Captain of Destiny 張保仔 TVB Review
Captain of Destiny 張保仔 Review
Basic Overview: Captain of Destiny is a historical fiction/sci-fi drama of TVB. It is a time travelling
series where Wong Tai Mui (Grace Chan) who lives in Hong Kong 2015, goes back to the Qing dynasty. Wong Tai Mui is a Hong Kong policewoman who got stationed at Cheung Chau. There, she encounters a criminal mastermind, Bowie (Ruco Chan) and during a motorboat chase, she gets sucked into a waterspout and travels back in time. There she meets a group of pirates including Cheung Po Tsai (Tony Hung), Cheng Yat (Lo Lok Lam), Shek Gui (Maggie Shiu), etc. The story basically unravels from there and talks about conflicts between the pirates and the Qing army and journey of Wong Tai Mui trying to go back to 2015. Along with that, there are other stories like in the palace about prince Man Ho/the 11th prince (Ruco Chan), Imperial Consort Yim (Elaine Yiu), Imperial Consort Shun (Susan Tse), the Jiaqing Emperor (Lau Kong), or in Macau with Chu Suk Kwan (Mandy Wong) and Wong Yat Hin (Joel Chan). Later on, Mui is caught in a love triangle between Cheung Po Tsai and Man Ho and other complications arise. A lot of stuff happened, but we don't wanna go too detailed in case someone hasn't watched it yet or finished.
Thoughts from Cee:
For me, Captain of Destiny was enjoyable overall but it created a lot of frustration. As a viewer, of course I am watching this just for entertainment and I should be "ignorant" to the stupid mistakes but this just transcends the normal plot holes that I ignore in movies. That aside, let's talk about the good stuff first.
The fact that TVB went out of it's way with all the CGI just shows you that there is emphasis on those scenes. TVB did not fail in this department. I had expected it to be not that great since it's TVB I can't expect Hollywood special effects but this was good for me. The one significant battle scene was very well done. I noticed at the end credits that there was a special fire/pyrotechnics group, so they must've had some experience in doing this. That aside, I did not like the underwater scenes between Tony and Grace. Those were really fake and their hair didn't flow naturally and a lot of other things bugged me about this scene.
Plot wise, it was... I mentioned talking about the good stuff right? Okay, then let's move on to characters.
The titular character, Cheung Po Tsai was not really how I expected him. I feel like Tony's portrayal of this character dumbed him down a lot. I do understand that Tony accepted this role had to film it right away so it seems like the only way to portray a character without getting scolded too much was to make it simpler for yourself as an actor. In some scenes I like Tony better than Ruco, and I know a lot of people will disagree, maybe let me rephrase this. I liked Cheung Po Tsai better than 11th Prince sometimes because he connected more to me than 11th Prince did. 11th Prince was too harsh for me in the beginning and I guess that his first impression made me kind of back off from his character. It seemed really irrational too, like he would scold people for the littlest things. He's a prince so he has that ability so it's understandable I guess... but the fact that he changed so drastically after meeting Wong Tai Mui is kinda weird for me. (Never mind about the good stuff first) I guess that's how love works then, you meet someone who is rude to you despite your identity and somehow their scolding turns into love and of course, confessing has to happen when he's drunk because if not, this strong prince won't admit his faults and love for others. The parts when Tony gets heartbroken by Grace are much more real, (not really because of Tony's portrayal) but because we see him fall in love with Grace and confess to Grace in front of all the pirates. We see him hide behind a wall and see her kiss Ruco and for me, that was so sad and in that moment, Cheung Po Tsai was so human. He was not an almighty pirate anymore, he was one of us and in my opinion he was more of a man than Ruco for confessing his love to her in front of everyone while Ruco had to do it drunk and alone. That is just for the two characters. The whole pirates are innocent thing did not make me happy and I won't elaborate. It's just because they're supposed to be bad yet they have stories and it's just confusing. Of course, I am being hypocritical by saying I like the fragility of Tony but come on, I am human so I have flaws and will side with Tony in this matter.
The plot I will skip. Jay has more to say on this topic. I know that this was very brief and it sounds like I'm just ranting. I just want to get a few points across here for the characters. We do have more sections of this review for other parts, so this is just my thoughts.
