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[TVB drama] [Drama Critique] Greed of Man

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发表于 2009-3-21 15:11:34 |显示全部楼层
Year:
1992
Section:
TVB Series
Average Rating:
      (out of 3 reviews)

 

Review from:

http://www.spcnet.tv/TVB-Series/Greed-Of-Man-review-r1005.html

Feel free to discuss, I copied this from the above site, all copyrights and perspective belong to the author

 

 

Greed Of Man

Reviewed by: Charbydis
Rating:      

Greed Of Man ("Dai Si Doi" = The Great Era")

I went on a shopping spree in Hong Kong last year and bought a lot of old TVB series. One of the best and most longed for series I bought was "Greed of Man". I watched it when I just started senior primary, and even now, I rank it as one of the best works by TVB. I was even more sure of my ranking of it as I rewatched it.

 

The Story:

A story of love and hate between two families, a story of corruption and the righteous people who struggle to live in it, and a story of revenge and greed, in a great era of economy boost and the birth of the stock market.

 

The story starts off with Fong Chien Bok (Sean Lau) celebrating his victory of the Ding family in the stock market, and the Dings jump off a roof, and some other people die as well before flashbacks of the 70's begin.

 

Fong Jun Sang (Damian Lau) and Ding Hai (Adam Cheng) are friends, and they each have four children. The appearance of the beautiful Law Wai Ling (Yammie Nam) ignites the hatred between the rich Fongs and poor Dings, resulting in the death of Sang, and Hai being wanted for murder and leaves for Taiwan.

 

When Hai returns to Hong Kong, he reignites the feud between the families when he is arrested and trialed for Sang's murder. His triad sons (David Siu, Michael Tao, Ng Kai Ming, Derek Kwok) harass the Fong children (Sean Lau, Ng Wing Hung, Loletta Lee, Carol Yeung) and cause Bok to be the only survivor in the family. Bok trains in the stock market, waiting for a chance to avenge his family and the Dings flourish in the stock market.

 

MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR SPOILERS!!!

Cast and Character Analysis:

 

Fong Family:

They are a peaceful and righteous family that never does anything wrong. I don't think they were ever a close-knitted family until the very end when they united against the Dings. Fong is always causing fights. But Ling was the glue who held the family together; and later Bok as he led them in unification against the Dings.

 

They are very nice and moving when they are untied, but I am just surprised by how no one (except Ling who had to work long hours so that's acceptable) seems to care about Mun and are preoccupied with themselves (e.g. Bok with the girls and the stock, Ting's out dating, Fong's complaining) until she turns suicidal. And they feel too secure as well, and have a delay in locking doors, which is very dangerous considering Yik Hai's always rocking up at their house.

 

Fong Jun Sang: Damian Lau Chung Yan

 

A strong but stubborn man, who is righteous in a corrupt time. He loves his family, and tries to be as nice as he can to Hai. He is brilliant and calm, and very clever, but frustrated at how bad the society is and actually cares for the common stockholders. After the accident, he becomes weak, timid and afraid since he can't remember anything. You still see the love he has for Ling and the kids, and his desire to earn money to let Ling live better is a mark of his true love for her. He is afraid of Hai, yet risks his life to fight Hai when Hai roughly pushes Bok aside.

I felt sad when Sang finally won over the corrupt people, only to be bashed by Hai. Damian really had a screen presence, which showed power initially, and helplessness and fear after the accident. His performance was very moving, in folding newspapers over and over again, begging and crying on his knees to beg for his job, and crying on Ling and asking her to forgive him for not taking better care of her. I felt sad when he died, and missed Damian on screen.

 

 

 

Law Wai Ling: Yammie Nam Kit Ying

She used to be a cheerful and kind and gentle girl until the day she met Ding Hai. Ding Hai stalked her, manipulated her, and frightened her, all because she was kind to him when he begged her for forgiveness when he killed her cousin in the judo ring. She was kicked out by her family, couldn't study since Hai was waiting for her, and her friends left her since Hai would burn their houses if they allowed her to stay.

 

To her, Sang was like a guardian angel, and it was no wonder that she fell in love with him. She gives all for the children and lets her chances of marriage slip away as she can't forget Sang who she never legally married.

 

We can understand why she over-reacted when Ting told her she loved Hao Hai. Ding Hai ruined her life, probably of all the family, she hates Hai the most. She is a strong woman who took on too much so when she couldn't take it anymore, she went mad.

 

This was what I graded as Yammie's best performance in TVB. She was so convincing as a young student, to a tired mother to a mad woman. She fitted well with both male leads, and despite the strong competition in acting skills, she remained on par with the more experience actors in this male-dominated series. I was surprised how Yammie managed to portray so much emotion in so few scenes.

 

Fong Chien Bok: Sean Lau Ching Wan

Bok was lazy, insensitive, irresponsible and cocky. But when he was motivated, he was serious, dedicated, yet not losing his humour. He is very protective of his family and caring to his friends. He acts like a child, and always runs around screaming and I strong suspect that he has ADHD. He wants to be like his father, but doesn't really care about common stockholders and only for revenge, which is understandable.

His central goal in life is to avenge his father's death, so he always puts revenge first, which is bad for his love life. He loved Han Mui even before the Ding Hai trail began, but didn't even take the time to reject Gei Mun or reassure Han Mui. He is extremely selfish even though he is aware of their feelings and their losses, but still, he has to make them wait seven years to inform them of his choice.

 

But this is also a tragic character. He saw his mother get dragged along a street by a car, his father being beaten to death, his sister jump from a building, his two sisters being thrown off a building, Ling die in his arms, and lastly, in my own opinion, his wife, Han Mui die of a heart attack in his arms.

From sleeping underneath a bridge to battling inside the stock market centre, there is not a second that I am not astonished by how well Sean does in this show. Sean can act with his eyes, and even when he is just sitting still without talking, his eyes show all the worry and sorrow. His tears just appear out of no where even though he is still laughing and joking. I don't think any actor in TVB could have been better for this role.

Fong Fong: Ng Wing Hung


I thought this actress did a convincing job of being irritable and annoying, and her crying was good. But I fail to understand this shallow character. She had a hard childhood and bullies her sisters to do things her way and constantly reminds them of how she sacrificed her education. She takes their respect for her for granted and repeatedly tries to drive Bok from joining the family. She starts yelling and complaining when everything is peaceful, but runs away and hides when something happens. I really don't like this character. Her role is just to make Ling feel guilty and Bok feel unwanted. By the way, Lelia Tong Ling (yes, the one in "Twin of Brothers") played the young Fong Fong and was very cute.

 

Fong Ting: Loletta Lee Lai Chun

Ting was a strong character in the beginning with her independence, academic brilliance and standing up for Bok. She stood for what she believed, yet cared for her family. She was kind and forgiving. But as the story progressed, you don't see much in Ting anymore. She is overshadowed by the emerging Bok and just loses her personality.

 

She loves Hao Hai very much, but doesn't understand and empathize with him, selfishly expecting him to just ignore Hai, forgetting that he is Hai's dad and only cares about her own pains. She doesn't see how he is caught between Hai and her and the pain he is experiencing to make a final choice. She doesn't really try to make this relationship work, which is pretty inconsistent with the strong feelings she had for him at the start and feels indifferent after breaking up. This character takes such huge steps in her change of feelings that I feel there is much self-conflict that is missing in between.

 

I think TVB could have done a better job developing this character. If Ting was the vengeful one, she could have made a much bigger impact than Bok. She made the two close brothers fight over her, made Hao Hai nearly leave his dear family for her, and made To willing to go bankrupt to avenge her. But was she really that special?

 

I thought Loletta did very badly in some scenes. She was good in the beginning as the gentle girl and when she had to tell Ling that had accepted Hao Hai. But in later scenes, like when Hai kidnapped her and she was supposed to cry, it seemed like she was forcing her tears out. And in court against Hai, all she did was screaming angrily. She had almost no reaction when breaking up which was unbelievable since TVB made him like the love of her life. She was just reading lines and voice was monotonous. Loletta was disappointing.

 

Fong Mun: Carol Yeung Ling

She is a sweet timid girl who is helpless when her family fights. She is very academic and cares for her family members. She doesn't understand why they fight. She has no hatred against the Dings since she was very young when Sang died, until Yik Hai starts harassing her. It is a saddening scene as she says her farewell and jumps out of the window, just out of reach of her brother's hands.

 

Carol's best scene was when she was in depression and wanted to commit suicide after she found out she had gonorrhea and her family found out about her being sexually abused. She cried silent tears and looked helpless in the strait jacket, and easily gained sympathy. I liked Carol in here.

 

Yuen Mui (Han Mui): Vivian Chow Wai Mun

She is extremely timid and will so anything to save money, but she is willing to spend to save other people's lives, help friends, and give her grandmother good food. She only uses the old and unhealthy stuff on herself.

