Monday, June 8, 2015

"Eye in the Sky" Review

The time seems to have passed for me to write a review on this series (I was already pretty late in starting and finishing it), but it's summer and I've got a lot of free time and no other TVB series from this year that I've watched.

"Eye in the Sky" becomes yet another series that generated moderate Best Actor buzz for lead Ruco Chan but is ultimately too weak of a series on its own to do Ruco any real chance (see 2013's "Brother's Keeper" and 2014's "Ruse of Engagement"). The series picks up quickly, and the first ten or so episodes are intriguing and appropriately paced. Unfortunately (but unsurprisingly), "Eye" could not have lost momentum any faster than it did once Kevin's character found out Ruco is his long-lost twin. The plot fizzles, then crashes and burns as we go around in twists and turns I can no longer remember since I was on the fence about writing this review for so long for the remaining two thirds of the series.

Kevin Cheng does both outgoing, laid back and cocky type characters ("Ghetto Justice") and the quiet, cool, introverted ones well, but when acting alongside Ruco, it quickly becomes apparent that Ruco is the more versatile and natural actor. Although I got a kick out of the scene in the first episode where "Szeto Shun" saves Tavia Yeung's character, catches a criminal, then calmly proceeds to whip out his phone and finish his sudoku puzzle, Kevin's character still left much to be desired. In particular, I totally missed the part where Kevin started to fall for Tavia... Oh wait, the script just neglected to show that. Doh.

Tavia fell out of favor with me a long time ago, and not only did this series and character "Jan" do nothing to
help that, it possibly made it worse. The nerdy glasses and bad wardrobe of the character were the least of my problems. She was supposed to be this very clever and sneaky private investigator but scenes of her following people she was investigating showed otherwise. Also, she was WHINY. She's a grown woman, but for over 18 months after sleeping with Ruco's character (who she thought was Kevin), she moped around and half-assed her work? I don't have complaints for Tavia's performance. I just have complaints that she received such a terrible character that didn't flatter her at all. 

Ruco does all that he can with what he's given in "Cheng Nik Hang," like he does with all his performances. For this reason, I was still able to sympathize with Ah Nik and see how his spite emerged from such a tough past instead of hating him the last few episodes. By then, I had gotten fed up with his stubbornness and his increased blindness and inability to see things from another perspective. And yet, until the last two episodes, his behavior still mostly made sense. Episodes 19 and 20 throw any hint of rationality the series had left to the dogs by turning Lik from an insecure, hurt person driven to act with manipulation and spite into a ridiculous cartoonish, mentally unstable, drug-injecting villain. Notice the character also undergoes a drastic wardrobe change these last two episodes that sees Ruco going from wearing lots of colored plaid shirts with t-shirts to lots of grungy black and gray pieces. Because TVB clearly thinks we're idiots and we have to SEE a physical change in appearance to know Ruco's a full-on villain now. Ruco draws sympathy from the audience until a certain point with his performance, and is able to bring his creep on in the finale. He deserves praise for being able to do quite a bit with a sloppily written character, but I'm still waiting for a series after "The Other Truth" where he is able to be boosted by a strong script and character, instead of trying to lift up a lackluster one.

Despite loving Ruco and Tavia in "The Other Truth," I dreaded seeing them here. In fact, I think "Eye" can just be summed up as the series where I kept yelling at the screen "Why do two such attractive and cool guys (until Ruco lost his marbles) like such a plain and annoying girl?!" for 20 episodes. But I rest my case. 

While a flirty womanizer, Tony Hung as "Terry" ends up becoming the voice of reason in the second half of the series, constantly trying to talk some sense into Ah Nik. By the end of the series, he is the only character I liked and cared for and I kept worrying he'd die when Ah Nik begged Terry to help him one last time. Since I'm used to seeing Tony playing more dorky characters, I couldn't help but laugh in the scenes Tony was trying to be suave and flirty, where he came off as trying too hard. However, he's still very likable and more natural in other scenes, particularly in playful friendship scenes with Ruco.

Samantha Ko has the least to work with of all the characters but "Ah Ling"'s upbeat and youthful personality was a nice and welcome contrast to Jan's mopey one. She and Tony make a cute couple, but their relationship was unimportant and unnecessary to the overall story other than to give the guy who has supported and put up with Ah Nik's increasing nonsense over the years a happy ending.

