Let me just start off by saying that I love the ending. I don’t say this often since TVB is known to breeze through the endings but they really took the time to build up the emotions and to craft out the suspense for this one. By the end of the finale, you feel like you’ve lived a lifetime alongside these characters because it is pretty emotionally draining to watch — in a good way, of course.
I highly recommend this one for the fact that it’s very well executed. I think one of the best things about it is the amount of casting that was involved — the neighbours, the pedestrians, the cops, the Japanese soldiers, the gang members, patients in the hospitals, nurses, the homeless, drug addicts… the list goes on. The best part is that the show isn’t only focused on Sheren and Wayne — who are both phenomenal, by the way — but also on the people around them and how different events effected their lives. As you see Sheren and Wayne’s relationship progress, you also see how a lot of the minor characters grow. I love the fact that in contrast to most movies about WWII, this show is focused on how the normal every-day people living in the city see the war, as oppose to soldiers on the field. They really took the time to cultivate society’s mentality during that time period — the thought that “No of course the Japanese aren’t going to attack Guangzhou,” and how no one took the bomb-shelter drills seriously until reality finally hits.
Another thing I really enjoyed is the make-up because in the very first episode alone, where they showed Sheren as an old lady, it’s not just her clothes and her white hair that make her look old; it’s the texture of her skin. The deep set wrinkles, the age spots, the sagging muscles of her face… and did I mention her hands? Just wow…
Anyways, that’s all I’m gonna say about this since I really want the series to speak for itself for those of you who are interested in TVB series but have not seen this one yet. Just to warn you though, the show is pretty different from the trailer TVB aired during its Sales Presentation last year. There’s a few scenes that I was looking forward to that never came up — http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/ywyCRY5lOAs/
- The scene where Sheren, looking dishevelled , is on her knees and looking up pleadingly at Wayne who has her at gunpoint. In moment of internal debate, Wayne then turns around and shoots the Japanese General.
- Wayne drops the engagement ring at the sight of Sheren gleeful murdering of the board of directors who disagree with her methods.
Despite the changes in plot and casting, this one is still definitely worth watching — full of memorable and powerful scenes, bittersweet ending, and a fantastic sequel to Rosy Business.
Is this one better than the first? I think it is. The intensity level of both series are very different — Rosy Business is more explosive and reckless, while No Regrets simmers and brews up to a boiling point. I suppose the plot is somewhat predictable in some aspects but it’s how the characters react to the different scenarios in No Regrets that keeps you on your toes.
As for actors to look out for:
- Pierre Ngo: You hated him as the eldest son in Rosy Business, but you will love him in No Regrets. I love his character’s growth as the show progresses. He is such a fantastic actor; I really hope he gets TVB’s Breakout Artist Award this year because he is so underrated. His character in NR is the complete opposite of the one he played in RB and yet he portrays it with such ease and dignity that you can’t help but root for him.
- Evergreen Mak: I think the only series where I’ve seen him play a villain prior to No Regrets is in Armed Reaction 3, which was back in 2001. At the time, his performance was passable but this time around he really went all out. His character is so obnoxious and irritating; he’s like a parasite or a cockroach that just won’t die! I understand that the the protagonists are supposedly too good or above killing him, but really… it wouldn’t hurt to cripple the guy or something. He switches sides faster than you can blink and committed treason so many times that I’ve lost count. I’m a bit baffled though by how loyal his wife is and how obedient his subordinates are despite how self-centered, egotistical, cruel and cowardly he is.
- Elliot Yue: Haha, such a boss. =D
- Fala Chen and Raymond Wong: Also underrated… terribly underrated. I don’t understand why their status isn’t higher in terms of TVB actors; they are so professional at their craft. Their storyline is so bittersweet and heartbreaking. I love how the plot moves forward during the war through Fala’s journal entries.
- Kara Hui: It’s ridiculous how convincing she is as an old lady. She’s the only one in the entire cast to get the posture down pat. I love how her character’s always complaining about how poor her tenants are when everyone knows how much she loves them.
- And of course, Sheren Tang and Wayne Lai: If they weren’t considered as A-list actors then, well they most definitely are now. Although the dynamic of their relationship is not quite what I hoped for, it makes sense that it would end this way in context of the story.
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