*Warning: Contains Spoilers*
- Watching the slow, boring, draggy finale episode of ‘Friendly Fire’ almost put me off from writing up this blog entry. That’s right…! It was that boring. But then I had second thoughts and figured that since I did give this series a go, I might as well drop down a few of my thoughts on the drama and see what you guys thought of it.
- Friendly Fire is an enjoyable TVB series, with a decent size cast. What I felt lacking was the chemistry between the characters. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters so I couldn’t get myself involved in the series. I was watching the characters and couples, but not feeling for them.
- The drama uses a few typical TVB formulas in it but tries to stand out via some “bold suggestive scenes”: Tavia Yeung and Michael Tse’s ‘intense bed scene’, Derek Kwok and Alice Chan’s “passionate kissing scenes”, Alice Chan and Grace Wong’s sexy outfits, Samantha Ko’s rape scene, Christine Kuo seducing Michael Tse in the car, Sammy Leung naked bath scene, Sharon Chan revealing wet-bra scene and some others which have also made some headlines around the internet. I think TVB is trying hard to increase their viewership (especially since rape scenes seem to be so common in TVB these days) although I read an article that it didn’t quite help increase the ratings for Friendly Fire.
- Michael Tse’s character was like watching Laughing-Sir become a lawyer. His character is prettttttty much the same: he looks the same, and even wears the same grey suit (not sure if this part is true but you get what I mean!) Nothing particularly stood out with his role or portrayal of JJ. His collaboration with Tavia Yeung reminded me of them in Cupid Stupid- it didn’t feel fresh.
- Tavia Yeung’s plays a lawyer again after her role in The Other Truth, but her role reminds me more of The Hippocratic Crush, where she has apprentices and also has health issues (possibility of cancer/need of an operation/reason for her not telling her partner).
- Michael and Tavia play a pair of cohabiting lovers. The first few episodes show what a sweet loving perfect couple they are. However, when Michael proposes to Tavia in public, she rejects him because of her potential breast cancer which he does not know of, and the two eventually separate due to misunderstandings although they still love each other. Throughout the series, the characters (Tavia’s dad and Louis Yuen) try to push them back together where Tavia’s dad pretends his health conditions have worsen, making Tavia pretend she is still with Michael so they two can continue acting as a couple. Tavia’s dad and Louis are actually quite childish- There was another scene where they made Tavia have another very strong alcohol and have Michael accompany her. She becomes dizzy and it eventually rains hard so the two are soaking wet. Michael eventually takes her to some apartment to rest for the night. He starts taking off her wet clothes. I thought it was a bit funny/weird/awkward when Tavia asked him “What are you doing?” Michael replied “Your clothes are wet, thought I’d help you take them off”. Tavia: “Thanks- your clothes are wet too, let me help you too”. Surely they would be in such an awkward position! The two eventually could not resist and the ex-lovers start kissing again. The two are suddenly interrupted by police which start knocking on their door for ID check- I thought that was pretty funny comic relief lol Tavia was so embarrassed and hiding under the blanket XD (not like hiding will stop them from knowing who she as haha) I actually liked this scene because it showed more of the character’s internal struggle and at the same time was pretty light hearted. At the end, after Michael’s father (played by Benz Hui) passes away and Tavia’s father enlightening her to cherish life with loved one no matter how short it may be- the two end up back together in the finale.
- Sammy Leung plays Michael’s adopted younger brother and a cop. This is the first time I’ve seen Sammy in a TVB drama and it’s clear that he acting isn’t the greatest, but he is surely a refreshing face! His character is one of the funnier ones in the drama although I actually prefer when he’s more serious and mature. His character can get pretty annoying to watch. He and Sharon share a lottttttt of scenes together- it’s like TVB trying to throw in everything possible on them- During their first encounter, Sharon was an undercover cop who pretended to be a prostitute and accused him of touching her. They then chase the criminal where Sharon saves Sammy from falling off the building, but ripping off his pants in the process. She then moves into working under him and lives in the next door unit where they constantly passed things across the window to each other. Despite TVB’s attempts, I don’t feel much for this couple and it always seemed as though Sharon didn’t really like Sammy that much. Not in that way anyway. They seemed more like friends and I cringed quite a bit when Sammy was pursuing her because it was so cheezy!! Their relationship dragged on forever in the last episode which made me dread this couple even more; with her getting married to her fiancée (Played by Stephen Huynh), and typical TVB “I’m moving overseas with my fiancee” airport chasing scene.
