TVB’s The Unholy Alliance <同盟> is kind of disappointing. To be fair, the drama did have a lot of weight to hold on its shoulders—it’s not easy to live up to the hype of A Fist Within Four Walls <城寨英雄>, which was not only 2016’s Drama of the Year, but also the drama that got all four of its leads Ruco Chan (陳展鵬), Nancy Wu (胡定欣), Benjamin Yuen (袁偉豪), and Grace Wong (王君馨) to snag some of the biggest trophies at the TVB Anniversary Awards.
And that’s a lot of pressure to live up to.
The Unholy Alliance, which features much of the same cast and crew that created Four Walls, is seen as a modern “sister version” of the 2016 period drama. Like Four Walls, The Unholy Alliance is comedic and packed with action. While Four Walls was inspired by kung fu comic books, The Unholy Alliance drew inspiration from Hong Kong and Hollywood-style action films.
It was supposed to be a promising series. TV King and Queen Ruco Chan and Nancy Wu return as the star couple. Four Walls veterans KK Cheung (張國強), Jimmy Au (歐瑞偉), and Jazz Lam (林子善) are back to hold onto the show’s backbone. The Unholy Alliance is also Film Queen Nina Paw’s (鮑起靜) first television drama with TVB. A look into any episode in this drama and one can see that this drama wasn’t an easy project to do—there’s nonstop fighting and nonstop action. Nina Paw had to take shooting lessons for her role. Ruco Chan and Nancy Wu are now more fit than they ever were in Four Walls. Jimmy Au gets the nickname “Hong Kong 007.” Even TVB artists like Elaine Yiu (姚子羚) and Joel Chan (陳山聰) are being treated in a different light—who knew they could be our next action stars?
The Unholy Alliance had the formula to be the year’s biggest show, and though it’s faring well in ratings, it isn’t exactly getting very popular. Critics aren’t really liking it, and netizens are even more disappointed by it.
So what went wrong?
According to critics, one of the show’s major failures is the story and script. Whenever Ko Tsz-kit (Ruco Chan) and Yuen Tsing-yan (Nancy Wu) get in a physical brawl, it usually turns into something pretty sexual. The characters throw sexual innuendos at each other so much viewers no longer find their relationship interesting. Crude jokes can be very funny, but if the same kind of jokes are being told over and over again, the novelty and shock value gets lost.
The show’s dialogue isn’t very smart, and the story itself is mediocre at best.
This show has talent. Nina Paw is playing the strongest character she has ever attempted on television, and Jimmy Au is once again proving netizens that he deserves to win TVB’s Best Supporting Actor.
But you know it’s becoming a waste of talent and resources when the only thing viewers can remember from the show is how many times Elaine almost gets into a wardrobe malfunction whenever she’s fighting some bad guys.
It’s an honest disappointment.