 

She is afraid to love someone since she knows she will not live long and will hurt the person she loves if she dies. She loves Bok because he is nice to her and she sees his hardship in seeking vengeance. She is not jealous of her love rival, and is even willing to give up Bok for his success. She waited so many years for him yet she did not hate him. She is the type that will stand by her man through thick and thin.

 

Vivian is so cute in here, especially when she fights with Bok over money. She does look very timid, and also very beautiful, even in t-shirt and jeans.

Despite the ambiguous ending, I think Han Mui died in Bok's arms. She said all her family members died in their sleep and all she wanted to was die in her lover's arms. It is sad. I think TVB made her die because it was Bok's fate to see all his loved ones die.

 

Ding Family:

The crazy, violent and chimney family. I am beginning to think that "Greed of Man" was sponsored by a tobacco company since these characters never stop smoking. Even if they didn't jump, they would have died from lung cancer anyway. I also think that the Ding family has this crazy violent gene that passed from Hai to his sons, especially Yik Hai. Thank heavens for the handsome gene he also passed down (this is a pretty good-looking family if you ignore their crimes).

 

With an exception of the women, this family is very close and united. The four sons are almost together in every scene, but the degree of their unity is very frightening and too extreme, such as they cover for each other even though they knew it was wrong, forgive each other too easily and think themselves always as right. One scene still shocks me in how intimate they are. In the same room, one is on the phone, one is smoking cocaine, and one is having sex. They have zero privacy which is scary.

 

Of course, they are all 100% filial, even though they do it in a strange approach. It can be moving sometimes, and other times, weird and freaky.

 

Ding Hai: Adam Cheng Siu Chow

A violent man with problems controlling his temper, and understanding other's people's thoughts and thinks everyone he loves must love him in return. He is extreme and stubborn. He is very passionate in his love which easily scares people. He is self-centered even though he doesn't realize it, and values friendship, love and family above all. However, he thinks other people should think the same way he does. He thinks he is always right, and those who oppose him must be wrong and he has to set out to save and correct them. He lives in his own self-justifying world, which clashes terribly with the real world.

He is very sincere to Sang, but is frustrated when Sang has different values and other priorities than him. Being very shallow in thought, he fails to see why Sang has to pretend to be corrupt, and immediately jumps to the conclusion that Sang is after his girlfriend. He doesn't see himself as threatening, and thus takes Sang's defensive blow as an attempt to kill him and beats up Sang.

 

Hai is a disaster in male and female relationships. He thinks his first wife left a perfect family because she is morally cheap, and doesn't see how he has emotionally tormented the poor woman over seven years' time. He also paints a cheap image of her in their sons' minds.

 

With Ling, Hai misinterpreted a single smile as love and won't leave her alone. He thinks everything she does for him is out of love, and not fear, which is the reality. He fails to consider all the obvious hints and direct speech that she hates him, and interprets them as her wanting attention.

 

He feels that because he thinks she is the love of his life, she must also think he is the love of her life. This is the belief that has stuck in his mind, and he won't let anything change it. This could be a self-defense mechanism. Even when she died and he understood that she never loved him, he still didn't see how much she hated him and the wrongs he did her because he mentally suppressed all the information that could hurt his feelings.

 

Towards his sons, he is a loving father, but not a good one. He taught them his own values and beliefs, and put blames on others. He cares deeply for them, but thinks they must listen to him 100% without complaint. He thinks that all things could be redeemed by love and care, and fails to see the permanent scars and hurt he has given to other people. It is tragic how even in the end; he never really got why people hated him.

 

However, Hai is a very kind-hearted person, who has the best intentions, but always turns out to have the worst consequences. He is also very forgiving, he can be very angry one minute, but after he vents his anger and calms down, he forgives immediately. He is a very determined guy, who wants to do good and never gives up on improving other people (however the ones he sees as wrong mostly are right in reality). He is childish and naïve in thinking that everything is just as it seems. He is definately not stupid, and is quite cunning in some cases.

 

This must be the most complex character that has ever been made up. The dialogue is superb, and very unique to a man who is lost in his own world. Adam did a great job in this breakthrough character. He did an excellent performance from the loud outbursts (considering all his previous roles were refined gentlemen) to the anxious facial twitches during the trail to the emotional crying in prison and while on the run. It was a bit scary to find Adam swearing and beating up someone every fifteen minutes, but it was very convincing that he was a mad and confused man. Adam has such a strong screen presence here that every time Hai appears, we feel the fear and shock and suspense at what unpredictable thing he would do next. It can be hilarious sometimes.

Ding Hai is not a person you should hate, but rather one you should pity. The things he does may be annoying, but he never means it and he feels remorseful for things he feels is wrong. He at least (unlike his sons) has a line to draw. He is overall a very nice man, and it's not his fault that he just cannot understand other people's hidden messages (brain defect???). His wig is terrible though!

 

Ding Hao Hai: David Siu Chong Hung

This is another very deep and pitiful character that is memorable. He was taught that it was OK to commit crimes in order to support your family. Hai was always away from home, and he had to shoulder the responsibility of taking care of glueing the family together from a young age, by stealing food, fighting and wagging school.

 

He became a triad member at twelve and was exposed to violence and many other evils of the world, but somehow, he has maintained a conscience which none of his brothers have managed to keep. He knows what he does is wrong, but keeps on doing it because he has to, and also hopes that one day; he will be able to change and become a good person (which is influenced by his crush on Ting when they were children and the Bible she gave him so he can learn to be good).

 

He is calm, rational, mature, brave and quiet, and can cope with high levels of stress. He is 100% filial and very protective of his brothers. But as his brothers describe him, when he gets angry, he is very violent and fierce. Unlike his father who thinks he is always right, Hao Hai knows when he is wrong and tries to make up for it in a more realistic way.

 

This guy is pretty much doomed in his love life since he is a Ding. Like Hai, he is very passionate in love. He actually sees from Ting's point of view and never forces her into a relationship. He is also very concerned with how she views him as a person. Due to his occupation and education and his family, he feels very insecure, and is jealous of To. He is caught between the two most important things in his life, Ting and his family. Yet, he chose Ting over his wealth, his family and status. But when Ting chose her family over him it broke his heart.

 

He no longer felt the need to be good because no one would be there to appreciate it, and suddenly turns goes the full limit of evilness to protect the one thing he has left, his family. The sudden coldness in his attitude (like pushing Ting off the car and chucking her Bible at her) is a self-defense mechanism, where he pretends not to care about her anymore to protect himself from getting hurt. So he hands over the job of harassing the Fongs to Yik Hai. He let his men chuck Ting off the roof because he didn't want to care anymore, but he cried heaps when she died.

 

After she dies, he is no longer quiet and polite, and starts to act more gangster-like because he doesn't care anymore. He is the only one who dared to speak out against Hai. As to why Hai jumped by himself, I think it was because he had nothing else to live for. He lost the love of his life, his wealth, and everything he had worked so hard for over the years had now disappeared. It is a tragic moment.

 

This character never talks about his feelings to other people, even his girlfriend, and keeps his worries to himself which adds to his stress. He tries to absorb all the hurt so the people he loves can be safe and happy. He is extremely frustrated by his family, but puts up with them. He wants to leave, but he can't.

I think David must be either related or bribing the TVB producers. He always gets all these good roles which have plenty of space to act a variety of expressions and lots of sympathy from the audience. But of course, he always does a good job and I think he is very talented at acting and very good at crying scenes. Too bad he quit.

 

However, in this series with so many first-class artistes, David doesn't really stand out with his acting, but if you only focus on him during the scenes, you will realize how great a job he did. He made this character very multi-layered and deep. Like Adam's case, I was surprised how much David swore and beat up people in the series; he always used to get gentlemen roles who spoke softly.

 

There are two things I noticed about David in "Greed of Man". One, he is short-sighted and squints all the time, and doesn't squint when he has glasses on (which he looks great in by the way). Secondly, he is a terrible driver who can't drive straight and doesn't indicate when he changes lane or comes out of parking. Scary!

 

Ding Yik Hai: Michael To Tai Yu

A terrible replica of Ding Hai. He has inherited the worst genes from Hai and has picked up even worse traits while growing up. In simple words, he is a rude, anti-social, misogynistic sex maniac who has violent traits, a shallow mind, and a horrible false belief that he is always right. He has no remorse and enjoys ruining other people's lives.

 

If not for his elder brother Hao Hai, who is a triad leader, he would have been killed a lot time ago for his cockiness and lack of self-control. He uses his brother's power and abuses the power of the triads to make people do things his way. He is worst member of the Ding family.

He won't leave the Fong family alone since he reckons that it is their fault that their dad was wanted in Hong Kong for killing Sang. He wanted Ting, and was close to raping her until his brother found out and beat the crap out of him. He then went after Mun, the youngest and most vulnerable one whom he managed to repeatedly rape.