Thoughts from Jay:
It was definitely cool to see this type of drama from TVB with the pirates and CGI and everything. I feel like there were a lot of stories going on and they tried to put a whole bunch of elements into the thing like pirates, palace competition, huge battles and military, time travel, modern criminal investigation, astrology with Eunuch Lai (Elliot Ngok), Wu So-na's (Oceane Zhu) witchery-sorcery-creepy critter-poisoning powers, Western aspects in Macau, etc.. etc., etc. If they eliminated one or two things, the story may have been better.
There were a lot of characters as well, but a lot of them didn't have enough development to make them stand out too much like Wong Yi (Eric Li) or Cheng Yat. The only person who went through more development was Man Ho, oh and Mui but she was developed to become more and more ANNOYING. I also felt the pirates were really ridiculous and trying to be funny with their comments. Cilla Kung's character as Wong Wing-yu was pretty much useless except for screaming a whole lot and she was introduced so late in the drama. Ruco Chan as Man Ho was really good and it is one of his best roles yet. He did very well in portraying two characters; Bowie and Man Ho and they were very different characters which shows Ruco's versatile ability.
One of the things that really upset me was that even though Mui is from the future, her knowledge of the future does not help with anything and she just caused trouble instead. She didn't even use her tablet/iPad to do anything like take pictures except read about her ancestry. She could have done so many cool things to make her useful but all she did was scream in happiness when she saw chocolates. What a waste... and especially as a police, all she cared about was herself which makes me think how she even qualified for the job. This made her character really unlikable in the first place and add Grace's poor acting, it was pretty bad. Grace was actually more natural in Raising the Bar, so she really needs to work on these inconsistencies and perhaps stick to more modern dramas for now.
I found Kelly Fu as Ha Sim much more bearable. Tony's acting was alright and managed to do fine, but alongside of actors like Ruco, of course it still needs improvement. But the series shouldn't be called Cheung Po Tsai, he isn't really the most "main" character. Joel, Mandy, and Elaine's acting was pretty good as well. The special effects were pretty impressive for TVB and I did overall enjoy some of the scenes as well. If you aren't too nit-picky about watching dramas and just let the thing play out, the series would be fine to watch.
We wanted to see more of a meaner side from the pirates but they did serve as a comedic relief from the intense palace scenes. We thought that the pirates were gonna be gross and steal and abuse people but they were the exact opposite. They were portrayed as the nice people and the Qing Dynasty people were the mean ones ruining their lives. This is not a dark and scary drama, so we understand that part of it.. we think. Or maybe we are just justifying for it even though it's so dumb :( We weren't expecting too much from it in the first place so maybe that's why it ended up being alright. With the weak cast and emphasis on the CGI, we knew that something would have to be sacrificed and of course, the plotline is kinda.. not too good lol. Grace pissed us off a little bit... OR SHALL WE SAY A LOT? She defied our expectations, AND THIS WAS NOT IN A GOOD WAY. The crazy way her eyes would bulge at the thought of going back to Hong Kong in 2015 through the storm. This type of character is hard to portray, especially with the dilemma of the love triangle so a more experienced actress would have fared better. But thinking about it now, the character itself was just so stupid. Who would actually run around and scream and hug themselves about random little things?? In the end, this is definitely not the best drama that TVB has broadcasted but for this year... it's been one of the better ones (wink, wink, Romantic Repertoire, The Fixer, My Spiritual Ex-Lover).
Favourite scenes and LOL or WOW times:
1) When Imperial Consort Yim and Shun got poisoned by the emperor. This scene was funny for us because they finally admitted their faults and revealed each other's intention. We were surprised to see Shun be cunning and manipulative as well. It was funny to see them address each other as sisters as they departed to die and even held hands.
2) The Slow Boat Home reunion especially with Evergreen Mak being Raymond Wong with the hat and the nasty looking wig. We didn't realize the Slow Boat Home characters until the theme music rolled in.
3) Again, same kind of deal with Raymond Wong's cameo. This pretty much implies that Raymond is the real Cheung Po Tsai or they found a new leader (dai lo) or something like that.
