Tuesday, April 08, 2014
Storm in a Cocoon Review
Producer: Leung Choi-yuen
Genre: Mystery, family
Cast: Steven Ma, Tavia Yeung, Evergreen Mak, Maggie Siu, Natalie Tong
I’ll admit I thought Storm in a Cocoon would have the cliché family infighting storyline. The series turned out to a pleasant surprise. It had an excellent cast and a solidly written plot. The series is essentially divided into two parts: a whodunit mystery for the first 20 episodes and then “property protecting”, as the Chinese title suggests, for the last 12 episodes.
The mystery part was very intriguing and suspenseful. There is a long suspect list as everyone seems to have something to hide. It was fun crossing off the names along with Ka Yeung (Steven) and Bing Bing (Tavia) in the series. With each crossed-off name, a new secret is exposed and a new direction must be taken. The whole story was woven together masterfully, with each clue, secret or partial flashback leading the audience to think that one person did it, but there turns out to be a very logical explanation for their actions. As a rule, the ultimate culprit will be the least unexpected one. Overall, a delightful segment to watch.
The second part of the series reverts to a power struggle and revenge story. While it is a classic set-up, this series manages to throw in many creative plot twists to keep the audience on the edge. Unfortunately, the scriptwriters run out of creative juices a little too soon and put together a finale that rips-off Titanic and TVB’s own Beyond the Realm of Conscience. It is still a good part two to follow up the thrilling mystery.
The series features a strong cast, anchored by Stevia. Steven and Tavia undoubtedly share great chemistry, this being their fourth partnership. They are a couple that balked against all tradition and adversity. Their deep love is apparent with the way they interact and look into each other’s eyes. As for their individual performances, Steven does an excellent job portraying Ka Yeung, a man who was forever changed by his experiences in the military. He is able to show that inner turmoil in the scenes where he is alone. Meanwhile, I didn’t like Tavia’s loud-mouthed character in the beginning, but thankfully, she tones it down when she was put in charge of the silk factory. I love the scene where she collapses against the wall, crying. It shows how despite her fortitude, she is still, at the very heart, a woman deeply affected by her husband’s absence.
In contrast, Evergreen Mak and Maggie Siu were a couple that was unable to survive through the adversities. They are both strong veteran actors who were able to display this tragedy on-screen. However, Evergreen lacked presence until he turned evil. Even then, he didn't give off an evil vibe, but that could be because his character isn't really evil at the core. Maggie, on the other hand, was brilliant in portraying a woman who is both strong and weak – strong in defending her sorority against harm, but weakened by her love for Evergreen. In the end, her character was useless in preventing his misdeeds and died an unnecessary death.
Matt Yeung and Natalie Tong were a side story, though they had their cute moments. Matt excels in these shy, boy-next-door roles. Yeung Chiu Hoi was decent being a traumatized younger brother. Stephen Wong is suitable as a villain. Akina Hong had many layers in her performance of a very interesting character. KK Cheung makes a great villain and he even had the local accent (Shunde is actually his native town). All others unmentioned are okay, but no standout performances.