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A Fistful of Stances

A Fistful of Stances [鐵馬尋橋] is a martial arts and action drama from Hong Kong that was broadcast between March and April 2010.

A Fistful of Stances cast

About

The show is about a martial arts training school following events of 20 years ago when the father of the family never returned home after confronting the evil Wing Dak who has been traumatizing the family for all this time.

Cast

The show is like a TVB family reunion.

Kevin Cheng [鄭嘉穎] as Ku Kin Shing and Ku Yu Cheung
Born in San Francisco, Cheng has become a huge star in Hong Kong playing in may dramas.

Natalie Tong [唐詩詠 ] as Ying Ngan Ming
Although it seems she had more of a minor role here she was most recently seen in The Invisibles.

Kenneth Ma [馬國明] as Ku Yue Tong
Another actor who appeared in The Invisibles who starred earlier in this drama.

Yuen Qui as Au-Yeung Wai-Lan
The last show I saw her in was The Righteous Fists. For some reason some websites have dropped her from the cast list of this show.

Alex Lam [林子善] Like Yuen Qui Alex is dropped from the cast list on some sites. However, as usual he is the most sweet and fun actor there, short but big in character.

Review

This series was a lot of fun and quite typical of the era in which is was made. Rosy Business and this drama had the same screenwriter, Cheung Wah Biu, who did a great job.

The story was decent although simple to follow; plenty of action and some romance.

The actors were the highlight of the show especially in their family group where they were loud but fun. Natalie Tong didn’t have a big speaking part in the show, more or left to the side lines. I thought Kenneth Ma had the biggest on air time.

There were some overly dramatic scenes by Kara Wai who played Wing Tak’s wife, so much so I just put my palm in front of my face as it was painful to watch. I thought Jacky Heung, who played Wing Tak’s son, was not in the right character for his style.

Summary

I really love these style of Hong Kong drama’s so I will give it a 4.5/5.

Where to Watch

We started to watch this series on Tubi but half way through they dropped it, taking the whole series off line. I was not impressed. However, I did find it on YouTube, with English Subtitles, the catch the remaining episodes even though small parts of the audio was cut off which Google probably did, I was so upset by that.

2024-03-30T23:21:26+00:0030 March 2024|Review Hong Kong|

HSBC to RBC Part Two

This is part two of my continued write up of the purchase of HSBC Canada to RBC bank; it’s been a bit of a gong show. See part one. Please see the end of this post for day to day updates.

Communication

Lets start on a positive note, it goes downhill from here.

Unlike most of the feedback left on TrustPilot, which is not that trustworthy anyway, whenever I have called RBC I managed to get hold of someone very quickly. Staff have been friendly.

Health Care Scam

On one of the letters I received, with an RBC letterhead, they mis-printed a telephone number. I called the number several times to ensure I didn’t dial the incorrect number.

The call was actually one of those health care scams in the US, one of those “companies” that try to get people to sign up for the useless Medicare Plan B things. The call started off asking for confirmation if I was over 50, then they said I had won a health care monitoring device. Then, the call was directed to another recording about their plan details; there wasn’t a live person, all recordings.

I called RBC to advise them, of course they didn’t believe me until I read out the number on the letter where they confirmed it was incorrect. They asked me to send them the communication they sent me. I scanned the document and emailed it to them. Of course, I never heard anything back from them, didn’t even have the courtesy to send me an acknowledgement from a live person.

Fees Too Expensive

I called RBC on another occasion about non-receipt of a Credit Card, the person on the other end of the phone said there was a delay sending them out.

Apart from dealing with that I had the following conversation with them:

Me to RBC: “Your fees are a rip off”.
RBC to Me: “Oh yes I agree”.

I guess that just speaks for itself.

Didn’t Receive PIN

I called RBC to report that I hadn’t received a PIN.

They asked for the reference number on top of one of the letters I had been sent, they said it should be the same on every letter. I said there was a different reference on every single letter I had received and asked them which one they wanted, or maybe all 15+ of them.

They said they couldn’t just send me a PIN on its own and they would have to reissue the Debit Card as well.

On a positive point I did receive both through a courier fairly quickly.

Your Products Have Migrated

Incorrect Message on the HSBC Canada app.
As of today, 29th March, there is a message on the HSBC Canada app which says:

“HSBC Bank Canada has been acquired by Royal Bank of Canada. Your products and services have migrated to RBC and can be accessed on the RBC Mobile app.”

