Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Fist Within Four Walls (2016)

Finished watching this last night. I think it's one of the best recent series TVB ever made. Although I don't know each series TVB have made, I rarely met one like this. In the 1980's I remember there were quite a few series like this one, but it is rare these days. I think TVB lately made lots of drama/comedy series, police themed series, but not one with fist fighting.

The original title should be 'Walled-city Heroes' - which I like better than the English title. In the beginning of episode 1 it was explained the background of the situation. I must say I enjoyed the explanation. I remember the Donnie Yen movie 'Chasing The Dragon' also situated in the walled city, but I don't remember if they also gave the background - other than the large scale of corruption.

It was explained here how the walled city became a no man's land. After Qing's defeat in the two opium wars, Hong Kong Island and part of Kowloon were ceded respectively to Britain. Then under pressure, Qing leased to Britain the New Territories and the rest of Kowloon. However the Qing Court fought hard and excluded the Walled City from this. So in the following years, the walled city was left with no government. It was independent of colonial rule (Britain), but Hong Kong police also could not get in. Criminals wanted to take the walled city over and residents had to stand up for their own protection.

The story in this series began in 1945. Duen Tung-tin of Duen Style Baji [Baji fist = eight-extremities fist] and Chiu Meng-shan of Chiu Style Baji protected the walled city from criminals. In a chaos following a fire, Duen Tung-tin was murdered, but the only witness pointed Chiu Meng-shan as the murderer. Chiu Meng-shan insisted that he was innocent so he agreed to be taken to a police jail outside the walled city. In the jail, he was ambushed by three men, so he returned to his home in the walled city. The residents thought that he broke jail, so they bludgeoned him and his wife to death. Chiu Meng-shan's two children, a boy and a girl, ran away. The boy was taken by the grand-aunt to Macau, but the girl was missing.

Fifteen years later, the boy, who by then had changed his name to Chor Au-Kuen, returned to the walled city in order to look for his lost sister. He met with Duen Tung-tin's son, Duen Ying-fung, and they became friends. They stood together to protect the residents from the 3 criminals who ruled the walled city: one sold opium, one had gambling houses and one in the prostitution business.

Beside the 3 criminals, there was also a group of mysterious killers. They also had to find who had murdered Duen Tung-tin and framed Chiu Meng-shan. As for the why, it was easy to guess.

I like all the characters in this series. Even Miss Audrey was worth watching, she was not very spoiled and was strong. If there is something I hate, perhaps it was Tiu Lan's lipstick colour... but maybe in the early 60's it was common. I also think if a woman has a defected heart, it's very dangerous for her to give birth. So I was at lost when Kuen expected many children from her.