End of the Series Review: Tiger Cubs 飛虎

Even though it seems like I’ve given up on Tiger Cubs because I haven’t updated any recap on it, that’s definitely not the case. Since I’ve neglected so many episodes it just gets more and more difficult to go back, but here’s a pretty lengthy review which should serve as closure to the incomplete recaps.

The drama just ended and it’s SO good I want to scream. The satisfaction from the ending is abundant enough that I will forgive TVB for all their recent crapstatic endings (actually, not really). Augh, it’s such a package of awesomeness that I am sad to say goodbye.  But every ending is a new beginning, and there are words that a sequel or movie (or both, though I highly doubt it) is on its way. This could mean good news or bad seeing as how TVB has particular way of handling sequels.  Anyways, back to Tiger Cubs.

The Storyline

The profession of Special Duties Unit has been touched upon and mentioned in previous TVB dramas but never covered extensively as such.  It isn’t a fresh topic, you see, it’s hard to be creative with cops anything nowadays. But it is easily a topic that elicits excitement with all the action. It’s really hard to go wrong with a police drama at TVB, it’s practically always a hit. I feel like a broken record, but again, occupational dramas are TVB’s bread and butter. The action scenes are actually pretty impressive although I know they aren’t always the most realistic (see, I am easily impressed like that). I have my fair share of being in awe of Chuek Yuen’s (Oscar Leung) precision and Hon To’s (Joe Ma) heroic sequences.  The actors have said they usually perform the scenes on their own rather that enlist the help of stunt doubles.

In addition, the story arcs don’t drag on which makes the show very easy to follow.  A case ends within the week’s two episodes.  With that, I am pleasantly surprised by the reappearance of Do Tin Yu (extended cameo by Kenneth Ma). I’ve felt in the first episode that that storyline ended a little too rushed so I am glad the drama has something up their sleeves about that. Also, I admit to finding certain arcs a lot more interesting than others.  I can care less for, say, the plot about the group of wealthy heirs (episodes 8). Yet, no matter how indifferent I am, the action scenes are still entertaining to watch.

The Characters

Tiger Cubs is great in that it does a good job setting up the characters and their bonds.  I would think that the romance would be pushed aside in a drama so action centric, but our main couple gets flavorfully developed and not rushed.  I even love the familial bond between Cheuk Wah and Cheuk Yuen, so cute.  TVB usually doesn’t do well a simple lil’ thing called balance. But, in here, while the cases are intriguing the romance and bromance are equally compelling.  And who can say no to bromance? Tiger Cubs has lots of those (what, with 10+ men together, sweating and half nekkid? Ha.)  This drama is obviously a vehicle to put some of the new(ish) actors like Him Law, Vincent Wong, William Chak, Benjamin Yuen front and center.  Their acting are, understandably, green (some are more so than others), but it works for the drama with their freshness and energy.  On the other hand, experienced actors Jessica Hsuan and Joe Ma are lovely together and on their own, it doesn’t hurt that they have a nice budding chemistry. Oh, how I’ve missed these faces, so much that I even find their pairing fresh…even though this is their fifth TVB project together (and I’ve watched all of them).  Yeah, this is what TVB is doing to me with their use, resuse, rereuse, and rerereuse of actors and pairings.  Plot-wise, I adore the fact that their feelings build up gradually through mutual support of each other.  How appropriate is it that it’s Hon To who pulls Cheuk Wah (Jessica Hsuan) out of her slump due to her late-fiance.

I love that everyone gets their own set of back story and history.  I am amazed at how much background they manage to give a good majority of the characters even though we are running on a short 13 episodes length. It’s a shame that we still know very little to nothing about Tse Ka Sing (Benjamin Yuen) since I kinda like the actor since his Bing Chan role of this year’s most famous medical drama.

I don’t hide my favoritism towards Cheuk Yuen but my utmost favorite character is Mandy Wong’s So Man Keung.  How can you not have respect for this girl? So badass. She may be the only girl among the SDU team, but she is no damsel-in-distress, she holds up on her own.  And any girl who tries the challenge the male-female stereotype gets LOTS of brownie points in my book.  I am kinda sad that they spend so little time in developing her character and her fear of heights (uh, ok, how is she acrophobic when a few episodes ago, she raced Yu Hok Lai roping up a building?). Her open ending with Hok Lai doesn’t bother me since their interest and friendship is established, obviously if we have more episodes, they’re bound to end up a couple.  And more episodes is what we get from a sequel. Har.