This is incorrect. Part of the migration means that the 29th is in a dead zone where customers cannot access anything online at HSBC Canada or RBC. I was quite amused two weeks ago though, as I did log into my RBC account and saw some of my accounts set up, I even managed to set alerts and update some of my details. When I was at an HSBC branch staff there said I shouldn’t have been able to do that.

Summary

I have received a mountain of papers through the post; myself and others have just become overwhelmed with it all most of it repeating the same thing time and time again. What a complete waste of paper.

As I have previously stated RBC is not good for customers who believe in climate change. Their fees are a rip off, three of our accounts would cost us CAD76.95 a month which is CAD923.40 a year, and I had NO fees at HSBC Canada; absolutely ridiculous. RBC were recently fined CAD7m for not reporting suspicious transactions [see Global News story]. RBC’s interest rates are much lower than HSBC Canada; so I would not only pay fees but lose money in interest as well.

It doesn’t make any sense to remain with RBC so I am migrating to another bank. If I have to go through it with HSBC to RBC I may as well do it to another bank. It might be easier for me to do this than other customers and moving bank is a somewhat stressful situation especially as HSBC haven’t been that cooperative or timely with what they’ve been asked to do.

Updates

30 March 2024 at 09:43PST

  • Two weeks ago I managed to access my RBC account whereas nobody else could, not even HSBC staff. I set up alerts and was able to perform other functions. Last night, 29 March, I received a text alert from my chequing account and saw some data move in there; chequing and savings. This is via the desktop, can’t see anything in the app. The balance is not correct, so we’ll see if this changes.
  • I saw a story where RBC will make profit in new weapons being sent to Israel by the US government. It doesn’t sound good that RBC is profiting from blowing up people. [Source: PBICanada]

31 March 2024 at 10:08PST

  • I was trying to figure out why some accounts were showing in the RBC app but not when signing into the desktop. I noticed that the RBC website doesn’t work well in Firefox. That is not good at all. Also, in Firefox, RBC does not display external accounts, for example, my HSBC accounts in the UK. In Vivaldi everything appears to work ok.
  • The HSBC Canada app was available internationally, however, according to comments left on the Apple app store this is not the case for the RBC one. This is not good for Canadian customers who are living or working overseas.
  • My balances are still incorrect as of this morning on my chequing and credit card accounts.
  • Investment accounts are not showing but I think this is scheduled for later today.

1 April 2024 at 13:53PST

  • Some but not all investment accounts are now showing online.
  • Chequing accounts are still showing incorrect balances.
  • Global View in HSBC UK or External Accounts in RBC do not show credit cards; they did before.
  • Global View in either direction do not show investment accounts.
  • In Global View HSBC UK I have lost the ability to transfer funds from the UK to Canada. Unless this is fixed there is no point in having this facility. Even with the facility the RBC rates are not competitive with companies like OFX.
  • Even though I deleted them all in HSBC Canada some time ago all my payees have reappeared in RBC. Took some time to find out where they are stored at RBC but went ahead and deleted them.
  • When trying to book an appointment RBC do not show any venues to meet in:

RBC Appointment Venue

4 April 2024 at 21:34PST

  • RBC have an app called Launch which I installed. Even though there is the option for FaceID its actually greyed out so its not available. I noticed that other parts of the app just show error messages.
  • I have been trying to close a GBP account because RBC cannot provide the Global View/Transfer functionality as HSBC did. I spoke to someone over live chat, who said write a secure message. I wrote a secure message but no one answered. I phoned the general customer service number and after waiting on hold for 10 minutes they said closing it is not an option, she wasn’t going to give me a reason but I asked and she said 9 April is the earliest it can be done due to the migration from HSBC. I asked her why I wasn’t told this on the previous contact I had with RBC but she couldn’t answer.

5th April 2024 at 10:04PST

  • Search the RBC website to see if there were fees on Interac transfers, in the same paragraph they said its free but then went on to say its not with a $1 service charge.  I tried to complete the “Are You Satisfied With” box but just got a “technical error”. Pretty typical of RBC!

