Friday, February 20, 2015

"Officer Geomancer" Review

Series aired in TVB's "death slot" over the holidays are not always bad. In fact, they can be pretty darn entertaining, and "Officer Geomancer" is an example of this.

With TVB's recycling of onscreen pairings, you will be hard pressed to find a more refreshing pairing in the last year or so than Johnson Lee and Joey Meng. Although I like both actors, I will admit I did not expect anything much from this pair. However, the two have so much romantic and sweet chemistry, and play off each other extremely well.

Always a charming and funny supporting actor, Johnson thankfully does not lose these qualities as a lead. I had my reservations on how he would fare in holding up a series on his own shoulders, but was pleasantly surprised at the results. He brings over the qualities that make him an enjoyable actor to watch, which is perhaps more impressive here as he plays a more humble and grounded yet still playful character than his usual more flirty and upbeat ones. Would I mind seeing him in more leading roles? As long as the character is likable, definitely not.

After seeing Joey in a weak and timid role in "Come On, Cousin," it is a relief to see her in a strong role again. With her acting capabilities and tall, fit stature, it's no surprise she is able to both look and naturally act the part of a madam, unlike certain female actresses (I won't name names), while also giving her some vulnerability and sweetness.

The two's interactions are filled with tension and chemistry, and some of their moments are so funny yet sweet and cute at the same time. One of my favorite scenes is when Johnson foresees him and Joey getting into a car accident, so he brings along a helmet to wear when riding with her, then seeing the car chase is about come to a screeching halt, proceeds to put the helmet onto her head right before they crash.

As a procedural drama though, "Officer Geomancer" falls somewhere between average and below average. Most of the cases are not overly boring, but also not very engaging, and the incorporation of the geomancy themes often just felt odd. The cases operate better as background to the development of its lead characters and supporting ones.

While Johnson and Joey were the refreshing couple, the stand out of the supporting cast and most refreshing performance is easily Harriet Yeung. Initially very loud and over the top when "Che Gwai Mei" first made her entrance, I was relieved to see Harriet, as well as the character, quickly toned it down to instead become the upbeat, enthusiastic, passionate reporter, and loyal friend. She was natural, funny, and very fun to watch.

Although Oscar Leung does best at street smart, loud-mouthed roles, "Leung Sing Kau," who is always referred to as "Blabbermouth," really exhausts Oscar's specialty, to the point he becomes annoying. Blabbermouth is one of those people who you can only deal with in small doses. However, his friendship and scenes with Harriet could be quite entertaining and sweet, which would make him a lot easier to watch.

The supporting characters that are incredibly puzzling are Tit Leung Chi and Roy, played by Rebecca Zhu and William Chak. It was a nice change to see Rebecca in a tomboyish role, which resulted in some cute and amusing scenes.  However, the characters are written so sloppily and the storyline so rushed that viewers fail to pinpoint any instance where Leung Chi started to develop feelings for Blabbermouth and later Roy. Roy was incredibly underdeveloped with many inconsistencies, particularly how he dresses and acts with dorky and shy mannerisms, which completely disappear whenever he is at the boxing club. Viewers simply could never tell where Leung Chi's feelings came from, which made the love square come off as strange. William is a decent and very affable actor who is also easy on the eyes, so I hated seeing him wasted here and hope to see him in heavier roles with more screen time soon.

While most of the cases are neither hit or misses, the "plot twist" storyline with Yung Jai was just bizarre and completely unrealistic and where the series crashes and burns, and the series gets some serious points docked for this. I saw this twist coming by the last few episodes, but was wishing I had been wrong all the way until its end.

"Officer Geomancer" has little to offer as a procedural drama, but then again, so do most procedurals from TVB these days. What makes it a swift and entertaining watch is the great chemistry between Johnson and Joey, which sees them in scenes that range from funny to cute to playful to sweet to full of angst. Start this because you're bored and looking for a way to kill the time, and finish it because the chemistry between these two are undeniable.

Rating: 3 stars

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