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Musings from the Edge of Forever

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with RONIN ON EMPTY.

Laugh Riot, Part 2: Laughing Gor Boogaloo

 .EU 001

I did it! I completed all thirty episodes that comprise the TVB drama known as E.U. Is this a real “accomplishment” worthy of praise or a complete waste of time meriting nothing but scorn and pity? You decide.

I’m working on a review for the website, so for now, I’ll just shoot from the hip in terms of my general observations on the show.

At least at the beginning of the series, the limitations of television — both in terms of the show’s production values and perceived audience expectations — impact E.U. in ways that you’d NEVER see in a major Hong Kong film or American television show. These constraints make for some very “un-cinematic” heroes and villains. If you look at American television shows like Law and Order, CSI, 24, or NCIS, the characters retain a slightly larger-then-life feel. Not so in E.U. That obvious difference is something I’m really interested in talking about in a full review — as cool as Laughing Gor (Michael Tse) may be, he and his brethren aren’t Johnnie To/John Woo/Young and Dangerous-style gangsters. Further, the cops ain’t exactly Hard Boiled’s Tequilla Yuen or Infernal Affairs‘ Chan Wing-Yan either. The strangely  “ordinary” feel of all these characters is something I’m interested in analyzing.

  EU 002

I have no idea why the show is called E.U. — unless it’s merely a promotional tool for that particular branch of the Hong Kong police force. Sure, ONE of the main characters works in E.U. when the show begins, but he is promoted to OCTB about halfway through the series. The co-protagonist has no official connection to E.U. and works for the vice squad, before getting an undercover gig. The other characters of substantial interest are triads themselves. By story’s end, the only people in E.U. are the supporting characters, who aside from the annoying Yuck Bo, aren’t really material to the overarching narrative.

If this show is meant (as it seems to be — there are PSAs at the end of each episode) as a recruiting tool for the Hong Kong police force,, I’m not sure why they decided to have almost all the cops be self-righteous prigs, incompetent jerks, or some combination of the two. A comeuppance of sorts turns out to be in the cards, but the generally “goody goody” outlook of the cops is annoying in its earnestness.

In the romance department, the “blogging” stuff between the characters played by Elanne Kong and Ron Ng is sappy yet somehow still fun to watch despite being so incredibly stupid. I liked their characters, but their subplot could’ve used a lot of work.

As I watched the show, I wondered how we’re meant to read Michael Miu’s slick, Janus-faced performance. The motivation behind his quick turns from wannabe family man to lovestruck dope to cold-blooded, calculating sociopath seemed wholly dependent on what his actual endgame was.  I’m sad to say that he really didn’t have one — or it was a confused one, at the very least. Whatever the case, Michael Miu had that Andy Lau-style smarminess down pat.

EU 02

 And what is the point of Leung Ka Ki’s character, Yuck Bo? I think she’s supposed to represent “perseverance,” but after fifteen episodes, it’s clear her character has no business being a cop. By story’s end, she, too, gets a comeuppance of sorts, but I found her character lacking.

The stuff with the dog at the end is absolutely ludicrous, and an example of how off the rails this show goes in the last batch of episodes. The story simply could not sustain a thirty-episode run.

As popular as Laughing may be, I was disappointed at how he goes from super-charismatic to kind of sappy and ridiculous by the time he’s killed off.

There’s no way in hell Ron Ng’s character could have worked his way up the ladder (even with the one year montage). In fact, all the undercover agents in this show would have been killed off immediately once their cover was blown. Their ability to maintain their status in the gang stretches the limits of believability.

Okay, those are just some random comments for now. Check back on the main site, sometime in the future for the full low down. Oh, and check back here, too…

  NEXT TIME: ENCORE — Herman Yau’s Laughing Gor prequel, TURNING POINT

One Response to “Laugh Riot, Part 2: Laughing Gor Boogaloo”

  1. QQ Says:

    TVB has many limitations (financial and censorship) so it was a fun series for what it was. So speaking relatively, Laughing Gor was quite badass - can’t wait for your review!

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