Interac

Interac

6th April 2024 at 12:43PST

  • RBC online booking system is still down. I reported this several days ago and they promised to put up a message which they never did. Screen dump of what I see today:

Appointment System Down

  • Prior to the migration HSBC said their emails would auto-redirect to their new ones at RBC. Today I wrote an email to our Premiere Manager and found out that clearly is not the case. Why RBC couldn’t have just done a domain redirect is beyond me.

Email Redirect

  • I finally got a secure message reply about closing a GBP account. Originally they told me I could close it by sending a secure message, this was by live chat. However, the person who replied by secure message said I can’t close accounts in that way. Another person told me closing the account wasn’t an option, when pressed she said I could close it on or after 9 April when the HSBC migration was out of the way. The 9 April date was not mentioned in the secure message reply.  I am receiving so much conflicting information from RBC I’m beginning to think no one there has been training or has the correct information on hand.
  • I tried to log on via the iPhone App and received a message “we’re having technical difficulties at the moment, please try again later”. Seems they are always having “technical difficulties”.

Logon Technical Error

7th April 2024 at 09:20PST

  • A group called SCAN (Seniors for Climate Action Now) protested in front of an RBC bank in Kingston, Ontario. [GlobalNews story]
  • This article, requires registration, outlines RBC’s struggle to go green but at the same time financing anti-climate change activities in a big way. [Business Week]
  • The Fossil Free RBC website details the bank’s anti-climate change activities and highlights some calls to action.

8th April 2024 at 15:25PST

  • I finally received an acknowledgement of a complaint I made a few days ago, they said they would look into it. One minute later I received a resolution message. So, not sure if they are really going to look into them. The IT issues I reported still haven’t been fixed and no messages have been placed on their website as someone said they would. It’s really bad.

9th April 2024 at 13:32PST

  • Yet another day the online booking appointment system is down. No response to my complaint about it.
  • I was previously told I couldn’t close my GBP account until the 9th April. Got a secure message today saying this is not the case and I can just phone through to close it anytime. I phoned them and they said they couldn’t close it over the phone but had to visit a branch. So many different stories by different staff, no one knows what they are doing. A total gong show.
  • When I called them I had a question about transferring my TFSA out, the rep said she would transfer me to the investment department. They put me through to a recorded message that lasted about 5 minutes then it dropped my call. Arrrggghhhh.
  • Despite the barriers put in place by RBC, I finally got in touch with my HSBC Premier Manager who was able help with some questions. I found there is no point phoning the RBC call center as their “advice” is generally incorrect.
  • The Premiere Manager sent me an email, as a courtesy I replied to it, however, it was rejected by the RBC firewall. Evidently VIP or other customers are now not allowed to send staff emails as we did with HSBC.
  • It does look as though RBC lost the TFSA “transfer out” paperwork so I will have to go through this again.

12th April 2024 at 14:27PST

  • The RBC online appointment booking system is still down. Customers have to phone their customer service department to get book a meeting.
  • I phoned the RBC Investment Department today and I was gobsmacked that I actually spoke to someone who was helpful and knowledgeable. I did have to sit through a 4 minute recorded lecture first though, which was tedious.

27th April 2024 at 15:04PST

  • As of today their “book a meeting online” is still broken.
  • I received a call from their “resolution” team about the complaints I had submitted. Regarding the conflicting information I had been given by RBC staff they said there has been some staff training issues. I asked about the IT issues but there was no comment, but it seemed the HSBC onboarding process had overwhelmed them. I told them paperwork had been lost and there was no comment on that either. The rep was polite but the call didn’t really achieve anything.
  • Since they had lost my TFSA Transfer Out paperwork another one was sent to them on 16th April. I don’t have much hope of them processing this to be honest.

1st May 2024 at 14:46PST

  • Since my TFSA account has vanished I suspect the “transfer out” request may have been processed. However, so far they haven’t sent me a notification or receipt. Nothing has appeared in my other bank account yet although may be a little early for that. We’ll see.
  • I received, through post, a statement for a “Line of Credit”. When I called them they said this was transferred from HSBC but I didn’t have such a facility there. Even though having the account is free they charge 9% interest for the pleasure of using it, another way of them to make money.
  • Couldn’t log in via the app, message popped up saying they had “technical difficulties”.

8th May 2024 at 14:00PST

  • Finally the TFSA transfer out was finalized and RBC sent out the last statement to me.
  • I tried to book an appointment online to visit a branch to close my accounts, however, as usual that system was down. I contacted their call center, the appointment booking system was down for them too. They transferred me to someone else who was surprised to get my call. All in all it took 15 minutes to book the meeting.

