Friday, June 3, 2011

"Gun Metal Grey" Review

Many people (including me) were fooled into believing TVB was waiting until the second half of 2010 to air the series actually worth watching.  We were proved wrong, as every appealing series either disappointed or was pushed back and thus ended up not airing in 2010 at all like "When Heaven Burns".  "Gun Metal Grey" on the other hand, shines like a diamond instead of rusty metal like the title suggests against the rest of the flops this year.

Cast and Characters
Nowadays, I'm not only looking out for individual cast performances, but outstanding performances as an ensemble as well.  A factor of the series is ruined for me if the cast does not work together as a whole.  Chemistry is a must, and amongst everyone, not just on-screen pairings.  If it's forced, it doesn't work.  Fortunately, the cast of "Gun Metal Grey" has no problem creating chemistry and a comfortable and fun atmosphere.  Everyone just clicked.

Although the drama's goal was to illustrate the shades of grey of humanity by showing a police officer who was neither good or bad, the result was another portrayal of a good but misunderstood person being provoked into turning evil.  Nevertheless, it was another interesting take on the familiar TVB concept and Felix Wong gave a fantastic performance as "Stone Sir".  He was kind and warm in the beginning, yet chilling and haunting when the bad in Stone emerged.  The character "Stone Sir" was an intriguing take on a cop loosing faith in the law and taking justice into their own hands using extreme means.  Felix made the transformation seem realistic and not at all forced.  When it comes to picking a comeback series/role, Felix managed to do a much better job than other veteran actors like Gallen Lo, Flora Chan, and Kenix Kwok. 

It's been so long since I've seen Michael Miu portray a role with so much charisma!  Although Michael is one of my favorite veteran actors, I haven't thoroughly enjoyed watching him in a drama since he played "Li Sir" in "The Academy".  "Mad Sir" is funny, clever, and Miu's best character in years.  He has not seemed this fitting or comfortable in a drama for a long time.  I loved watching Mad's sweet, cute, and unconventional ways of courting Kim (Jessica Hsuan).  

While I don't find Jessica Hsuan an exceptional actress, I like how her acting is so natural.  "Kim Hui" was a very likable and endearing character as the reporter who initially had a crush on Stone but eventually fell for Mad.  I have trouble thinking of another couple with such effortless and natural chemistry like Jessica and Michael.  They are a joy to watch together.  Their scenes are not only sweet, but hilariously adorable as well.  Besides for Michael, she also worked very well with her on-screen mother, played by Mimi Chu.

Vincent Wong has shown that he is a decent actor with a good amount of potential, but has received several bad and simply unlikable characters to play.  For the first time since his acting career has started, he gets to shine as "Carson Ko".  Carson is sweet, caring, loyal, and the perfect boyfriend.  I loved watching how persistent and sincere he was in courting "Ah Sze" (played by Nancy Wu). This was Vincent's long awaited breakthrough, and it is clear he put a lot of effort and heart into his performance.  His acting has also seemed to visibly improved since his first role, the annoying "Mark" in "War of In-Laws II".  Had TVB not completely neglected this series, I believe Vincent would've been promoted more and groomed into becoming a first supporting actor or second male lead.

"Ah Sze" was slightly irritating initially, but matured and became much more likable as the series went on.  Ah Sze was tough, clever, and known for going to the gym to punch her punching bags whenever she felt stressed, sad, or mad.  Her admiration for Mad was cute and different (since it was never actually a crush).  It was sweet watching the hard headed Ah Sze initially push Carson away, yet gradually becoming touched at his care for her and slowly returning his feelings.  Nancy Wu seemed very fitting for the role, and her top 5 nomination for "Best Supporting Actress" was deserved.

Grace Wong and Oscar Leung were both great additions to Mad's "A Team".  Grace was adorable with all her different hats and her crush on Carson.  Oscar was also funny, especially with how he was constantly sleepy and yawning all the time.  Mimi Chu was hilarious as Jessica's mother.  Patrick Tang wins my "Most Surprising Performance" with his creepy and haunting portrayal of the doctor suffering from dissociative identity disorder.  He has shown lots of improvement as an actor, but unfortunately continues to be disliked for simply not being handsome.

Thoughts on the Ending *SPOILERS*

Sometimes, killing off a character is necessary for the development of the other characters and the outcome of the plot resolution itself.  Although it makes us even more sad, the script writers usually choose the most beloved character for this purpose.  It results in a heavier and more heartfelt impact on the viewers.  In this case, the beloved character was Carson.  While I understood how Carson's death was necessary for Stone to reach the apex of what he had become (a murderer), I was annoyed that the audience was never able to see him properly buried and mourned by Mad, Ah Sze, and the rest of the A Team.  Given how important he was to them, it's not possible that he was never given a proper funeral.

Stone cuffing himself to Mad to symbolize that he realized all his wrongdoings and admitting defeat was very meaningful and creative.  Him realizing who had become felt too sudden.  It had become too late for his character to just "surrender".  Nevertheless, I applaud the script writers for the symbolism.  The scene felt powerful and successfully brought the series an end to its gripping climax.


TVB greatly neglected this anniversary series and opted to mass promote "No Regrets" and "Can't Buy Me Love" instead.  The biased company never gave it the recognition it deserved.  Thankfully, the fans discovered this gem themselves, making "Gun Metal Grey" one of the most talked about series online.  This is another thing that makes "Grey" exceptional.  Despite the major lack of promotion, it managed to become a success on its on.
"Gun Metal Grey" doesn't have an amazing script or incredibly original storyline.  The cases were watchable and interesting enough, but it is the cast that makes it the most memorable series of the year.  I enjoyed watching each cast member alone and even more so together.  They were what turned this average series into one of the best of 2010.  "Mad and Kim" and "Carson and Ah Sze" were also my favorite on-screen couples of the year while Mad and Carson were my favorite characters of the year.  I hope this talented and bright bunch get to collaborate again someday.  Overall, the cast, characters, chemistry, humor, sweet relationships, and action make it my favorite drama of 2010.

Rating: 4 stars