First Impressions: Speed of Life (TVB, 2016)

SpeedofLife_TVB_cover

Speed of Life (鐵馬戰車)

Cast: Kenny Wong, Benjamin Yuen, Natalie Tong, Sisley Choi
Length: 20 episodes
Producer: Andy Chan

I applaud anyone who is able to get past episode 5 of Speed of Life. I’ve been on the series for about two weeks and for the most part, have been watching it in half episode increments each time, more or less. Naturally, I have no affiliation for a show that’s centered a department that just maintains the status quo — it’s just not drama-worthy and a waste of resources. There’s nothing that interesting other than high statistics revolving around car accidents everyday around the world — but we already know that.

Besides, the series is terribly slow-paced, dramatized the wrong things, has poor character descriptions, procedural in nature, and too much screen time dedicated to the characters just gossiping, eating lunch, being afraid of their “devil” bosses, and waiting for the day to be over. The only thing that is more lazy most of the characters is the writing. Most of the time, it’s even slower than the regular TVB sitcom you watch.

Benjamin and Sisley were the casting reasons I wanted to give this a try and after 4.5 episodes, Benjamin and the theme song is the only motivation to continue. There has been so much criticism on Sisley, I’m not even sure if they’re really aimed at her acting or because every new actress gets some hazing. Every now and then, there’s a positive comment rolling around and perhaps those are Sisley’s fans trying to dilute all the criticisms. But fan or not, sometimes it’s just fun to play devil’s advocate.

Sisley’s acting isn’t to be solely blamed here because the script and her rookie character didn’t give her an adequate platform to show off her acting chops, even if she had any. TVB somehow always associate new actresses with “rookie” type roles. It was one reason Raising the Bar wasn’t too memorable for me — it spent more time promoting stars than actually telling a story. If you think about it, Stephanie Ho made a much more memorable performance in Gilded Chopsticks than in Bar. If anything, the rookie cop she is only reminds the audience what a rookie actress she really is. In this case, a negative and a negative doesn’t make a positive.

Imagine if Sisley had a more intelligent and likable lead role, she might not generate so much criticism. Even if she didn’t win people over with her acting at first, she can win some with the character. But if anything, I dislike the character here more than the actress. Plus, if TVB is serious about promoting her, it’s better for her to have a memorable supporting role in a bigger production than a leading role in a drama with a small audience. Then her career can take off with flying colors like they want it to.

My only comment on Sisley’s acting is that she can better control her voice when she yells. She also tends to drag her lines as she speaks them, in a way similar to Toby Leung. Other than that, the script makes for no opportunities for her to showcase any abilities anyway.

SpeedofLife_TVB_Benjamin_Natalie

I like any female that gives Benjamin a hard time here because he seems like the type of character who enjoys a challenge, which is the only source of excitement. Toby Chan and Natalie seems to do this, but not enough. Sadly, I don’t feel like Benjamin has rockstar chemistry with either actress.

Kenny’s aloof and seriousness worked in his favor for The Executioner, but it doesn’t mean role after role should carry that same personality. Seen as the strict and “playing by the rules” kind of boss, his character doesn’t have any elements for an attractive leading character. Now, there may be more to him and his seemingly dysfunctional family to be revealed later on, but there isn’t enough built-up so far for us to even care.

Like expected, the series doesn’t seem to have any overarching theme or meaning to it other than it being a procedural drama. The procedural drama idea works if the cases generate more suspense (like if it’s a murder or terrorist attack) but becomes lackluster when it’s about them writing up bad drivers or giving speeding tickets. What’s necessary to maintain a civil atmosphere for citizens isn’t always a good idea for a TV show. It’s also very slow-paced and after 4.5 episodes, there’s only been one case. They fill up the rest of the episodes with scenes of some of our most common daily activities like eating lunch at the cafeteria, gossiping, waiting for the clock to tick to call it a day.

I don’t see myself continuing this series for any reason. If anything, I’ll turn it on so my room won’t be so quiet. The slow-paced series doesn’t live up to it’s name, Speed of Life, as there is no speed and barely any life to it.

What do you think?

Anyone else gave this one a go? I would love to hear your thoughts, especially if you have watched further or feeling differently about it.

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