9th May 2024 at 09:30PST

  • At the branch I was supposed to have an appointment there was no front desk person available so I had to line up with others.
  • The person I was due to see at the branch had been off work for weeks. So, whomever booked the appointment made a mistake. However, someone else started the process in closing accounts.
  • I had two pages of feedback to give to them and I was able to speak to the branch manager. He said he would forward it to senior management. Regarding the appointment for today he said the call center keep making this mistake, 8 in the past couple of months. He said RBC was having teething problems regarding the migration but it would improve, this is what the resolution center also said to me. I said the IT infrastructure outside of the migration was still pretty awful. Reading between the lines it appears there must have been a data dump from HSBC to RBC without proper project management, parallel runs, testing or training – everyone done on a “seat of their pants” methodology.
  • The people at the branch were friendly. The manager said the right words. I think everyone in RBC is decent people but they are dealing with an unfortunate circumstances that decision makers have put them in.
2024-05-09T22:51:48+00:0029 March 2024|Canada|

Judge Dee’s Mystery

Judge Dee’s Mystery [大唐狄公案] aka Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee is a Chinese detective series that aired in February 2024.

Cast

Zhou Yi Wei (周一围) aka Alex Zhou as Judge Dee
A very popular actor with numerous productions on the go. We have seen him in a number of productions but the one that stands out the most was in The Longest Day in Chang’an.

Wang Li Kun (王丽坤) aka Claudia Want as Cao An
Another popular actress but we’ve only seen her in productions where she is playing a supporting cast.

Zhang Ruo Yun (张若昀) as Diao Xiao Guan
Although not in the main cast, he was a notable guest star. Best known recently for his role in Joy of Life for which season 2 has waiting for release and of course many others including Snow Sword Stride.

Review

This was a really good drama, one of the better Judge Dee shows I’ve ever seen.

There was one overall story and then some individual sub-stories/mysteries which lasted 3 or more episodes.  The story telling was solid and in the typical style of a good detective series.

What I didn’t expect was Judge Dee to have a couple of helpers and a romance. I don’t ever recall seeing that in other Judge Dee’s films.

The story was broken up with some humour, mainly from Dee’s sidekicks, which made the show very watchable.

A lot of effort went into special effects and the fighting scenes. We were surprised to learn that the boat was not CGI but actually made from scratch, they went to a lot of effort for those few episodes.

There were some bits that didn’t go well:

  • Some of the CGI was badly done, you could tell it was green screen.
  • Like other Chinese dramas, characters riding horses we so badly done, they can’t seem to get it right. One could tell they were on a plastic horse with a green screen in the background.
  • Some scenes were dubbed. I understand that its expensive to film outside and get the audio right which is why the actors pretend to speak their lines and dub them on later by speaking into a microphone in the studio.

The last 2-3 episodes wrapped up the series well but they even had a few clips from season 2. Yes, you will be pleased to hear that there will be another season.

Summary

An all round great show, solid story and great actors. I will give it a 4.5/5. I dropped half a point for the negatives I pointed above.

Where Can I Watch

Netflix has picked up the series. However, we watched it elsewhere. I’m not keen watching Asian shows on Netflix as they make more mistakes on the translations than other companies.

2024-03-28T21:43:22+00:0028 March 2024|Review China|

Once Upon a Time in Shanghai

Once Upon a Time in Shanghai (上海滩马永贞) aka Fierce Battle is a action martial arts film from Hong Kong released on 23 May 2013.

One Upon A Time in Shanghai

About

Ma Yong Zhen travels to Shanghai from Shangdong to find work and become rich. However, he is caught between facing local gangs and the Japanese who are occupying the region.

Cast

Philip Ng (伍允龙) as Ma Yong Zhen
He is an American Hong Kong born actor, martial artist and action choreographer. He runs the Ng Family Chinese Martial Arts Association in Chicago. We’ve seen him in a number of productions including The Righteous Fists.

Andy On (安志傑 ) as Long Qi
He is an American Hong Kong actor and martial artist based in Rhode Island USA. He has also had a hand at singing. We’ve seen him in other productions such as Ever Night Season Two and Sword Snow Stride.

Sammo (洪金寶) as Master Tie
Well, Sammo needs no introduction and we’ve seen him in many productions.

