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TVB’S new controversial drama, Master Of Play, is airing on Astro On Demand (Channel 921) from Monday to Friday at 9.30pm.
It’s about Kan Siu-nam (Adam Cheng), whose only desire is to be an accomplished stage actor.
After playing a murderer, he becomes interested in the case of a serial killer. Through a colleague, Esther (Maggie Shiu) he meets Ivan (Moses Chan) and his sister, Natalie (Aimee Chan). He notices that Ivan bears a striking resemblance to the serial killer.
Since its May airing, there have been numerous complaints (in Hong Kong) that the drama is too violent.
Case in point: In one scene, Ivan murders his uncle in a telephone booth and burns the body in the furnace before flushing the ashes down the toilet.
It’s not every day that you get to see fresh plots such as in When Heaven Burns and Master Of Play. So, when TVB does offer something as creative as this, I think we should just put our feet up and enjoy it.
Acting wise, there is tremendous improvement from the cast. Veteran actor Cheng’s Kan is in constant mind-battles with Chan’s character. Kan refuses to accept the fact that his daughter was kidnapped and killed 25 years ago, so he continues his search for her as he believes she is still alive.
At the same time, Chan manages almost single-handedly to bring his character to life. One moment he is Mr Nice Guy and the next, a person who takes matters into his own hands, a modern version of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
Another performance worthy of mention is Shiu who plays Esther, whose left hand was cut off by a serial killer (shown in the first episode). Although she survived the ordeal, the experience left her deeply traumatised.
But everything changes when she meets Ivan, who gives her new meaning in life. At times she feels as if she owes Ivan her life and that she’d would do anything for him — even committing murder.
Although we don’t get to see the “missing” limb, audiences are, nonetheless, shown the prosthetic, a robotic-like hand. At times it appears to be too fake (with one arm bigger than the other) and most times it just freaks me out. It reminds me of one horror-thriller film about a doll.
Barely halfway through the series, fans are dying to know what’s next. More bodies? Yes. Intriguing plots? Most definitely. But for now, let’s just enjoy the drama.