 

However loud he might be, he is a wimp underneath, showed by the immediate crying (he cries like a girl by the way) when he gets punched by his father (somehow Adam always goes for Michael first, even when throwing off the roof), and fear when his brother gets angry.

Wow! I am surprised that Michael even made it to be a "lady-killer" on TV since he was so annoying here with his rude remarks, annoying behaviour and cocky attitude. It shows he can really act since every movement he makes is just like an uneducated gangster who is a shameless pervert. He should have gotten a reward for this role.

 

Ding Wong Hai: Ng Kai Ming

A quiet man who is a lawyer; he is not intimidating, but can be evil. He is very filial and scared of his brothers. He also has a heart condition. He is very good at talking and is very calm and tries to analyze everything. Ng Kai Ming (Brother of Lawrence Ng Kai Wah) doesn't do much in here, except walk around and stick with the gang. There isn't really spectacular about his performance here but he has done better.

 

Ding Lei Hai: Derek Kwok Jing Hung

An immoral doctor who sells drugs and works for the triad. He is loud, and has no conscience, though is very filial. A very young and handsome Derek was in here, and he suited very well as a doctor who didn't care about his patients and abuses his workers. As with Ng Kai Ming, his role doesn't have much to do here except walk, talk and scream occasionally. But I liked him when he was seeing a patient and he was fiddling with his pen and shaking his legs rudely when his patient was talking.

 

Ho Jeen: Lai Suen

A poor woman who can't control her son's abnormal behaviour and mind and had no time to care for him though she cared deeply for him. It pained her to see the mistakes he was making, yet she could do nothing about it. She stays in a nunnery to atone for her sons and grandsons sins, hoping to make them change. She is hugely disappointed by the increasing degree of evil that her family is up to over time.

 

When Hai returns, she does her best to protect him and also the Fongs from him, but as she can no longer control Hai, she has no choice but to call for the police to arrest her son. Just imagine the hurt she must be feeling to so that to her beloved son. She finally gives up on them and leaves them to their own destruction.

 

Lai Suen (grandaunt of Gigi Lai Chi) is an excellent veteran actress. She showed the agony of being part of his horrible family, and the guilt when she kneels to the Fongs for forgiveness. But she does overact and screams too much and too dramatically.

 

Ah Giu (Hai's wife): sorry, unknown actress

A woman who married Hai at a young age, and suffered tremendous emotional and physical abuse by Hai's possessiveness and lack of understanding. She had to sadly leave her sons to escape further abuse, and ended up as a Macau prostitute. She is permanently scarred by Hai's treatment of her, showed by the extreme fear she has when Hai appears at the bar and splashed boiling water at her. From her own words, "Even as a prostitute, I lead a better life than the seven years I spent with you, which was hell for me! Why can't you just let me go?"

 

This actress, who is an extra in TVB nowadays, had a small role, but accurately portrayed the fear and tears an abused woman shows when her abuser was after her.

 

Stock Market People:

Yip Teen: Law Lok Lum

A great performance by the veteran in the stubborn and determined stock agent who aimed to clean up the stock market. Teen was awarded the title "God of Stock" but his own son went bankrupt on stocks and killed the whole family, leaving Teen mad and lonely. He cares deeply for Bok like a father, hoping to shape him into a second Sang.

 

It was tragic for him to lose everything by the thing he had dedicated his life to, the stock market. His character leaves a bitter and poignant taste and he dies from brain cancer with the advice for people never to enter the stock market and be consumed by greed and desire. Law Lok Lum looks very pitiful and scary when he is out of his mind and starts attacking himself. He actually does stand up to Adam and Damian in performance, namely when he starts having epileptic attacks and starts going mad. The struggling way he walks looks so natural to him, like he was really going mad any moment.

 

Chan Man Yin: Kong Ngai

A cheap corrupt and greedy man who uses the Stock market to gain wealth for himself. He doesn't care about the people who go bankrupt or die after losing stocks, and is extremely arrogant and narrow-minded. He thinks everyone, like him, cares about money, and drives his son and wife away. He feels nothing for his wife when she requested to see him by her deathbed, and chucks money at his son and tells him to scram. His son, Chan To To, stock market genius as well as his superior, comes back for revenge and tries to bankrupt him. He then suddenly admits To as his son and insults him for going against his father. Even after repeated jail terms due to corruption, he never learns from his past and never feels remorse. He only hangs himself because he couldn't face failure and bankruptcy, and not because he felt sorry for what he has done.

 

Kong Ngai, being one of the TVB acting school instructors, gives a fabulous act as this pest. He does give that arrogant look and his reaction is terrific when he learns that Hai earned millions when he, the expert, lost millions in stock.

Chan To To: Bowie Lam Bo Yee

 

A witty, cocky and talkative man who is arrogant because of his early success, which is fuelled by his hatred for his father who abandoned him and his mother in poverty. He grew up having to fend for himself, and knew that he had to succeed to prove to his father that he was wrong in abandoning him.

He is an optimistic man who likes to tell jokes, even when he is severely depressed, probably to cover his own hurt. He falls for Ting (for some reason) and leads a personal vendetta against Hao Hai to avenge her, and with Hai's extremely good luck, To was bankrupted, but made a comeback working with Bok to bring down the Dings.

 

I thought Bowie was more natural in here than in the recent "War and Beauty". He seemed more comfortable in talking, moving and even crying. In here, he showed he was born to act.

 

Taiwan People:

Lung Sai Bong: Kenneth Tsang Kong

In his youth/middle-age, he was a powerful and corrupt senior inspector who had many wives, and children, and basically, could have anything he wanted. He fled to Taiwan with his billions after the ICAC was established. With age, his many wives and children threatened for money and made him so angry that he drove them all away and became a miser. The youngest, Gei Mun, tried her best to tell her father that she doesn't care about money, but he just abuses her and insults her.

 

He maintains the arrogance of his youth, until he gets kidnapped by Hai, and reveals his vulnerable side: his fear, his old age and failing health. But from this incident, he found out that Gei Mun does truly care for him and begins to love her back.

 

Bong also finds out that he is no longer fearful, and realizes that his dependence (he is lonely and made Gei Mun vow that she would never be with Bok) on Gei Mun has ruined her chances with Bok, and tries to redeem himself by forcing her from his side by telling her he killed her mother (I think he lied) and made her hate him and leave with Bok. He hoped that Bok would accept her, and even let go of his millions and lent it to Bok to finance his company. He was happy to learn that his daughter was happy.

 

Kenneth was always a strong actor and showed his best when Bong was incontinent and going senile. He showed a father's true love for his daughter when he looked tenderly at her when she came back to him, and told her that she could forget her vow to never love Bok. He really looked old and frail. I just love his acting during the transition from a fearless man to a weak old man.

 

Lung Gei Mun: Amy Kwok Oi Ming

This is one of Amy's first few performances after winning Miss Hong Kong 1991, and I thought she did a good job. She screamed a lot, but it was what the feisty and strong character was like. Gei Mun had a lonely childhood, snatched from her mother by her father, she lacked attention amongst her numerous siblings. All she wanted was her father to love and care for her.

 

She lacks love, which is why she loves Bok so much when he takes care of her. No matter how much her father insults her, she does love Bong and stays by his side even though he hurls abuses at her, and even chooses to take care of him over Bok. She is a tragic character as she loves Bok so much, yet gains nothing in return. She sacrifices so much for him willingly, knowing that he only loves Han Mui. All he does is ignore her and take her for granted. Han Mui is her love rival, yet she does not hate her, and even tries to get her and Bok together.

 

She was happy to have Bok just as a friend, but she finally left him when she found out he caused her father to have a fatal heart attack when Bok didn't tell him to stop buying down stocks so the Dings wouldn't realize what he was aiming at, and Bong thought he lost everything. She was broken-hearted to see how little she meant to him and left him without a word when all Bok happily said to her was "I'll pay you back all the money!" as if he didn't care. It would have been better if he asked, "How is your father?" She felt as if she killed her own father because she persuaded him to invest in Bok.

Sometimes I feel that Bok didn't deserve Gei Mun and she should have just left him because he was dragging her feelings in dirt when he knew fully that he didn't love her. Taking into consideration that I am suffering from "The Link" withdrawal syndrome, I wanted Gei Mun and Hao Hai to get together since these two really need and deserve understanding and love.

 

Amy was very cute in here, especially when she chased after Bok and hit him. She brought the righteousness out of Gei Mun very well, and also the sadness that accompanied her character. Maybe if she wasn't Bong's daughter, Bok may have had a chance with her since he viewed Bong causing the demise of Sang when he made Sang launder money for him. At least she and Sean are happy in real life!

 

Chow Jai Sang: Lau Kong

He was powerful drug lord who bribed Bong and also forced Sang to launder drug money for him in stocks. He is very stubborn, old-fashioned, and a very bad temper. He and his wife, Wah, fled to Taiwan as well as the ICAC were after them.

