Sighs, as if I didn’t have enough Korean dramas on my plate. I just had to force another one down my throat. I’m like already so full, but yet I cannot help it. 1 episode of Lives of Omission 潛行狙擊, I’m done for. Another addiction waiting to kill me.
LoO is a spin-off of TVB’s successful television crime drama E.U. (2009), a drama featuring the main cast of the already well known Academy I and II (Ron Ng and Sammul Chan) as well Micheal Tse as the entertaining and charming Laughing Gor. AI and AII belonged to Ron and Sammul no doubt. They were the leading stars after all. But when E.U. took over, it was all about Laughing Gor and Laughing Gor alone. Ron who? Sammul who? I’ve been watching TVB dramas since like forever and for a supporting character to have stolen all the light and thunder of the main characters who’d been essentially there for 3 whole seasons, it was a first for me.
Knowing TVB (milking machine), Laughing got to have his own film (released in 2009, and I heard is planning on a film sequel or something). And is now leading LoO once again, as Laughing Sir, the mentor to new undercover recruits of his division, the Central Intelligence Bureau (CIB).
I’m not gonna delve into the summary or plot of the drama (you can check it out HERE ). But you must know WHY I’m so addicted and so in love with this show.
Reason #1: Because Laughing is back!
Oh I love my share of Laughing Gor-ness. He’s just so freaking daebak! Altho I’ve not seen his previous hit E.U. in full (skipped parts), I remembered enjoying and loving all of his antics in it. He was loud and over the top, brash and insensitive, but damn wasn’t he entertaining? What could have been a boring cop drama instantly became more watchable for me. I had lots of fun watching him play dark and light, and bawled like a baby when he met his demise towards the end.
Here Michael Tse plays the same old Laughing, a street smart cop who acts with his heart over his brain but gets his job done miraculously. An experienced undercover cop who’d toiled thru mud and soil with the lowly gangs for years, he possesses a heart of steel, eye of a hawkl and the brain and sense of a horse. His colleagues and his direct superior Madam Jo (played by the gorgeous Fala Chen) say he’s irrational and rash, resent his flamboyant attitude and disagree on how he constantly puts his recruits in danger by pushing them into all-out real-life training. But whaddaheck, Laughing Sir doesn’t care and doesn’t give a damn. As expected, he continues with his smirky and entertaining flair of sarcasm, flamboyantly admits his charm, and finishes his job beautifully.
Michael has always been on my radar. Altho I won’t say he’s a brilliant or mindblowing actor, and definitely isn’t the handsome or suave (like my Korean lubs), he hits the right buttons for me and turns me on. His acting may more often than not, be loud and over the top, it’s his intensity and voluminous outbursts of emotions which always always kill it for me. And when you crave for understated air of arrogance and mystery, he gives you that.
Michael’s take on Laughing Sir here is seemingly milder and less aggressive in comparison to his take on Laughing Gor in E.U. but IMO still holds that undeniable charm that makes me love and enjoy his character. I think he doesn’t stand out as much in LoO this time around, with the wider focus on CIB and with another outstanding character competing for my attention (that I will get to later). But still, without him, I reckon the drama wouldn’t be as enjoyable.
Reason #2: Bosco’s Winning Performance
Sou Sing Pak aka “Bai Co” may be Bosco Wong‘s best acting performance to-date. A performance delivered with such intensity and fervor never seen before from this actor. When I said that Laughing Gor’s thunder was in danger of being stolen by another character, I meant Bosco Wong’s character Bai Co. A character filled with immense possibilities and mystery, which I couldn’t help but be fascinated with.
Bai Co is an abbreviated piece of nothing to all, looked down like trash by his fellow ganghood, treated like mud and shit by his triad bosses. Upon his decision to rise up the ladder and to leave his past behind him, Bai Co decides to takes things into his own hands by forging trusts with 2 opposing forces in the triad Yi Fung and by taking them down with a blow via manipulation and deception. With the help of Laughing Sir, he succeeds. And thus he begins his way up the triad ladder, crushing whatever trust and liaison formed with Laughing Sir.
I’m only 10 eps far into LoO, but I already know what’s really killing this drama for me. Other than the writing and Laughing, it’s Bosco Wong’s winning performance which draws me in and makes me invested. I’ve been following Bosco’s career for quite some time, ever since he broke out with his cheerful and comedic performance as Bat Lau Yan in War of In Laws (2005). Down the years he’s had decent projects but none of his performances actually left a deep impression. He was either good or forgettable that’s it. But in LoO, he totally reveals all the vast possibilities and talent he’d been hiding all this while. He’s played baddie before, but how did he become this GOOD?!!! His facial expressions, gestures, actions… they’re all spot on and totally cut out for the role. The vehemence and vigor that he shows, I’m in utter and utmost awe. He’s totally killing it, and stealing every single scene. If Laughing is the heart of LoO, Bosco’s Bai Co would most definitely be the soul and driver of the show.
Reason #3: The Ladies and the OTPs
Oh how much do I love thee? This is a cop drama about gangs triads and cops. But what IS a drama without romance eh? And it’s YUM stuff that we get 2 sets of equally intriguing OTPs in this drama.
