First off, I'd like to say that I do not mind a mixture of Hong Kong and mainland China actors. There is a loss of familiarity, but just the idea of casting both does not bother me. Unfortunately, the mainland actors cast in this series ranged from adequate at best to cringe worthy at worst, and the poor dubbing further ruins everyone's performances.
Other than poor acting, the rest of the female characters, other than Liza's, are written to be unlikable or sloppily written.
Zhao Xiaolu is probably the least offensive of the mainland actresses and quite pretty and sweet as "Suk Han," but has barely anything to do besides hopelessly pine for Kenny Wong's Cho Chi Wang. Kimmy Tong is irritating to watch as Cho Hau Yee, who also spends her time pining over one of the Cho brothers. Michelle Hu as "Poon Siu Kei" probably has the meatiest female character and managed to even become someone worth sympathizing for after an unpleasant entrance into the series, but is abruptly sent to prison later and not seen again until the finale. Don't even get me started on Monica Mok's villain character "Song Chi Wah," who spends the whole series plotting to take over Xin Han Li only to suddenly drop it all and redeem herself.
Edwin Siu delivers the strongest and most natural performance of the brothers, but unfortunately also has the least to do and the least screen time. At this point, the guy can portray these useless, lazy, and talkative characters in his sleep, so can we please give him a new challenge?
Angie Chiu's character was unnecessary and did not culminate into anything major, turning out to just be a recurring guest star. There was little screen time and acting challenge for her, which made me wonder if Angie only agreed to take part in the series to just have some fun acting again and collect a paycheck.
In an otherwise poorly acted series, Liza Wang actually offers a performance different from her others. There's still snippets of the sassiness she is known for, although much more subtle, but overall Kwan Yeuk Nam is a much more serious character who is smart and strong without being neither too calculating or too nice. Liza did very well with her dramatic scenes.
The plot is full of cliched and soapy story lines, but to a certain extent this makes it occasionally funny (albeit in an unintended way) and fun to poke fun at (also unintended). The series does become more entertaining after Hawick is sent to prison and subsequently acquitted, but overall it is still a mediocre series. As poor as the writing is though, the most irritating aspect of "Master of Destiny" is still easily the mix of original Cantonese audio and dub. I finished this series because at the time I had nothing else to watch, but next time I will just go read or rewatch an old series.
Rating: 2 stars