 

He is a loyal friend, and maintained very powerful triad connections in Taiwan. He may shout at his wife, but he really loves her, and almost goes crazy with worry when she is kidnapped by Hai and later killed by killers. With this great loss, he turns to superstition. He later finds comfort in Han Mui as a goddaughter who reminds him of his wife and helps Bok against the Dings to redeem themselves.

 

The tone of Lau Kong's voice fits perfectly the persona of a Chiu Chow tough man. He is very convincing as the cripple on crutches and the look in his eyes when he remembers back to how he met his wife was very sweet.

 

Ng Bo Wah (Wah Jie): Wong Oi Yan

The wife of Chow Jai Sang is a tradition woman who listens completely to her husband, despite his shouting at her. She helps out in drug deals, and is also very kind and understanding. She calms her bad-tempered husband down all the time to prevent trouble. She is childless, and sees Gei Mun as a daughter.

It is very sad to see her run to her husband happily, only to have a heart attack and die as the assassins (sent by the Dings) shot at them. Wong Oi Yan's soft voice is very suitable as the obedient wife, and the comforting mother figure. She too, is a gem at acting, though she usually acts timid roles.

 

Extras:

As I like to spot for artistes before they were famous, in "Greed of Man", I found Gordon Lam Kar Dong ("Crimson Sabre") and Wong Tak Bun (Maggie's eunuch friend in "War and Beauty") as stock analysts working for the Dings, who both were unfortunately thrown around by David. Florence Kwok Siu Wan ("Seven Sisters") appeared twice as the Scared Nun that Chow Jai Sang worshipped. Gilbert Lam Wai Sun ("The Good Old Days") was a stock analyst working for To.

 

Praises :

The series was very fast paced and suspenseful. In the stock exchange centre, all the competitors seemed to alternately win and lose, and you would never guess how the winning side did it before it was shown. The chemistry between all the actors and most of the actresses was awesome.

The sequence in which the series was filmed was also very well done. The series starts off with so many deaths and much rivalry that you would want to know how it started. Then Hai's flashbacks start showing and you see the friendship between the two families, and wonder what on earth happened? Then you see Bok toasting to his dead family members and you just want to scream at the TV, "You'd better show me what happened or I'm fast-forwarding!"

 

The triad scenes were also very effective. It was almost frightening to see hundreds of triad members walk in the streets with the Ding brother's heading them, and contrasting them to the small Fong family who are next them on the sidewalk.

 

The names of the characters were also chosen very nicely. The choice of names like "Hai (crab)" and "Jeen (cheap)" showed the low education of the Ding family, while more sophisticated names were made in the Fong family.

 

I like how TVB chose to make direct contrasts between the families. One was rich and one was poor. When the rich became poor, the rich became rich. Bok was playing with toys while Hao Hai had to steal food to feed his brothers. When Bok was working like a slave in Taiwan, Hai and his sons lived like kings.

The themevideo was very effective in portraying a change in events. It was like every scene was choreographed to tell a story. Examples are: Sang is shown rich and tidy, and another scene, disabled and crying. Hai is shown screaming, then the next he is celebrating and smiling. Ling is young and in school uniform, the next she is scruffy and older. The four children are contrasted against the other four. You see the Fongs crying, and the Dings laughing in the next scene. Ting and Hao Hai are kissing, then the next scene shows them breaking up. Sang is crawling on the ground looking for a ring, then later, we have Ling who is also looking for the ring. You'll see that TVB really put a lot of work in this.

 

The song by Alan Tam is pretty suitable too, it tells of no matter how powerful you are, you have to step down one day. But the melody sounds a bit too happy to me. The sub theme by Adam is one of my favourite songs, singing of regret and sorrow, and loneliness. This song was used by the VCD as the main theme for some reason, and a scrappy sequence of random scenes was made for the themevideo, which in my opinion is crap and ambigious. The original video was much better and meaningful.

 

I love the bitter feeling in you as the show ends. It is a depressing story where the good may triumph over evil, but karma always gets you.

 

Complaints:

I thought that the Fongs were a bit stupid not to leave, stay over at some friend's house or go into protective custody during the Ding Hai trial. I think TVB tried to portray them as 100% goodies, righteous and victims, but some of their actions were just stupid.

 

Why on earth would To, such an experienced man, offer an assistant position to a young girl like Ting, who has not yet graduated, has no experience or clue about the work involved? Even until she quit, I don't think she did anything productive except buy lunch and keep To happy!

 

The Ding Hai trial is so stupidly written that all who watch "Law and Order" can pick up the mistakes immediately. Hai has no evidence, and talks about this miscellaneous stuff which is not related to the trial and the judge should have never let him go on. I don't even know why all the Fongs are called as witnesses. Only Bok saw Sang being killed. Why on earth was the rest of the family on the stand for? And why were the witnesses in court before being summoned? The Dings should have just applied for leniency due to insanity plea.

 

The ending is so rushed, though very suspenseful. Bok learnt all these skills from Teen, but he never had to use any of them against the Dings. All he relied on was luck and instinct which was pretty crappy for me. It would have been a better ending if Bok tricked the Dings into feeling they were lucky, then manipulated the stock exchange and bankrupted them with all those skills they learnt, instead of yelling, "Up! Up! Up! Yeahhh!" And the Dings, with all their fortunes, couldn't; get a better stock market expert to help them!

 

The ages of the Ding brothers are very messed up. Hai spent 14 year in Taiwanese jail, and Hao Hai was 12 then, so must be 26 when Hai returns. But Dr. Ding Lei Hai has to be at least 25 or 26 years old (graduates high school at 18 + 6 years of med school + 2 years of clinical work). So where does that leave the ages for the middle two brothers? And none of them are twins. Weird! And Bok, who was 23 when Hai was released, was supposed to be older than Wong Hai and Lei Hai!

 

Complaints about the Sequel "Heavenly Retribution" by ATV:

I thought Sean, Amy and Adam were idiots in taking part in this ridiculous production. It had a crappy plot and dragged on and on. The worst of it was that it killed all the strengths "Greed of Man" built up. It is Wai Kai Fai's worst work. Hai's friendhship towards Sang is less genuine, Bok's parentage is questioned (Too much "Star Wars"!), Gei Mun becomes pathetically weak, suddenly, Hai's sons try to kill him and To doesn't really like Ting.

If you are a "Greed of Man" fan, take my advice, never watch the sequel or you will regret it for the rest of your life. You'll either go crazy from laughing your head off (like me) or use up ten new remotes by the constant pressure on the fast-forward button!

 

Interesting facts about "Greed of Man":

Of course, as you all know, this series gave birth to the Ding Hai effect, which caused Adam to be hated by stockbrokers and stockholders who blame him for the fall of the stock market. Nearly every time this series or an Adam series is shown on TV, the stock market goes down. Of course, that's not going to stop me from watching them!

TVB was sued and complained heavily by viewers for this series since it was very violent, had a lot of swearing, sexual references, and the images of people falling from roofs scared the little children.

 

Final Comment:

I think this is a must-watch series. If you miss it, you must be as mad as Ding Hai. If you don't like the storyline, at least watch it for the fabulous cast. This will be the only time you will see Sean Lau being cornered by two women; Damian eating oranges Adam just chewed on, Adam trying to commit suicide by flushing the toilet and Michael To crying like a girl!

小豬這周一定要中Mark 6


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发表于 2009-3-21 15:14:18 |显示全部楼层

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The Greed of Man

Reviewed by: AngryBaby
Rating:      

"The Greed of Man" is a memorable series which is one of the best series I believe that TVB has produced in the past decade. My recommendation is it is worth watching and if you intend to see it, stop reading at the end of this paragraph. Skip to the analysis unless you are really determined to read the summary.

 

A quick summary of a very story (the other review is better for story outline):

The serial is set in the 1970s, in the golden period of the Hong Kong economy ("shark fin mixed with rice"). There are two best friends. Fong Chong Sun (Lau Chong Ren) is a guru of the stock market and Ding Hai (Adam Cheng) is a street hooligan. Fong Chong Sun has 3 daughters and a son, whilst Ding Hai has 4 sons. Basically after a series of misunderstandings, including Fong Chong Sun getting together with Ah Ling (Lam Kit Ying) whom Ding Hai believed was his girlfriend, Ding Hai kills his life-long friend in front of his young son, Fong Jin Bok (Lau Ching Wan). Ding Hai flees to Taiwan to escape persecution. The once rich Fong family is reduced to poverty and Ah Ling becomes their surrogate mother and brings them up while working as a minibus driver. Over the years they suffer much hardship. Meanwhile Ding's four sons have prospered with the help of their underworld influence, led by the big brother Ding Hao. They remain fiercely (and murderously) loyal to one another.