4) Fok Yee Tai seeing the gun in Ruco's office when he thought that Ha Sim killed his son! This was super funny for the both of us. What's even more is when he was trying to find his stamp or whatever and pulled out the little kids toy from his sleeve and started wailing like a baby. He yelled back at Ruco about how he didn't give two cents what the army was going to do, he just wanted revenge and RAN OUT OF THE OFFICE SAYING 逢佛殺佛, MEANING THAT IF HE RUNS INTO THE BUDDHA, HE WILL KILL THE BUDDHA or that he will not stop at anything to kill Ha Sim!!!
5) When Cheung Po Tsai was going to show Grace the coral reefs they once saw in the Qing dynasty and they dived into the water in modern times, it was really funny because they end up swimming in trash and plastic bags, as a result of the litter nowadays. The whole coral reef thing looked like it was ripped off some discovery channel video too!
6) Also this little part when Cheung Po Tsai drinks the nail polish and farts and then his two subordiantes/mates are like. BO YEH LAI SEE!!! 保爺拉屎!!! Also, it was funny when 保爺's sky lantern came right back down all burnt up after he wished for marriage or whatever.
7) Our favourite scene has to be the epic battle scene. It was super intense with the Man Ho's canons and arrows firing out at the ships and Po Tsai at a lost of words seeing all his "brothers" die. Great effects once again, with the blown apart ships, explosions, etc. We would have liked to see more of those. During the opening when they played a theme song, they showed when Man Ho and Cheung Po Tsai's stop in midair fighting and their blades clashing and then Mui falls to the scene with her police attire and aims her gun. However, we don't think we saw that in the drama which was disappointing because it looked like a cool and intense scene.
DOES NOT MAKE SENSE PARTS
1) As many people have mentioned, Grace's guns had unlimited bullets which was stupid. it seemed like she relied on the gun for everything. Her tablet also never ran out of battery until the 25th episode or something like that and there was 5% left but after, she still used it to the end of the drama. We need one of those super tablets! Her backpack, also, didn't get wet after entering the waterspout and falling to the ocean and the contents inside were still in perfect condition!?
2) Why didn't she ever take any souvenirs or pictures of her adventure in Qing dynasty? It would have been normal for anyone to do so and even if she forgot Po Tsai in Hong Kong, she could look into her "waterproof" backpack and say "Oh yeah, there are pictures on my tablet or souvenirs. I must of actually forgotten about something." But no, she was just like "I don't know who you are so GET OUT or I'll charge you for sexually abusing me" to CPT. It would have been normal to understand her reaction since she forgot but who wouldn't take a keepsake back to the future? Like ummm.... YOU JUST TIME TRAVELLED and it ain't everyday you can do that!
3) When Mui told the 11th prince, "I feel the same about you and CPT actually". Why would you tell him that when you're about to leave at last minute? And so what do you mean? DO YOU LIKE THEM BOTH OR NOT LIKE THEM BOTH OR THINK THAT BOTH OF THEM ARE FRIENDS? But then again, you never trusted him in the first place... and isn't love about trust too? SO.. WHAT IS SHE DOING? She just kept interrogating Ruco for stupid reasons! She didn't seem to have this problem with CPT, but isn't he the pirate that's supposed to be immoral? And in the beginning she kept screaming at him and saying that he was a ruthless guy who just stole from people and raped women... like? WHERE IS YOUR LOGIC?...??? But after she heard the stories from the priates and immediately agreed that the Qing people were the bad ones. As a policewoman, shouldn't you analyze both situations and not be so biased? So yeah. There you have a glimpse of our frustration with this simple quote.
4) Why did Man Ho even KNOW that he had a grand x4 son/future relative Bowie and how did he know his Chinese name and everything? Mui didn't even know that Bowie was related to Man Ho until she read the letter from Ha Sim with CPT and that was after everything. She just thought that they looked alike but never told anyone. And if she learnt if from Ha Sim and Man Ho, who told Man Ho? Like where did Man Ho get the info about Bowie at all if even Mui didn't know? That part REALLY DIDN'T MAKE ANY SENSE!
There are probably a bunch more parts where it did not make any sense but that's all we're posting for now! Hoped you enjoyed the review and our opinions. If you have any scenes you enjoyed or disliked, let us know by commenting!