Vivian Yeo seems to be the new go to girl for these mastermind, hit man type roles, which at the least is an interesting thing to be typecast in. She can certainly look cold and detached.

I'm sick of saying this for TVB series these days, but it had potential and could have been so much better. Instead it became increasingly unrealistic, draggy, and prone to driving around in circles. It's yet another typical case of the cast not being able to save a bad script (and certainly not with the characters they had).

Rating: 3 stars


  1. From Queen_Owl

    First and foremost, it started off so well, only for, as you have put it so aptly, the plot to fizzle, 'then crashes and burns’.

    Kevin didn’t start off as a good actor. he was stiff and couldn’t bring out his emotion well in his early years. however, now that he has aged and having been exposed to more roles and experiences, I thought that he was able to commands more screen presence than Ruco when the two actors are put side by side. And that’s despite the fact that Ruco is clearly a better actor than Kevin even today. I guess that’s what you call charisma or star quality.

    As for Tavia’s character. Oh my. She’s basically written as an unimportant character, placed there only because they needed a female lead. The plot is clearly just about the 2 brothers and the way her character is written is kinda inconsequential to the plot. It felt more like her character was forced into the plot. the deep love Ruco has for her that caused such deep hatred for him to give up (what he initially was shown to be so grateful for) his family was not explained well. the ‘misunderstanding’ for feeling left out by his family (from family group chats etc) was not the least bit convincing. Sorry this is supposed to be Tavia paragraph but it turned out to be about Ruco. Well, because there’s nothing much to say about Tavia’s character. What is she there for anyway?

    Excellent acting by Ruco as always, but let down by the script. I don’t hate him in the last few eps too. I just hate the scriptwriting for throwing the character down the drain. An injustice to such a great character that they started off so well. So much potential, like you’ve said, if they had turned this long lost brother with a strong “bromance” relationship, to overcome another baddie (instead of making one of them THE baddie), where they had to overcome their differences & many challenges they faced as 'unlikely partners' because of their different upbringing to defeat the baddie and finally build an unbreakable bond between them. Oh, sorry. That was the plot I was anticipating when the show was going so well in the beginning. Maybe I was playing too much as a back-seat script writer. oh well.

    For Tony’s character, unlike you, I wasn’t satisfied, as I remember in the first few episodes when his character came out, he was the less kind one between the 2 buddies (Ruco&Tony). I can’t remember exactly which scenes now, but that was how I felt. Maybe it has got something to do with how he was the one who insisted to steal the gem or something (?) and got Ruco hurt. Oh, I can’t remember exactly. But there were at least a couple of scenes that I felt if one of them had to continue to lead criminal lives, it would be Tony. But towards the end, suddenly, without explanation, he was the more kind hearted one. The more ‘noble’ one even. Can’t remember which scene again which made me felt how he turned from selfish to noble. but samantha was reason enough for me. at least not based on what was shown.

    For me, 3 stars. 0.5 stars more than you, just because the rest of tvb shows were even more crappy and that makes this show an ‘achievement’, so 0.5 stars extra. Ha!

    1. I do agree Kevin has a special charisma and star quality about him, which kept his character's quiet stances as commanding and pensive as opposed to wooden (which he definitely would've looked like had he played this character in his earlier days).

      There just isn't much to say for Tavia's character here. She's merely a device to further the tensions between Kevin and Ruco, and not even a good one at that, as opposed to her own character. That certainly explains why your paragraph about her could only go on for so long before trailing off to talking about Ruco. :P

      I agree with and like your ideas as the back-seat script writer better. Even if they didn't go with something like that, Ruco's character should have been kept more gray as opposed to becoming a full-blown villain at the end.

      Yeah, Tony probably was the less kind of the two when his character was first introduced. However, the script wavered so much by the second half making all the characters irritating or boring that it just made it a lot easier for me to like Tony. His change into someone with a bigger conscience who could see things more logically was came about pretty suddenly, but if it didn't, I probably would have become even more frustrated with Eye than I already had become by then.

      I was looking at my other reviews this year, and decided to bump my rating up to 3 stars as well. I think I was too critical when I originally rated it, heh. I would give the first half 4 stars and the second half 2, so I guess that evens out. I definitely see a pattern throughout my last few reviews: Quite a few of them have a lot of potential, but it's never fulfilled. Oh TVB, when will you learn.