 

When they've all grown up, the two families begin to bump into each other again (because the Ding sons - grandmother used to be the nanny of the Fong family). The second Fong sister (won't bother with names) and Ding Hao (big brother of the Ding clan) fall in love despite the family difficulties. Most of the Fong family hate the Dings with a passion, especially Ah Ling and Bok. Awkwardly, the families manage to get by with the knowledge of each other's existence, until Ding Hai gets out of jail in Taiwan (for a separate offence) and decides to come back to HK despite the fact that he is still a wanted man for Fong Chong Sun's murder.

 

This sparks a series of heated confrontations between the families as the Fong family wants to report Ding Hai to the HK police, whilst the criminally-inclined Ding sons do everything to stop their father being convicted. Ding Hai still believes that he and Ah Ling should be together and starts harassing her again. Bok finds he is gifted in playing with stocks and learns all the tricks to investment off an old partner of his father's. When the family finds out about the second sister and Ding Hao, she is kicked out of the house. She begins working for a company, whose boss To To (Bowie Lam) likes her. He and Bok become friends after meeting at the stock exchange. Meanwhile Bok is developing his own love lines with Harn Mui ("stingy girl", played by Vivian Chow) and a rich girl (Kwok Oi Ming). He and Harn Mui are well matched except that the rich girl really likes Bok and he is prone to procrastination, so the issue draggs on.

 

However, the third Ding brother, Ding Yik Hai (Michael Tao) decides to rape the third Fong daughter (who is just finishing high school). At the same time the police have caught Ding Hai and are finally putting him to trial. As the only eyewitness to the murder, Bok is required to appear and give evidence in court against Ding Hai. The second Fong sister breaks up bitterly with Ding Hao, who consequently allows his brothers to take charge and do anything they want to keep their father and Yik Hai out of prison.

 

Due to pressure during the court hearing and Ding's dirty tactics, the third Fong sister commits suicide in front of her whole family, so Ding Yik Hai gets off scot free. In his own trial, Ding Hai decides to defend himself in court, which basically ends with him admitting his crime. He is sentenced to life. The Fong family decides to leave Hong Kong after their sister?s funeral.

 

During the preparation the Ding brothers send a group of men to kill all of them. The two sisters are thrown off the top of the apartment building and die. Bok is thrown off as well, but gets caught on a washing rack and is sent to hospital. Ah Ling was parking her minibus at the time and was not hurt, but she saw everything that happened. Thinking they are all dead, she goes crazy and drives around looking for the Ding brothers. She finds them driving on the road and smashes her minibus into their car, but they survive with only scratches. Ah Ling is admitted to a mental asylum. Bok disappears from the hospital knowing there is a bounty on his head and secretly leaves Hong Kong.

 

Time goes by. The Ding brothers manage to concoct a story of their father dying of cancer and in need of constant treatment, so he is allowed to live outside the prison. They start investing stocks and become filthy rich thanks to their very lucky father. To To has not forgotten the murders of the second Fong sister and her family and attempts to go after them on the market. Meanwhile Bok is living on a small fishing island. His two love interests have finally found him, but only Harn Mui stays after he shows he is only focused on making money. They do every little job they can get their hands on to earn money so that Bok can invest in shares. He patiently waits for a chance to return to Hong Kong. All this time Ding Hai constantly visits Ah Ling at the mental hospital. Knowing Bok is still at large Ah Ling humours Ding Hai along, not wanting to provoke him. Bok comes to take her away. Ding Hai finds out and believes Bok has kidnapped her and hunts them down. Just as she is recovering from ?Ding? paranoia and can be left by herself, Ding Hai rocks up. During a fight, where she attempts to kill him, she is shot by the police. Bok reaches the scene too late and his stepmother dies in his arms. Ding Hai finally realised she never liked him and goes away dazed. Bok is now the sole survivor of the Fong family.

 

Bok returns to Hong Kong and starts an investment company with To To. His time was all spent on how to get back at the Dings that he paid little regard to the two girls following him selflessly. So there was an ongoing love triangle. Eventually the rich girl realises Bok will never like her and actually prefers Harn Mui all along. So she tells him that Harn Mui's hereditary heart problem has worsened over the years but they didn't want to tell him. Bok makes up with Harn Mui.

 

Finally judgment day come in 1991 on the eve of the Gulf War. There is much uncertainty within the stock exchange regarding the effect on stock prices. The Ding clan starts investing with the money of powerful underworld gangs, believing there will be a war which would mean that the prices would go down. Bok believes this is a rare opportunity and decides to bet that the prices would go up with everything he has. The war does break out, but only for an hour or so. The Dings lose everything and cause several powerful criminals also to lose a lot of money. Bok and his company become super rich.

So Ding Hai takes his sons up to the top of the stock exchange building. Knowing they are as good as dead, one by one they jump off the building. Bok is celebrating in his office when he sees them come down. When Ding Hai jumps, his foot is caught on a wire and comes crashing into Bok's window. He is taken to prison for life and is the only living Ding member.

 

The series ends with Bok and Harn Mui sitting on a hillside watching the sunset. Harn Mui's heart condition has deteriorated. And as she and Bok are planning of their future together, she drifts off on Bok's shoulder. So no one really knows whether she has died, but I believe so (explained below).

 

Analysis

On the surface, it is another typical TVB fabrication of all too familiar issues. A family feud as classic as it can get, a clueless young man struggling to reach his potential to meet high expectations, a forbidden love story between the families, a fight to get rich and power and the wait for justice. After so many years of saturation with TVB series, I believed my feelings had become so numb to the stage where I fast-forward long teary scenes and groan each time I realise X and Y are long lost family members. So I was shocked when this early 90s series seemed to resurrect emotions I had thought were long gone. And that is probably why I thought it was a good series, the fact that such a boringly conventional and predictable story could be produced so that it came across so well.

 

I guess the beginning first caught my attention. It began with the ending (the dramatic stock market hike in 1991). I had no idea what this series was and didn't hold much expectations since it was an ?old? series ? only watched it to pass the school holidays. Being used to Adam Cheng as the good guy all the time, I was surprised to see him collapse in devastation along with his sons (including Michael Tao, who is another Mr Nice Guy) from the stock prices. I was even more surprised to see Lau Ching Wan elated with their misfortune, leaping around in ecstasy in front of them, adding salt to the wound. This was followed by communal suicides off the roof. TVB series always ends with the good victorious, but this was so cruel and extreme I felt I needed to see the rest of the series to justify the finish.

 

And it did. By the time I was two thirds through and as I watched more and more vulnerable people die, whilst the bad became more and more rich and powerful, the steadily growing resentment inside had me demanding blood. Perhaps having seen the ending and knowing that the bad people would get what they deserved kept me watching. You could feel what the characters felt. I was as exasperated as Ah Ling was she tried to explain to the clueless Ding Hai she didn't actually like him. I was as frustrated as Fong Chong Sun when he tried to make Ding Hai understand why he didn't want to be corrupt and to the end I waited patiently with Bok the chance for revenge. By the time the opening scene happened again I could have jumped around the room like Lau Ching Wan. I was impressed at how skilful the producers were to build up such a distinctly bittersweet climax. By then I thought it was all over but I was wrong?

 

The ending was open but the way I understood it, Harn Mui died and here is why. Revenge always comes with a price and Bok learnt this. He became rich beyond his wildest dreams, but realised the stock boom had not only brought the demise of the Dings but also dragged thousands of other people into bankruptcy and driven families to suicide. Bok was not guiltless. Being blinded by hatred for most of his life he had focused his efforts on those he hated and neglected the two girls. It was through them that he paid the price.

 

Firstly the rich girl; on Bok's advice Kwok Oi Ming (real life Mrs Lau) convinced her ill father to bet all his wealth for a fall in stock prices (to give the Dings more rope to hang themselves). Bok had planned to reimburse her father his losses once it was over, but her father did not know and had a fatal heart attack when he thought he had lost everything.

 

Bok was also guilty of making Harn Mui wait for him for so long. She had been with him through thick and thin and had gone to great lengths to save his life at desperate moments. In return, Bok had never shown gratitude or revealed his real feelings even as her heart condition worsened. So when Bok finally got the revenge he craved at the expense of so many innocent people, it was only right he paid by losing what he had failed to appreciate all along. Harn Mui had to die to show absolute justice. It was the final touch needed to complete such a sorry tale.

 

On the actors and acting: In response to Adam Cheng as Ding Hai, they became inseparable after the series, I mean think of the phrase the "Ding Hai Effect" used on real life stock markets - need I say more? The Ding brothers were convincingly evil. Michael Tao became so hateful it amazes me how I could see him as Mr Good Guy in his other series again.

