HK Dramas

[Review] Doom +5: What if the world is ending in 14 hrs?

Overview: Did I just give away the ending? But seriously, as a drama based on an ‘end of the world’ premise, Doom+5 had a mountain to climb. It sure is a depressing subject matter. However, the 5 standalone stories were thoughtful, engaging with solid acting. I did get an uneasy feeling at the end of it all though. It’s probably not something I will watch again but it’s definitely another high quality production from HKTV.

BASICS

Name: Doom +5 (末日+5)

Country of Origin: Hong Kong

Length: 5 episodes (45 mins each)

Original broadcast period: 15 June 2015 to 19 June 2015

Story Outline from AFSpot.net – translated by llwy12

January 23rd, 2017.  While all of Hong Kong’s 8 million citizens are still immersed in their own thoughts of whether the stock market will achieve a new high, still continuing to struggle over whether their love relationships will blossom, still striving and persevering in their daily jobs, 5 ordinary citizens – strangers who have nothing to do with one another – discover the same secret that the government has been hiding:  at 11:45pm that night, the world will come to an end and no one will be spared!   When people discover that they must start ‘counting down’ to the end of their lives and there are only 15 hours to live, will they descend into desperation or will they be consumed with sheer madness?!?!

 

As Doom+5 has five separate stories, which had nothing to do with each other. I’ll talk about them separately. Although I was wondering the news was leaked to 137 people, and after the psychological evaluations only 9 of them were allowed back to the outside world? Scary.

Story 1: Commitment

Cast: Philip Keung

I only list one cast member in this story because Philip Keung’s character Law Dai Wai pretty much carried it. (As you would expect from a single story of 40+ minutes.) As a movie producer, Dai Wai made many promises – to aspiring actresses, loan sharks, ex-girlfriends and even his own mother… but he broke all of them. In the last 15 hours of his life, he did everything he could to fulfil his mother’s simple wish – a meal with her two sons.

Through his last few movies and HKTV dramas, I’ve grown to really like Philip Keung as an actor. He is so physically intimidating and he does get typecasted into those mafia boss type roles but he’s just as effective in comedy or as a tough guy with a soft heart. In here, he plays to his strengths which makes this episode more enjoyable. Maybe it’s because I didn’t know what to expect with this drama, so I have fonder memories of this episode than the others. It’s nothing new nor surprising but I felt it was a simple story told in a touching way.

Story 2: Resurrection

Cast: Poon Chan Leung

HKTV’s own drama productions might only have lasted for less than a year, I’m just so glad they brought Poon Chan Leung to the small screen. A veteran and very known as a stage actor, every time I see him I don’t recognise him. I probably won’t categorise him as ‘handsome’ but he definitely is charismatic. I just want to watch anything he’s in! The second story is the most complex one of all, and I still don’t really understand it. All I can say is, Lee Yat Choi (Poon Chan Leung) wakes up AFTER the end of the world to find it desolated. As he tries to find out whether anyone else is left on Earth, he meets a few people he wronged during his lifetime.

I found this episode the most difficult to watch. It was really creepy seeing the completely empty streets. (If you’ve been to Hong Kong, you’ll know it’s a city that never sleeps!) Lee Yat Choi is self-centred, and based on the limited information we had on him, is just not all that likeable. But somehow, he ‘survives’ the end of the world but comes face-to-face with a few people he might not want to see, including the father he didn’t care about, or the wife he cheated on numerous times… The story offers the audience something to reflect upon. However, it’s definitely not something I’ll watch again, it just creeped me out!

Story 3: Monica

Cast: Mimi Kung, Cherry Pau, Vivian Lee

This story seems to be the sentimental favourite because it follows lead character Mei Ling (Mimi Kung), who spends her last hours searching for a school friend she lost contact with years ago. This episode is mostly told via flashback, to the time when all the schoolgirls were either listening to Leslie Cheung or Alan Tam (late 80s/early 90s). To a time when two friends grew close but eventually broke apart because of a guy… Again, there’s nothing new to this story but there’s definitely a sense of nostalgia. I must admit I don’t really identify with this era (not trying to say I’m young here, I was more of the Four Heavenly Kings era LOL – only a few years apart) and saw that plot twist coming. 😛

I guess overall it is still a well told story, it’s just that by the 3rd episode, I was starting to feel wary towards this ‘end of the world’ theme. It’s like going through that ‘countdown to destruction’ over and over again and it’s starting to dampen my mood for this drama.

Story 4: Betrayal

Cast: Alan Luk, Bond Chan

I love this cast! Alan Luk and Bond Chan were both (extremely) underutilised at TVB and given that TVB is seriously lacking in talent at the moment, you wonder how they could let these two go. Alan plays George Leung, a lowly bank manager with a dominating wife and a total lack of assertiveness. He always wished he could be more like his childhood friend To Tung (Bond Chan) who is mischievous, adventurous, a bit of a bad boy – his complete opposite. When George learnt the world is ending, he finds his old friend and hopes to achieve his final wish – to get laid! (Since the only woman he ever slept with was his wife!)

The best thing about this episode was the chemistry between Alan Luk and Bond Chan. It was pretty obvious who To Tung really was but their scenes together provided a lot of comic relief. I wish this could be a full blown drama known as The (Mis)Adventures of George and To Tung or something like that.

Story 5: Guardian

Cast: Gregory Wong

My 男神!!! (that’s the male version of goddess LOL) As a bit of a shady character, Cheung Tze Lok (Gregory Wong) seeks out a former girlfriend and finds out he has a daughter. As his daughter thinks he is a policeman, Tze Lok goes to great lengths to find a police uniform and tries to fulfil his daughter’s wish, to take a picture with him in his uniform so she can show her classmates she has a father.

Another ‘typical’ story of finding the people you care about in your last hours and redeeming yourself, having Gregory Wong as the lead saved this episode otherwise it would’ve been quite dull. I’m just glad to see him on the screen again. 😛 I really don’t have a lot to say about this ep because I must admit I wasn’t paying that much attention to it by the end. I’ll explain below.

 

Overall

With short stories you never really expect too much. Even if it’s good, you’re left yearning for more and that’s not a great feeling either. But I kept wishing they would have an extra episode or even 5 minutes just to tie it all back up – some scenes of the Chief Executive (Sunny Chan in its only HKTV series) and his staff on how they’re coping with this crisis etc. Everyone looked so calm! As I said previously, it’s not a drama I will watch again but if you’re looking for something short (but not sweet) and like the actors, then it’s worth a look.  

 

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