a newcomer so I haven't been expecting much from her. She had the look of elegance Sum Yi Ping possessed, but her acting was fake and I could tell she is a bit uncomfortable onscreen. I know she is trying but she should relax instead of always being so stiff or awkward. And to be brutally honest, she practically killed this interesting character that had a lot to offer, although she made up some of it with her elegant looks that Yi Ping possessed.

I was just thinking if the role were to be handed to another actress that contained both much more experience and exquisiteness - my candidate would definitely be Nnadia Chan. I'm sure she would be downright clicking as Sum Yi Ping, bringing out the characteristics and capturing the essence and beauty of this character.

Since she just entered the industry I don't want to go into any more details about her acting. She has yet lots to learn and improve, so let's give her time and hopefully soon, she will bring out the true talent in her for a much better performance. Overall, although Mandy's acting is nowhere near good, I still really liked this character Sum Yi Ping. *My rating: 2.5/5

Sek Sau as Chong Tin Ngai
I don't want to say much about him but all I'm going to comment is- Sek Sau's portrayal as Chong Tin Ngai was great and he fit well into his characteristics traits. Overall, he is a good veteran actor and once again - great performance by him. I still think he could use a bit more expressions with his eyes though. But personally, he can be quite boring at times. *My rating: 4/5

Eric Li as Lam Jun Sing
I assume he's a newcomer and this happens to also be the very first series I've seen him in. Not a bad performance at all. Hope to see him more often later on in the other series as I feel he could take on more and improve his acting as well. I liked this character Jun Sing although he appears to be a bit overly hotheaded at times and he was good enough as him. *My rating: 3.5/5

Lau Dan as Koo Man Chai
Lau Dan's performances never seize to earn my applause. What can I say? Another brilliant performance by this great veteran actor. Lau Dan brought his character to life and you could feel his moments of joy, anger and sorrow. Along with John Chiang and Paul Chun, he is one of my favorite veteran actors. He was simply brilliant as the sickly, crippled and moody Koo Man Chai. *My rating: 5/5

Ellesmere Choi as Lee Shing Hong
I just don't understand why he is always getting the supporting and smaller roles. This guy can seriously act! Not that bad looking either if you ask me, yet he's never getting enough promotion and recognition. His situation is similar to Derek Kwok, except Derek is starting to get much more attention and promotion that he deserved all these years.

Anyways, Ellesmere's acting is very natural, fluent and great as usual. He could portray the many sides of Lee Shing Hong so well. Overall, I didn't like this character much, but he's interesting. And I'd have to admit, the psycho Sing Hong was pretty freaky. Hope he gets further attention and promotion soon as he certainly deserves it. *My rating: 4.5/5

Halina Tam as third wife
Good actress, acting and performance. She is also very pretty. Not getting promoted nor recognized enough. Overall, I think her character here is alright. At first she is annoying, but later on she becomes quite pitiable and once again, a very good performance by Halina. *My rating: 4/5

Anita Kwan as Koo Duk Yee
*My rating: 3.5/5

Charmaine Li as Koo Chiu Yee
I've always wanted to compliment that she's really doing a good job by a newcomer. My rating: 3.5/5

Chan Hoi Yee as Koo Oi Yee
Chan Hoi Yee definitely had the cute and adorable looks which gave her an image advantage as Oi Yee. Not to mention her voice as well. She was a good candidate for Oi Yee. Hope she gets more promotion as well. *My rating: 3.5/5

Lo ? ? as 1st wife
Hated this character before but grew to like her soon when she changed. Awesome performance as the obnoxious stuck-up first wife. Too bad I don't know her name, but her wonderful portrayal and performance is a huge addition to making this series interesting. I always enjoyed this veteran actress and her performances. Keep up the good work whatever your name is! *My rating: 5/5

Kwok Fung as Lit Wun Shan
Seriously... I have no idea why I even had to mention him. He was a minor supporting cast and had less onscreen time. Anyway, I hate this character! But I have to mention what a great performance by this actor! His eyes are so strong, convincing and expressive that he brought Lit Wun Shan to life and made such an impact even though he took on a very minor role. Definitely it was an interesting and great performance by him. But due to his limited amount of screen time I think 4.5 is fair. *My rating: 4.5/5

Favorite scenes
- When Sai Cheung KISSED Ping On!! :) Such a sweet kiss and they make such a cute and endearing couple.

- When Sai Cheung showed Ping On the swing he made for her and the scenes when they had fun together with it.

- When the three Koo sisters, Ping On, Duk Yee and Chiu Yee were celebrating a successful rice-giveaway mission in the factory and those scenes, especially when Duk Yee and Chiu Yee got paint on their face by accident and tried to dirty Ping On's as well to join in the "Koo Family Messy Faced Cats". It was so cute and heartwarming.

- When Yuet Fung handed the 1st wife a towel and both smiled at each other. (This was when they were living in the small country hut and was just beginning to grow to accept, love and care for each other.)

- When Poon Sai Cheung made up freaky stories to frighten Ping On about the past of his house and its ex-owners.

- When Sum Yi Ping was first introduced into the series with her putting up a surprising and graceful performance. She was also very elegant.

- When Koo Man Chai was dying in the hospital, the emotional, touching and sad scenes of him and his family, especially the ones with Chiu Yee. It was so emotional, touching and sad that I cried along with them.

- When Poon Sai Cheung danced with Ping On that night when she returns from her rice-giveaway mission.

- When Poon Sai Cheung taught Ping On how to ride a horse and those funny yet cute scenes!

- When Yuet Fung snaps away from depression after Ping On convinces her earlier that day to stop the abortion, face the truth and make the best out of her life and everything that happened instead of mourning. That night, they spend the night together happily chatting while Ping On volunteered to help her make baby clothes.

- When Jun Sing comforts and teaches Oi Yee how to handle and treat little kids when she first entered the school as a new teacher. So sweet :)

- When Poon Sai Cheung returns to Ping On at the end of the series and they hugged.

Top 5 Most Favorite Characters:
1.Poon Sai Cheung
2.Koo Ping On
3.Chong Tin Hao Yi/Tin Hao Yi
4.Sum Yi Ping
5.Cheng Yuet Fung

Honorable mention: Jun Sing

What I noticed and kind of bugged me is the lack of "The Rape of Nanjing" scenes. Not that I'm sadistic and bloodthirsty, but apparently this is a series revolving around World War II when the Japanese invaded China yet there the scenes were so less it doesn't support the affair. Anyhow, this is a very interesting and enjoyable good series with a captivating and intense plot that I highly recommend.


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