While we are on my favorite character, let’s also talk about my least favorite (that’s a nice way to put it). And the title goes to none other than Ding Wai Wai (Christine Kuo).  I can’t tell if the character itself is just plain dull and meh, or if her acting just suck balls that her character doesn’t know how to be appealing.  Maybe a bit of both. Kuo is pretty, and that’s pretty much it.  I keep seeing resemblance of Aimee Chan in her, but who would’ve thought she also has the same crappy acting?

The Ending

Because drama conclusions have caused some backlash recently, the Tiger Cub ending warrants a section of discussion on its own. One word, kids: Awesome. Going into the drama’s final episode, I was wary because of this and this.  Surely, this show can’t end well in TVB standards  with a storyline more intense that the others, right?  But this show is Da Bomb. Not only does it give us a happy ending but also put us through the wringer by killing off one of the precious members we have grown to care for: Yau Chun Hin (Vincent Wong).  And you betcha he dies gruesomely (eep, the red hot rod was painful to watch!). More heart wrenching ensues as our beloved SDU team deal with the lost of a well-loved team member and friend. I may sound like a sadist for saying this but I am glad it was Yau Chun Hin that is scarified, he is important enough that we care, but he is not Hin To or Chuek Wah (or even Chuek Yuen, for me) that we will ninja the writer for killing him off.  In the end it works well for us. As I’ve mentioned before, I love that this drama brings back an old antagonist, Do Tin Yu, who’s become a more challenging bad guy.  I confess to holding my breath when Hon To was submerge under water with Do Tin Yu, yet a part of me knew the writer wouldn’t take away Chun Hin and Hon To. That wouldn’t be nice.

Some may question how Hon To escapes the bombing in the final scene with Do Tin Yu, and unscratched at that.  But how I view it is kind of like ending to Bat Man: The Dark Night Rises.  You’re not sure how Batman/Christian Bale survived, nothing is explained clearly, but you’re just glad he did.

I don’t how much more I can say to express my love this drama.  I think it is one of my top dramas of 2012 along with The Hippocratic Crush.  I love the latter just a bit more because I think it has a tad more heart, but Tiger Cubs is the snazzier drama. Of course, I am comparing an apple and an orange since ultimately they are quite different, both good in their own ways. The ending makes me so happy–me, being the eager supporter of happy endings–that I am very excited for the sequel (despite the fact that I should know better). I am devouring any news about a possible sequel and it looks like Joe Ma is on board and even Hsuan who has always been wary of sequels, is looking at the offer favorably. Big chance that it could happen, guys. Perhaps this isn’t goodbye, afterall. *Happy dance*


6 thoughts on “End of the Series Review: Tiger Cubs 飛虎

  1. To me, the last episode was a downer because of Chun Hin’s death, but after reading your post I feel like my faith in Tiger Cubs has been restored.

    I agree that Man Keung IS AWESOME!!!!!!!! I LOVE HER!!!! And of course I love the bromance & Chuk Yeun/Chuk Wah’s bond. Even though I felt like the cases & plot organization weren’t the best, the character development was done quite well.

    • Man Keung is so awesome, I want to be her when I grow up.
      It’s so sad you don;t enjoy the ending as much as I do, for you are my Tiger Cubs gushing partner-in-crime! Haha
      Not only do we have a mutual adoration of Man Keung, but a mutual despise of Ding Wai Wai.

      • Well I’m glad you were able to enjoy the ending. 😉 Ahahaha yeah even ’til the end I cannot bring myself to like Wai Wai. I really don’t get why she was even in the drama. On the other hand, MAN KEUNG = AWESOMENESS.

        • I must be blind because I can’t see what Cheuk Yuen and Hon To see in her!
          I really also don’t like the actress. And she’s everywhere! (x.x)
          Have you watched Ghetto Justice 2, she continues her Wai Wai streak of making me dislike her character. Bleh

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