Review

The story is pretty simple; bloke moves to Shanghai to become rich, faces gangs and the Japanese, makes friends, possible girlfriend. I believe the story is there to lead into the action which is the main bread and butter of the movie.

The look and feel of the movie is done in an artistic kind of way. The colour grading is almost black and white with colours toned down. The cinematography is slightly different in parts. This wasn’t the case throughout the entire movie, just in parts.

A day after I watched the movie I have forgotten what the music sounds like, so I am guessing it wasn’t very prominent.

I wasn’t expecting Sammo or Andy On to appear in the movie, I followed the trail to find out what Philip Ng had done before. So the cast was a pleasant surprise.

Philip and Andy were very cute together at points, it was good to see the on-screen relationship develop. I expect they are good friends in real life and the film was more like “having fun with mates”, at least that came across when I was watching it.

So, the martial arts was prominent in the movie and it was quite well done. However, I have to say that it did look a little bit slapstick, unintentionally, as some of those scenes which were sped up. I suspect when they filmed those sequences they did them slowly or at normal speed as some of them were quite intricate. There appeared to be some CGI embedded into the martial arts when objects were kicked out of the way.

There was one scene towards the end and we thought “Philip looks like he is emulating or honouring Bruce Lee”

Summary

This was a really cool movie, storyline was simple, but watch it if you enjoy martial arts. I will give it a 4.5/5.

Where To Watch

The movie is currently on Tubi, available in the US and Canada, and available on DVD.

2024-03-11T17:10:57+00:0011 March 2024|Review Hong Kong|

Follow Bear to Adventure

Follow Bear to Adventure (动物园里有什么?) is a Chinese comedy film that was released on 12th January 2024.

About

An office worker gives up his job, with a not so kind boss, and invests in a failing Zoo only to realize it only has one animal in it. He comes up with a bizarre plan, along with the eccentric employees, to save the zoo.

Cast

Bao Bei Er (包贝尔) as Shi Tu
Popular actor and singer who is currently signed up to appear in 5 movies and 3 TV series, obviously a very busy guy.

Jia Bing (贾冰) as Wu Guang Hui
Another very popular actor who is lined up to do 8 different movies. He is supposedly know for “Top Funny Comedian Season Ⅳ” and “Looking For A Comedian”.

Wei Ziang (魏翔) as the Warehouse Manager
He really doesn’t have enough “main character” roles, one of my favourite Chinese actors, he is naturally funny, I was so pleased to see him in the show even though it was only for a few minutes. We saw him recently in Too Cool To Kill which I am yet to review.

Review

Actually translation of the movie title is a little bit awkward, I’m not sure where it came from. When I directly translate it the title is “What’s In The Zoo?” which actually sounds better.

Even though the reviews I’ve seen aren’t that great I actually enjoyed it very much.

The concept of saving the zoo and how so many visitors fell for it was a pretty hilarious construct. There was a mix of dry humour and slapstick. They had some CGI which was actually a surprise and it was done well.

The Panda was the cutest animal especially the chase and one of the end scenes in the forest.

I think the cast was laughing throughout the movie which was why there were so many outtakes at the end during the closing titles.

I should give an honourary mention to Xu Zhi Sheng (徐志胜) who did a pretty good job with his character. He has appear in three films and has a regular TV show lined up. He is a comedian and talk show host so maybe he is just expanding his horizons now.

Summary

I recommend the movie, I will give it a 4.5 out of 5. It’s great for a rainy day when you want something fluffy to watch.

2024-03-08T03:37:51+00:008 March 2024|Review China|

The Grand Heist

The Grand Heist (바람과 함께 사라지다) is a South Korean historical comedy film that was released on 8 August 2012.

About

The film is set in the late 18th century of the Joseon Dynasty when ce is a commodity more valuable than gold. Corrupt officials conspire to form a monopoly and fix its price, a gang of 11 professionals is formed to stop the scheme..

Cast

Cha Tae Hyun (차태현) as Duk Moo
A popular and very funny actor who is also a director and singer. Went through some controversy in 2019 which made him withdraw from all his shows but seems to have bounced back pretty well.

Oh Ji Ho (오지호) as Dong Soo
An actor and model who is also very popular in Japan thanks to some of his shows being imported in there.