 

On the Fong side: Lau Chong Ren was the father figure turned mentally disabled turned corpse. If Adam Cheng was a great maniac, then Lau Chong Ren was his ideal opposite. Lau Ching Wan had much to carry in his role. I was glad they didn't cast a good looking guy as Bok, who is just a far from perfect average man (unlike the unrealistic flawless and multi-talented leading male roles in most of TVB's series). Ah Ling and the daughters were commendable, although not outstanding. Vivian Chow as Harn Mui was well suited. I think she has a naturally innocent and gentle demeanour that doesn't require much effort to bring out. Kwok Oi Ming was a good contrasting actress and character, but her voice did get really annoying after her whinges and crying hysterically countless times through the series.

 

BUT there were some serious flaws.

- The lack of law and order is ridiculous. Not only that, it is as though the world only contains the Ding and Fong families. The Dings can do whatever they want and the Fongs are forced to face them alone. The series has such a narrow scope, making it clear that it is lacking variety in plot development.

- Heavy dependence on "fate" (Tian Yi) and "luck", which makes it quite unrealistic. How can a bunch of hoodlums (Dings) who don't know the first thing about investing become filthy rich in a Hong Kong full of business intellectuals?

 

- There are several parts which dragged painfully and became overkill. Such as the one episode which was just about the mentally disabled Fong Chong Sun learning to eat and fold newspapers. Oi Ming's endless screaming matches with her dad and spontaneous crying were really hard on my sanity. The trial of Ding Hai was a circus, quite an insult to the real thing. As if a judge would allow someone to give an emotionally-charged obituary speech in the witness box for a dead sister who is irrelevant to the case. And the most ridiculous of all was when Adam Cheng ?caught? his foot in a magically-appearing wire, plummeted down the stock exchange building and crashed through the window, which happened to be where his nemesis was sitting - and survived.

 

- And there were other parts that were under presented, such as a shortage of happy and light-hearted scenes, which were sorely needed to show the bond within the Fong family. Even the morbid love story between Ding Hao and Fong Ting lacked a closeness which would have made their separation more tragic. And there were virtually no after effects when she died, which made it seem like it never happened and was so hollow. The ending was not satisfying. The last confrontation where psycho Ding Hai had a crazy argument with Bok along the lines of "I told you so" and "ha ha, got you back" didn't end the blood feud. I felt it needed closure. It was like the viewers went through hell and back, but neither learnt nor gained anything. Either kill off Ding Hai or resolve the senseless hatred in a definite way.

 

Final Word

Despite its flaws and Oi Ming's piercing screeches it is certainly a good series. Watch it if you can bear heavy storylines and are a fan of big productions like Cold Blood Warm Heart and Threshold of an Era. don't watch it if you like watching good-looking series for good-looking people, happy family dramas (like the pathetic "Handful of Love") light entertainment, puppy love stories and if you are an Adam Cheng fan (you?ll hate him by the end of the series).

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发表于 2009-3-21 15:16:59 |显示全部楼层

Review from:

http://www.spcnet.tv/TVB-Series/The-Greed-of-Man-review-r102.html

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The Greed of Man

Reviewed by: spcnet
Rating:      

 

"The Greed of Man" is a classic modern series that TVB had made in the early 90s. Casting Adam Cheng Siu Chow in a rare antagonistic--yet acclaimed--role as the big and stupid Ding Hai, "Greed" tells a tale of stocks, vengeance, greed, and tragedy. It also featured a great many rising and established talents of TVB, including Damian Lau Chung Yun, Lau Ching Wan, Tsang Kong, Yammie Lam Kit Ying, Loletta Lee Lai Zhen, Vivian Chow Wai Man, Amy Kwok Oi Ming, Bowie Lam Bo Yee, David Siu Chung Hing, and Michael Tao Dai Yu to name a few.

 

Spoilers!
The story spends the first few episodes in 1970s Hong Kong when the Hang Seng Stock Exchange was first established. Fong Jun Sun (Damian Lau Chung Yun) is one of the directors at the Hang Seng board and also one of the few who did not join in the corrupted stock schemes. Fong is close friends with Ding Hai (Adam Cheng Siu Chow), a bull-headed, self-righteous man who could not be reasoned (or reckoned) with. Ding Hai's mother was Fong's nanny and now also the nanny of his own 4 children so Fong and Ding Hai grew up together and Ding considers Fong as his best friend. A side note: Fong is a widower since his wife passed away while Ding's wife ran away. Both have four children each, Fong has 1 son and 3 daughters while Ding has 4 sons.

 

Enters Ah Ling (Yammie Lam Kit Ying), a high school student who Ding Hai considers to be his girlfriend--without her consent--after only a couple of innocent "dates". She's terrified of Ding Hai, and has every right to be, because Ding would beat up anyone to a bloody pulp who would even dare to hide Ah Ling or mention breakup. Fong Jun Sun sees her miserable predicament and takes her away, freeing her from her nightmare so that she is very grateful and even starts to admire and love Fong Jun Sun. Yet this also leads to a series of misunderstandings between Ding Hai and Fong, mounted on top of other misunderstandings that Ding Hai righteously believed where he was wronged.

 

Disgusted with the illegal stock inflation at the stock exchange, Fong vies to become chairman so that he could clean up the place and kick out Chan Man Yin (Kwong Ngai), the corrupted chairman. He starts a stock war against Chan and gambles with luck. Basically, Chan wants to push the price of a stock down by driving up supply and then buy back at the very low price while Fong wants to push the price up. At this time, Ah Ling confesses her feelings for Fong by buying a wedding ring and asking him to give it to her. Fong is touched and asks her to wait for him.

 

Fong starts to win the price war at the end but unwilling to be defeated, Chan spills out to the press that a lot of the traded stocks are fraudulent so stock buyers' confidence dropped along with the price. Losing though, Fong can still take down Chan by releasing evidence of illegal stock transactions. However, at this moment, Fong goes to a mad Ding Hai who starts beating up Fong upon seeing the ring dropped by Fong. Brunting heavy injuries, Fong is put in a coma and when he finally wakes up, his brain was injured so badly that he was became partially retarded. Ah Ling continues to take care of him and his four children and just when Fong was building his life back together, Ding Hai comes back. He accidentally kills Fong--Ding never realizes the strength of his fists--and flees to Taiwan. However, once there, Ding Hai beats up a man hired to kill him to paralysis and is sentenced to 14 years in jail.

 

Years later, Ah Ling has brought up Fong's four children under economic hardships, Fong Jin Bok (Lau Ching Wan), Fong Fong (Ng Wing Hung), Fong Ting (Loletta Lee Lai Zhen), and Fong Man (Carol Yeung Ling). Ding Hai's four sons are Ding Hao Hai (David Siu) now a triad leader, Ding Yik Hai (Michael To Dai Yu) a shady business man, Ding Wong Hai (Ng Kai Ming), a lawyer and Ding Lei Hai (Kwok Jing Hung), a doctor. Yet the old rivalries between the two families still exist and the Fong family hates all the Dings. The second son, Ding Yik Hai, is also a total creep who tries to woo Fong Ting unsuccessfully and then tries to rape her. Luckily, Ding Hao saves her and she eventually falls in love with him despite the disapproval of her family.

 

On the other side, Fong Jin Bok has gone from lazy bum to inspired youth when an old crazed friend of his dad's starts to teach him how to buy stocks. Bok also develops feelings for Yuen Mui (Vivian Chow), an extremely stingy apartment floor neighbor. He also meets Lung Gei Man (Amy Kwok), a Taiwanese girl who falls in love with Bok too.

 

The action starts to pick up when Ding Hai is released from jail and returns to Hong Kong, even though he's still a convicted felon for the murder of Fong Jun Sun. Fong Ting breaks up with Ding Hao when Ding Hai returns even though Ding Hao begs her to leave for Canada with him. He becomes completely ruthless and cold-hearted after her rejection. When Ding Hai is finally arrested and awaiting trial, the Ding brothers use many dirty means to harass and threaten the Fong family since they are the primary witnesses for the trial. It is soon revealed that Ding Yik Hai has threatened and sexually abused Fong Man, the youngest daughter, many times in the past. She breaks down emotionally a few times and the last straw was when the Dings had flyers posted of her everywhere in their apartment building. She commits suicide by jumping off the 12th floor.

 

Ding Hai loses the case and is sentenced to jail for life. His 4 sons immediately plan revenge and send their hooligans to throw the Fong family off the roof of a building. Fong Ting and Fong Fong are killed while Fong Jin Bok luckily caught onto a fire escape while falling. Ah Ling becomes hysterical after this and runs a bus into a car with the 4 Ding sons but they lived through it. She's then charged with attempted murder and sent to an mental asylum for 14 months. The Ding brothers issue a death-warrant in the triad world to kill Fong Jin Bok, who disappeared from Hong Kong. They also come up with a plan to legally get Ding Hai released from prison and succeed. So after all the tragedy, Ding Hai is back out and luckier than ever.

 

The latter part of the series is about how Fong Jin Bok finally figures out a way to defeat the Dings in the stock markets.