First off, Madam Jo, played by the much improved Fala Chen. 😀 Lady kicks ass in LoO, right off the bat. Although I’m still not very convinced by her acting (she’s decent but then there are times when she doesn’t do it quite right e.g. crying scenes?), but I love the mix of sophistication and cute she brings to Madam Jo (what’s her full name btw?). She can be classy high and mighty with overflowing confidence, but she also rawks cute and adorableness with utter ease.
So far I haven’t seen any “romance in the air” between Laughing and Madam Jo yet, but I already love them together! They’re just so incredibly funny together that I get into fits and giggles just watching them play each other out. Laughing is sarcastic and opinionated, but I have to say that brings out the best in Madam Jo. Her fighting spirit and her confidence that she can win him over. They totally like each other already no? 😛
But problem is, she’s his boss LOL
*Oh my, let me just wipe my drool off first okay? WTF?!! They look like they’re devouring each other in the photo aiks! When did TVB get this far?! Yaiks. But really, I’m not complaining hehe..*
Kate Tsui plays Paris, hot-shot lawyer newbie who dresses to kill and who kills with words and reason in court. She has this intriguing and interesting love hate relationship with Bai Co which transcends that of just lovers and an IOU relationship. They both love each other but yet resent each other in some other way. They both lust for each other, yet despise each other for some reason. They scream at each other but make love the next minute. So what gives? I love them!
Kate Tsui is an okay actress. Long gone were the days of me hating the sight of her. I think she plays the lawyer part of her character pretty well, not too over not too stiff, just right with moderation. And her combo of coldness and aloofness doesn’t bug me in any way, the least that I’d need of course. But of all things, it’s her sexual chemistry with Bosco which makes me lust for more of their scenes. I am not sure if it’s Bosco, or Kate or both of them, but when they come together, I just want them to make out! Rawr!
Reason #4: Bromance?
Gah, don’t they look uber cool and suave up there? Cop vs the informant turned villain, isn’t the premise already good enough on paper? Remember Infernal Affairs? That’s what I’m talking about. I haven’t seen anything quite near bromance or brotherhood between Laughing and Bai Co yet, and I’m not sure if the drama is even going to give it to us. But I pray pretty please that they give me more of them together. Please? Esp when Laughing goes undercover (again) to bust Bai Co’s plans?
Bosco and Michael each have interesting characters on hand, but the magic and sparks work even better when they’re together in a scene. When Laughing Sir pushes Bai Co too far, he stands up for himself, gives in but yet reserves a certain something within him. You can almost feel an underlying tension brewing between them even without words said. I’m sure when they unleash everything, it’ll be all explosive between them. And I so can’t wait to see that happen.
Bosco once said in an interview that he’d missed filming LoO with Michael right after they wrapped and that they’d become good friends through the drama. I guess this goes on to show that chemistry indeed does work on screen if you already have IT in real life.
Reason #5: Sir Gong and CIB
What is a group without its chief and team members?
Damian Lau is always good, and when he plays sharp and observant, you have to give it to him. Enuff said.
The CIB rookies consist of 5 members, the 2 mains ones being Lap Cheng (played by MC Jin) and Ah Mong (played by Mandy Wong). The drama doesn’t emphasize too much on the individual members, but I appreciate that it makes some effort to involve all members in their crime-busting actions, giving the whole drama a more realistic and gritty feel. Coupled with the humor that MC Jin brings to Lap Cheng together with Ah Mong’s journey to facing her past, CIB doesn’t seem as serious and solemn. We get the serious and fun all in one package. And I’m definitely not complaining about that yeah.
Reason #6: Writing that doesn’t disappoint?
The quality of TVB dramas has been in so much decline in recent years that I’d nearly given up. The last good TVB drama I’d finished this/last year was No Regrets, and even that lacked a mile compared to the TVB dramas that I’d seen a decade or so ago. I can do with recycled plots, rehashed themes, odd OTP pairings… but somehow, TVB gradually lost its magic in getting me hooked over the years. Nowadays, either the plot lacks coherency and flow, sucks of overloaded ridiculousness, or if not fail hard of utter crapstatic directing/editing. So when I come across something which is able to hook me on the edge of my seat, something’s definitely there.
LoO’s writing is tight, gripping and intriguing, with touches of mystery and humor. It tests with our wits and intelligence, pulling us in at the right moments, and surprising us with twists in some. Nothing seems too over or too far-fetched. And any such ridiculous plot or sub-plot is minimized to the lowest in here. I won’t go as far as to say that it’s amazing or thrilling, but it definitely has a very dark and alluring charm. Whoever wrote the script, must have either done some in-depth research on Infernal Affairs and RL gangs, or either, has this creative criminal mind, to have been able to plot out something this dark, gritty and witty (in TVB standards).
Directing and music are pretty decent so far. I have no idea why, but I don’t gripe much about the directing and music in TVB dramas. Perhaps it’s because they all look the same to me, and the music rarely stands out that much or leave an impression on me either. LoO’s direction’s just a tad slicker and smoother and the music/instrumentals used are no less befitting to the drama, giving out a vibe sorta similar to a film.
TVB dramas tend to drag and slow down towards the end (as like dramas in general) but I have a feeling LoO will get more exciting and gripping once Laughing goes undercover again to bust Bai Co’s plans. I think it will be one heck of duel between both of them, with Laughing holding the card of Bai Co having been an informant before. I can already smell the fire burning between them. Will Laughing be able to infiltrate Yi Fung and bring Bai Co back? Or will everything be too late?
Bring it all on!!!