Lee Chae Young (이채영) as Yoo Sul Hwa
One of the reasons I watch this show as she was in it, known for her roles to use in Man in a Veil and Woman in a Veil.

Review

This was a really cute film which was very funny, I enjoyed it very much. It was somewhat similar to other costume comedy films from Korea but I never get bored of them.

As I said above, I knew it starred Lee Chae Young, and was curious to see her in another role apart from a soap opera format. Unfortunately, her skills weren’t utilized as much as the they could but she was good in it.

The story was well put together, I was mostly kept engaged all the way through although it was slow in parts. It was slightly saucy as well, in a flirty kind of way.

Cha Tae Hyun was so good in this lead role, cheeky looking and was the centerpiece of the movie. All the actors had their own story lines with important parts to play.

The two children in the movie was exceptional, very funny and great actors.

My only negative was how they kept repeating “okay”, it was moderately humorous the first time but after that it was slightly annoying. You will know what I mean when you watch the film.

Overall I would give this movie a 4.5/5.

Where To Watch

The movie can be found, at least in Canada, on Tubi and Viki.

2024-03-04T23:31:32+00:004 March 2024|Review South Korea|

HSBC to RBC

HSBC is closing down in Canada and sold its company to RBC, I will reflect on my experiences with the move here.

Communication

Keeping customers up to date is of course important in any transition like this.

  • Documentation by snail mail appears to be working out ok however customers are receiving this at different times, not all at once. I guess they must be sending them out in batches.
  • Emails are not working at all. I haven’t been receiving their email updates at all. I reached out to HSBC, who are still the main point of contact, and they are investigating. So far, I am missing out of three different emails. The important information in these emails I have more or less stumbled across by accident when logging into my account.  Since I know other HSBC customers I have been forwarded these emails, obviously they should come to me directly.

Client Cards

These were due to go out, according to their own timetable, on 8th February but we didn’t receive them until much later on. When I spoke to HSBC about another matter they hadn’t received their ones either and I would have thought they should get them first so the know the workflow the customers would have to go through.

Statements and Payees

It looks as though there won’t be any access to accounts between 28 thru 30 March. RBC are recommending to download all statements, tax documents and payees before that date.  They said they would be migrated over to RBC but maybe there is a chance that they won’t be.

From my experience to date I wouldn’t be surprised if there were hiccups so it is best to extract everything from there as possible.

Customer Service

There have been hiccups at HSBC but I’ve never had too many complaints regarding customer service especially as I have a rep I can call directly. The rep doesn’t always get things right or followed up with queries which hasn’t been very good.

Looking at reviews of RBC not many people have a good word to say about them which is very worrying.

Fees

I’ve never paid any annual credit fee or monthly charge to have a checking account in my life.  So the most shocking thing about RBC is how much they charge for their services, they are very expensive. I’m not even sure what I am paying for.

They will not be charging these fees in the first 12 months of being with RBC but after that they will kick in.

I am totally not impressed with this at all.

RBC Advantages and Disadvantages

There are some advantages of being with RBC over HSBC, but not many.

  • Will be able to put Debit Card on ApplePay, something that HSBC Canada won’t allow.
  • Use verification services.
  • More branches to visit.

Disadvantages

  • Potentially poor customer service.
  • Very high fees so we will be much worse off with them.

However, other banks or credit unions offer the same service with no fees so it makes little sense paying for a service at RBC when its free at other places.

Stay or Leave?

Everybody we have spoken to that is with RBC do not recommend them at all.  They say all they care about is making money. However, others say that about the bigger banks on Canada as well.

According to the Banking on Climate Chaos website, RBC is the 5th worst bank in financing fossil fuel globally between 2016 and 2022. I find this very scary and part of me doesn’t want my fees or profit they make from us to be spent on making the world a worse place than it is already.

I already have some plans in place and will share those experiences later.

2024-03-04T22:07:02+00:004 March 2024|Canada|

The Qin Empire

The Qin Empire (大秦帝国之裂变) is a Chinese television costume drama that aired in 2009.

The Qin Empire

About

This is the store of how the Qin Empire restored itself from former glory by hiring outsider Shang Yang to implement a series of reforms.

This show has three seasons, we just watched the first, a total of 51 episodes.

Cast

Hou Yong (侯勇) as Duke Xiao of Qin
Born in 1967 now 56 years old, his first television appearance was in the year 2000 and then movies in 2002.