Review:
This was one of TVB's best modern dramas in the 90s, and I don't believe any better came after it, with a solid crew of actors, well-defined characters, and a developed story. The performances given by the veteran actors, main and supporting, were all A+. Damien Lau played the impatient, intelligent, and noble Fong Jun Sun at the beginning easily. It is when he had to portray the mentally disabled part where the full range of his acting abilities are clearly seen. Having to re-learn how to tie shoelaces, use chopsticks, remembering the way home, and even just walk and talk were all challenges for Fong after he came out of the coma. Damien Lau played this second part of his role quite well and was very believable, giving a respectable portrayal.

 

However, I think it is Adam Cheng's role here that really stood out. Adam Cheng has really absorbed this role that it became hard to associate Ding Hai any longer as the real Adam during "Greed". Adam usually plays a dai-hup type hero in series, so it was a definite statement of talent and another breakthrough for him to play a character like Ding Hai but yet make him so real to us. Aside from "Greed", I think the only other villainous role he played was as Yip Goo Shing in the 1976 version of "Lok Siu Fung" where he apparently also received good reviews from many viewers.

 

In analyzing the character, Ding Hai is so frusteratingly stupid that the scenes with him are not frightening, but comical. It is most ironic and funny that Ding keeps speaking of righteousness, honor, and loyalty, yet in the other peoples' eyes, he is the very devil. As the anti-hero of the story, one could not label Ding Hai as a villain. If anything, I think his 4 sons are the true villains. If a word had to be used to describe Ding Hai, it has to be oblivious. This man was oblivious to everyone else's motivations and feelings--and it was not even because Ding was a bad man at heart. Ding Hai just doesn't get it. It was as if he lived in his own world where he could only see one side of a story while the rest of the world saw a different version. Ding Hai truly believed he acted with honor to all the people he valued--his mother, Fong Jun Sun, and Ah Ling. He never once even realized that his version of love was hurting and destroying them. For instance, with Ah Ling, he really thought that she reciprocated the same feelings back and never even suspected that she was terrified of him and despised him.

 

Ding Hai is definitely not an evil man because he does have compassion. The best example is in the court murder trial against himself, where he dumbly (and hilariously) believed he could self-defend himself and refused to let top lawyers handle the case. His lawyers made up a list of long questions for him to ask about the sexual abuse on Fong Man yet Ding Hai was disgusted and refused to ask further after a couple of questions.

 

Because Ding Hai is a judo champion, every time he fought, or someone was trying to beat him up, it was like a mere tap on his body. Ding would just stand there and let others hit him while he mused over something and tried to rationalize in his own logic. Then when he'd finally get angry and strike back, it'd only take 2-3 punches and the other person is down. Given this, Ding Hai didn't know his own strength was so fatal since he probably reasons: if I can take so much abuse on my own body then other people must be able to take as much abuse.

 

If one looked at things from his point of view, using his justifications, this man really is hard to fault from his logic even though they are clearly misplaced. Exemplary scene:

Fong Jun Sun: "Fine, I want to hear today once and for all how I wronged you."

Ding Hai: "I didn't want to say it at first but alright. On New Year's day, I woke my four sons up and early, dressed in their best, to greet you a happy new year. Yet you weren't home and we waited outside of your door for 4 hours!"

Fong: "You didn't say you were coming. How would I know you would visit me that morning?!"

Ding: "It's New Year's! You're my best friend! How could you not be the first person I visit on New Years! And then to see my mother give me a box of candies like I was a begging dog. It was the same box of candies that I gave you last year for New Year's and to see it crawling with worms tore my heart. Did you know that my sons begged me to buy those candies for them but I was stone hearted and gave it your children to eat. Yet you think it's cheap candies and wouldn't even let your children eat it!"

Fong (exasperated): "I finally understand why you think I wronged you."

 

Lau Ching Wan also put up a fine performance in his role as Fong Jin Bok. He fitted perfectly as the lazy bum at the beginning and as the wacko who is always trying to convince Vivian Chow's Yuen Mui to lend him her money. It is funny how Vivian and Amy Kwok are always yelling and beating him up in the series.

 

Vivian Chow was sweet and cute in "Greed" as the next-door neighbor whose whole family had died from a genetic heart disease. She also suffers from the same disease so she is so very frugal, afraid that she'd have no money when her heart does fail. Vivian Chow can obviously cry well too, in scenes where she breaks down in frusteration and sorrow, it was pretty geniune. Amy Kwok in her first role after winning Miss Hong Kong in 1991 was also not bad, although she had too many screeching, screaming, and hysterical crying scenes that one has to pity Amy for having to burst out so much. Ironically, Vivian and Lau Ching Wan pair up in the series but in real life, he marries Amy Kwok.

 

Of all the ladies, Yammie Lam Kit Ying put up the best show. She was convincing as the innocent, frightened high school student, then determined young woman, then stern mother figure, and finally as the mentally unstable person. Many of the scenes with her are the most tear-jerking, especially her ending scene where Ah Ling is shot and crawls on the floor looking for the ring, the same scenes are shown when Fong Jun Sun was beaten by Ding Hai and crawls to look for the same ring. As the love interest of two veteran actors--Adam Cheng and Lau Chung Yun--Yammie did not lose any ground, displaying her own quiet versatility.

 

Ding Hai's four sons all put up decent dislikable performances too. Michael Tao especially, in his days before leading roles, played the creep Ding Yik Hai so well, being nasty and foul-mouthed. Ng Kai Ming, who happens to be Lawrence Ng Kai Wah's brother, and Kwok Jing Hong had shorter roles, but both were convincing. The 4 brothers were closely-knit, a sort of one-for-all and all-for-one bonding. They had a fierce loyalty and love towards each other and their father that would be admirable if they weren't such scums.

 

The love triangle between Loletta Lee's Fong Ting, David Siu's Ding Hao Hai, and Bowie Lam's Chan Tao Tao was the secondary romantic plot that was captivating for viewers. There were many smooching scenes between Loletta and David and their relationship poses a romantic what-if-bad-guy-turns-to-good-guy because of love. Ding Hao was willing to leave everything behind for Fong Ting but she could not leave her family or forget how her father died under his father's hands. The only thing that left something to wonder is that "Greed" didn't really treat their relationship in much depth after their breakup. Did Fong Ting still love Ding Hao Hai? She seemed really determined to break up with him and wasn't even moved by his proposal to leave everything behind together. It is pretty certain that Ding Hao still loved her though he allowed his subordinates to throw her off a building--he did shed tears that day. After that incidence Ding Hao's character was a complete jerk. Cocky and a complete bully, he was really dispicable and one does think Fong Ting was right to leave him. Loletta and David's acting are average, too overshadowed by other actors here.

 

Bowie Lam's Chan Tao Tao, with a one-sided affection for Fong Ting was under-developed. He even wanted to avenge her by going against the Dings at the stock market but it was sort of hard to realize that the depth of his feelings for her ran that deep. Bowie's early potential is seen in the scene where Chan Tao Tao is bankrupt and continues to tell bitter jokes.

 

My favorites parts of the series were some of the stock games that tied in from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story. For instance, they related Chan Man Yin to Cao Cao who used the tactic of chained ships in battle and compared the attack that Chan Tao Tao used against the Dings to how Zhuge Liang "borrowed" arrows from Cao Cao under orders from Zhou Yu to make 100,000 arrows in 3 days. Creative indeed, though the way they played stocks is unrealistic in most senses.

 

The interpretable ending is also one of the talks of the day back when the series came out. Did or did not Vivian Chow's Yuen Mui die at the ending scene? My take on this is that yes, she certainly did. Since it's a tv series, there are always symbolic meanings and foreshadowings in dialogues, images, and music--unless it's a tv series that TVB makes nowadays where they make it so obvious. First clue is when Yuen Mui says to Fong Jin Bok about how her whole family had died peacefully in their sleep near the ending. Second clue is the flying away of the red scarf at the end. The scarf is symbolic because Yuen Mui says this was the scarf she so wanted to wear as a young girl when she's out on a date with her lover but it flies off in the wind. Third clue, the ending theme song was the couple's love theme with flashbacks of only their memories together. "Greed" is not a series just about their relationship--it's not even a major theme of the series, so the only relevance for a director to do that is to hint at an ending for them.

 

Great epic modern dramas and martial arts series need balanced polarities between the hero and the villain--speaking in the broad sense. I believe that any great series can not only have a developed protagonist, it must have an equally defined anti-hero. The actors of old also seemed to have more integrity, playing out their roles with a sense of seriousness, wholesomeness that is lacking in most leading actors and actresses these days. Pity that TVB script writers also tend to go for light comedies these days, forgetting to give the series heart. What I think script writers don't understand is that although entertainment can be about making people have some laughs to relax, a good film that will evoke other kinds of emotions from the viewer is also as entertaining. "Greed" is the type of series that is well-rounded enough to be called a classic.