- Sharon plays a cop, from a rich family background and in a long term 10 year relationship with her fiancée who is only revealed later when Sammy starts pursing her (how convenient!) I feel her character is underdeveloped and a bit shallow/hallow as well. She looks like a rookie cop to me, yet somehow is able to display awesome shooting skills, fighting in dress and heels. She makes being a cop seem so easy…
- Louis Yuen plays Tavia’s best friend, a doctor and is mainly there to bring Tavia and Michael’s character together. At first I thought his character was gay since he acted quite feminine, his taste in style was a bit off, and did very gossipy things like trying to pair Michael and Tavia again; later attempting to pursue Grace to rid her from Michael. His character doesn’t really do anything else (perhaps a little comic relief?)
- Grace Wong’s character appears to be a simple minded person (too naive)- looks good on the outside, but hollow on the inside. I felt that she didn’t have much of a character and didn’t feel for her. We also see quite a few scenes where Tavia becomes quite jealous when Grace appears as the new secretary at their work place who is after Michael. For storyline purposes, she and Louis ends up falling in love *raises eyebrow*. I guess they’re a better match than with her and Michael given that he was never really interested in her. I thought it was funny when she went to “break up” with Michael when they weren’t really even together. She was so worried that she would leave Michael heartbroken XD I guess that was probably one of the cutest side of her lol
- I felt the trainees were quite a waste of space- they hardly did anything for the story other than Samantha Ko getting raped and the trainees all being there for her. There was not much focus on the trainees and they still felt like newbies to me in the end because we don’t see much of them progress and develop. Samantha is also the only trainee who has screen time in court. The felt character development was poorly written. At the start we see Oscar and the other boys not taking their new role seriously, especially Oscar who appeared to be the smarty-pants, thinks he knows it all, but proven wrong after Michael put him through the tests which showed he didn’t know, nor put much effort into studying the cases etc. We never see him successfully perform or shine. There would suddenly be a random scene where Oscar and Samantha are selected because they’re the top two to help out on a case…Really?? =\ I also didn’t like how they started showing flashbacks/photos of “happy times” the trainees shared together, when we didn’t even see their characters develop. It felt rushed and TVB just trying to show they are “best friends” and always there for each other.
- This is actually the first role I’ve actually remembered seeing Samantha in. I must admit she does look quite pretty, looks young and suitable for the role. I felt she turned into one of the main characters after the rape scene with so much more screen time that it made me think it was only TVB’s way of promoting her. Samantha’s character has got to be the strongest/courageous victim of rape I’ve seen in TVB history. At the end, Michael lost the case yet she didn’t give up on the legal system or her beliefs in it. Wow. Any normal girl would have totally collapsed, especially all the hard work she put in to get to where she as. After the rape case ended, she continued to get harassed online but was able to come out to confront him once again in public.
- This is the first time I’ve heard of Alice Chan but based on the number of screen-time she got, felt like she was in heaps of episodes! I think Alice makes quite a good villainess as a seductive business woman. She looks like a mix of Sheren Tang and Astrid Chan! This final case brought all the characters together so it seemed like a nice case to conclude the series. However, somehow I felt the conclusion was quite anti-climatic though! I was expecting something a bit more, especially given there was almost a whole episode left in the finale for something to happen. Instead, the remainder of the episode was just to wrap up the love relationship of the main characters (which unfortunately dragged on forever and bore me to tears)
- Other than watching how Michael and Tavia were going to get back together, the other main focus of the series being the cases, were quite interesting to watch. From memory they were quite enjoyable, and the slight difference in this lawyer series compared to other lawyer series is the point of view being from the Department Of Justice. It is their roles, not only to work side-by-side with the police/cops and to prosecute, they also evaluate the evidence they have at hand, to find out the truth to bring justice, not merely defending for their “client” (e.g Patrick’s case)
- Derek Kwok plays the main “bad” lawyer in the series and Michael’s main rival. I slightly felt sorry for him in the end when he was used by Alice and it was interesting to see Michael defend for Derek in the end in court. Having finished this series about 2 weeks ago, I don’t particularly remember the cases, other than Samantha’s rape case, and the last one involving Alice killing Benz. These two stood out the most based on their screen-time and involvement of the characters.
- All in all, the series was enjoyable, but not a must-watch series. I think it has a lot of flaws in terms of character development and relationships, with quite a few unrealistic plots in there (e.g Alice chasing Benz in her car while he was on a bike; and how he managed to get home after hit by the car). The acting was pretty average too, with nothing exceptional. However, at the rate TVB is going with their quality of TVB dramas, I wouldn’t be surprised if this one turns out to be one of the better ones for 2013 (Hope not!)