Wang Zhi Fei (王志飞) as Shang Yang
Born in 1965 now 58 years old, his first television exposure came in 1993 and in movies from 2011.

Review

This was most likely an ambitious project for the writers, actors and film crew especially to convey the scale of Qin and its army.

The story seemed solid although some left feedback that this was not quite like how things really went down.

The acting was good as it was bad. I would say 75% of the acting was good. The other 25% was really bad due to scenes of over acting which really spoiled much of the drama.

There was one actor who had an extreme character shift a quarter of the way into the series then within one episode grew up a couple of years and replaced by another actor who looked nothing like the first one. Totally bizarre.

Did grown men really kneel down crying uncontrollably when their leaders were sad or unhappy about something? Maybe they did back then but it was pretty annoying and too false.

When a large crowd in the army were starting to sing they were replaced by stock singers dubbed over them. A song that they repeated throughout the series. It was most likely impossible to organise such a large crowd singing on an outside broadcast so it may have been easier just to replace them with stock audio.

There was something wrong with the audio on the Netflix version we saw, the voices were just a little out of sync. Maybe they were dubbed but still speaking in Mandarin.

The show was definitely slow in spots with the conversation being irrelevant and I kept dropping off during those parts.

Summary

Well, despite my negative comments quite a few people did enjoy the series and overall got reviewed positively elsewhere. However, I will only give it 2/5.

Where to Watch

All three seasons can be seen on Netflix Canada but not sure where else it will be available.

2024-02-19T00:27:31+00:0019 February 2024|Review China|

Another Favourite Restaurant Closes

Tofun Pot was self-described as an Asian Fusion restaurant set in a small mall in South Surrey, British Columbia. I say “was” because all indications suggest that it is now closed for business which we are really sad about.

The menu included lots of different types of drinks and the food was mainly Korean. One thing on their menu that we hadn’t seen elsewhere was Army Stew. Budae-jjigae (부대찌개) contains many items including spam, noodles, sausage, kimchi and more. It is a very spicy dish, just a bit too hot for me. In restaurants the pot is bought to your table and cooks on a burner, although already part cooked.

When I ate there I couldn’t eat the Army Stew but would try one of the their other dishes, all were really good. We will really miss the restaurant.

2024-02-02T21:33:03+00:002 February 2024|Photo Gallery|

Journey to the West

Journey to the West (宇宙探索编辑部) is a Chinese comedy sci-fi movie that was released on 17 October 2021.

About

Tang Zhi Jun has believed in the existence of UFOs and aliens for years, however, he hasn’t had any sightings of such. He believes there is some interstellar meaning to the static in his teleivision. The newspaper he runs with some employees is not doing well and can’t afford the heating bill. Then a mysterious film emerges online, he along with a bunch of other misfits, go to investigate. Can the teenager with a cooking pot on his head bring him hope of an encounter?

Cast

Yang Hao Yu (杨皓宇) as Tang Zhi Jun
He graduated from the Performance Department at the Shanghai Theater Academy and is a very popular actor appearing in many films and TV shows. As I write this he is contracted for 7 new TV series and 2 new films.

Wang Yi Tong (王一通) as Sun Yi Tong
Not only did he star in the movie but he was also the co-screenwriter. He is also a director and editor. Pretty impressive.

Review

This movie was shot as a “fly on the wall” as though someone was doing a documentary on the UFO hunter and his team. That was quite an interesting perspective and may have been tough to do throughout a 2 hour movie.

The actors played there parts well, virtually everyone was quite off the wall. I think they employed extra’s in talking roles to appear in the movie, anyone in a village and some were very convincing.

The story was interesting and unique, very off the wall.

I feel the actors were really into their parts, especially the main character actor.

After an hour of watching the movie we were very bored, it was dragging so much. We then fast forwarded to the conclusion and it did have a surprising end. The movie was 1 hours 52 minutes in length, way too long for this story and they could have reduced it significantly to make it feel more punchy.

Ni Ni recommended this movie on her Instagram account, so it drew some attention because she is so popular. She said it wasn’t a science fiction movie but I guess only a small part of it was.

Summary

I will give this a 1/5, not a very good score I’m afraid but I was really bored. I did try to put a more positive spin on it.

2024-01-18T05:19:08+00:0018 January 2024|Review China|