 

"Greed" does have flaws though. The part of the story where the triads under the Ding brothers are so outrageous and that no one--not even the police--did much to stop them were a bit unbelievable. Also, how Ding Hai got released from lifetime imprisonment is stretching it. And, what if the Dings never entered the stock markets, how would Fong Jin Bok plan his revenge then? Betting that they would be greedy enough to eventually want to play stocks could turn out be a wasted waiting game. However, the overall story-telling is creditable so that these scattered flaws are forgivable.

 

Some comments about the VCDs sets. Like almost all other TVB released VCDs, the series has been cut down, from 40 episodes to 26 discs. The most obvious cut is the latter part of the series, where the ending flashbacks are gone. While the transition of the story still seemed to flow, the series seemed to lack enough scenes towards the ending about what happened to Ding Hai after Ah Ling's death. The themesong sequence at disc 1 is also changed and Adam Cheng's subsong has been made the themesong. TVB most likely changed the themesong sequence so that viewers would not notice any missing scenes. If you watch the related media clip here, there are some scenes that are not in the VCDs, such as the part where Lung Kei Man kisses Fong Jin Bok on the cheeks. The old themesong was good, but it's probably another issue with TVB deals, since Adam Cheng is one of the main characters, it might've been part of the deal to have his song be the themesong.

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发表于 2009-8-23 21:12:34 |显示全部楼层

I think Damian did a super good job in this drama! His character was super unlucky(i would say). I did not watch the entire show as I'm only interested in Damian's performance. But,its really thumbs up for Damian's performance. Esp,the part where he has to learn everything agn~(super touching)

ps:i think he would be super tired after very scene=X

[ Last edited by jack_ at 2009-8-23 21:13 ]
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发表于 2010-2-1 12:17:53 |显示全部楼层

I got the following from http://www.bluecrys.com/rev_man.html on Greed of Man. It is a little different from the review above, so thought of sharing it.

Story & Thoughts

"The Greed of Man" is a very powerful tale about how one man's covetousness can ruin other people's lives, and another man's continuous struggle in life. This is one of the best modern series made by TVB that no summary like mine can justify. Adam and Damian were childhood best friends, but they were like day and night.

While Damian was an intelligent gentleman, Adam was.. well.. really unreasonable and STUPID. Ironically, they were both single fathers with 4 children. Damian's wife died in an accident and he had loved her a lot. The conflict between the two was due to the charmingly innocent lady they both fell in love with, Yammie. She was very young at the time and she grew to like Damian, but Adam would not leave her alone. This led to the fight of Adam and Damian, which resulted in Damian somehow becoming retarded. Yammie ended up taking care of Damian and his 4 children. Things were rough, but they were all happy and his children loved Yammie a lot.

Then Adam beat Damian up too much one day so Damian died. Pure accident, Adam claimed, but murder was murder nonetheless - and this would have important ramifications later on. Yammie got stuck with Damian's children. Many years later, they (Sean, Ng Wing Hung, Loletta, Carol) all grew up and the family feud carried over to their generation. If my memory serves correctly, Adam hid somewhere in Taiwan and ended up not going to jail for killing Damian. Adam's children were somewhat successful as the eldest son, David, was involved in the triads (if you can consider that success) and the third son Ng Kai Ming was a doctor. As for the second son Michael, he was an absolute scumbag. He tried to hit on Loletta but luckily(?!), David fell in love with her. The story between David and Loletta was one of my favorite parts. They had the longest and most provocative (some say "romantic") smooching scenes, but no, that's not the reason why I liked the part. I was foolishly thinking that this relationship actually had potential. Dead wrong! Yammie of course beat the living crap out of Loletta for liking the son of their "enemy," but for awhile, David and Loletta were very loving. Loletta was also pursued by her co-worker, Bowie (then very fresh-looking), who got his share of beating from David as well.

Sean, the oldest child of Damian, was loved by 2 women. One was his neighbor Vivian who was very stingy. She was saving up because she had a genetic heart disease and she was worried that she'd leave her grandma first. Sadly, her grandma passed away before her. The other person who loved Sean was Amy who had her roots in Taiwan. She was the daughter of Kenneth. She seemed pretty desperate to get Sean in the series (funny that she's the one who married him in real life), but Sean chose Vivian as his true love. There were not very many scenes with Sean and Vivian so this part of the series was rather precious.

Skipping all the details, the feud grew worse and Loletta decided that she could not abandon her family. David pleaded (really!) that they go to Canada and leave everything behind, but Loletta said no and they broke up. David grew EXTREMELY bitter as you will see. At this time, Michael was also hitting on Sean's youngest sister, poor little Carol who was just a high school student. Carol contracted STD's from Michael-- Carol's family was very mad, and to add to their misery, Adam came back to Hong Kong from Taiwan. Yammie and her "children" (since she practically raised them) wanted to bring Adam to justice. Sometime during the trial, Adam's sons managed to provoke Carol which made her commit suicide. DO NOT MISS THIS PART.

Talk about the absolute court drama. Adam lost his trial because he was being stupid again and appointed himself as a lawyer instead of hiring a professional, so he got sentenced to serve in prison. David and his younger bros raided Sean's house and dragged Sean, Ng Wing Hung, and Loletta out to the top of the building and threw them off, one by one. Sean grabbed onto something and fortunately survived, but Ng and Loletta went bye-bye. Did David feel remorse? Nope. Yammie was not there but she realized what happened and she tried to run over David and his bros with her bus, but the scums did not die. Adam did not serve in prison. Instead, he became the head honcho of the businesses that David established and they all became filthy rich, while Sean was struggling to get back on his feet. Towards the end, Adam was being crazy over Yammie (actually, it was more of Yammie going crazy trying to kill Adam) and somehow managed to cause her death, by ACCIDENT.

I really envied his talent of how he could accidentally make people die. The last 1/4 of the series concentrated on how Sean got his revenge. Because he had a natural instinct to play with money well (taken after Damian who worked in the stocks company), he was able to bring Adam and his sons' businesses down and make them go bankrupt. He got a lot of help from Amy's dad, Kenneth, but he inadvertently caused Kenneth's death. So Amy left. Adam could not handle the idea of being in eternal debt, so he made his sons jump off the building. Sean was watching in his office as Adam's sons fell off one by one, just like they had done to his sisters. Adam was going to follow, but his foot *miraculously* got caught in a rope and he didn't die. He ended up in an asylum and Sean paid a visit to him, not exactly glad that Adam didn't die but not exactly unhappy about it either. After all, the man deserved to suffer in the asylum, no?

The classic ending scene for this series was where Sean and Vivian, at last together free of trouble, were on a date. Vivian was in Sean's arms as she slowly fell asleep and her handkerchief flew out of her hand. Whether she died due to her heart disease or not is up to your interpretation, as the producer (Wai Ka Fai) loves hanging endings. Just look at all of his other series such as Looking Back in Anger, Racing Peak, and Heaven's Retribution. Things might have been different if Loletta didn't reject David. The man was willing to throw away everything (even his beloved dad) to start anew with her, so he was quite worth it. The key item here was the Bible, as little Loletta gave little David the Bible that he kept all along. He told her he would give up everything and just take the Bible with him to Canada. But after they broke up, he threw the Bible away and changed to a completely heartless person. I was desperately hoping he would not kill her, but this series defied everything I wished for! Grr! I don't consider Adam Cheng as the villain of the series. He may have been frustratingly stupid, ignorant, stubborn, and clueless, but that very nature he had keeps him from being labeled as a villain. In fact, he was not nearly as mean as his sons David Siu and Michael To. Adam did truly love Yammie; the only problem was that he didn't get the clue when she said 'no' to him.

Do I pity him? Probably not. His dumb personality cannot justify his actions. Smiling sweetly is indeed Vivian's virtue - at first, she was introduced as a stingy woman but soon enough, it was revealed that she was really a sweet neighborhood gal who was a tad bit gullible too. The scene where my heart felt as if it was pinched was when she thought Sean liked her. He was excited about something and he hugged her once, and that gave her a wrong idea. So she spent some money (which is like a SIN for her) cooking him some nice food, only to find out that he didn't like her just yet. This was not that dramatic but I became very sentimental to see Vivian's sad face. Every cast, whether major or minor, equally shares the credit of contributing to the superior quality of this series, but my award must go to Yammie (not what's-***-name as I don't like that person so much) for portraying such a strong, sacrificing character without losing her position between veteran actors and young, rising actors. Here was the woman who gave up her youth and freedom to take after the children that she had no relation to. Something I personally would never do. Plus, she was never married to Damian! That made me admire her even more. I cried tons when she died, enough to save drying crops. Wuuuhhh! =*(

[ Last edited by VictorPenny at 2010-2-1 12:21 ]
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