Ohhh. I like what I’m seeing so far. While Chusen crawls at a snail’s place, TVB’s A Fist Within Four Walls is giving me the burst of adrenaline I need! What I love most is that we have several real martial artists in the house, plus the fact that the main leads and supporting characters all went through vigorous training to perform the required stunts. The result is some nice hand-to-hand action scenes! I miss those hic! hah! huh! sounds so much. Wuxia dramas from Mainland series are just not the same with heavy reliance on CGI and fancy shooting lights.
Dicky Cheung, I miss you.
A Fist Within Four Walls (城寨英雄) Episode 1 Summary:
Episode 1 is quick-paced and action-packed. I will only provide a brief summary and you can watch the action scenes for yourself. The setting takes place in one of the most dangerous neighborhood of Hong Kong in 1945 and is called Kowloon Walled City. It is a no man’s land and the government has no control over it. We meet the city before it falls into the hands of the local triads. We meet two Kung Fu Masters, both are Baji practitioners, Duen Tung Tin (Benjamin Yuen) and Chiu Meng Shan (Ruco Chan, right) when they eliminate triad followers from traumatizing the innocents. They grow fond within hours of knowing each other and become friends, vowing to take turns protecting the densely populated neighborhood from opportunistic gangs.
Unfortunately, a fire breaks out one day, and Tung Tin goes inside to check for more survivors, only to be found shortly after by Meng Shan in a mentally unstable state. He looks possessed and injured, and begins fighting wildly at his new friend. Meng Shan picks up his odd behavior and only fights to defend himself. After a few blows, just as Tung Tin’s younger brother arrives to the scene, Tung Tin falls over and dies on the spot. Meng Shan volunteers to be arrested and promises his wife and two young kids that he believes the law would clear his name. Alas, everything is a trap, set to take down two Kung Fu masters at the same time. Meng Shan is attacked in prison by three Kung Fu experts and one of them successfully slices his arm with poisoned claws.
Meng Shan escapes prison and makes it home to his wife and kids as they are being harassed by the Duen’s people. After sending away their son (Chiu Yeung, future Ruco) and daughter (Chui Ha, future unknown), Meng Shan and his wife are beaten to death in an embrace. Hard to watch. These people are worst than the triads! I know you’re angry but to beat them to death without a thorough investigation? Cruel.
More misery befalls the Chiu Family because the two siblings are separated after Chiu Yeung returns to check on their parents. His sister disappears and he’s forcefully taken away by Grandma Miu and raised in Macau for fifteen years.
1959. Kowloon Walled City has been completely taken over by the triads and people live in fear every day, following the motto of Don’t Know, Don’t See, Don’t Get Involved. For safety reason, our male lead Chiu Yeung goes by a different name, Chor Au Kuen, and he returns to the place where he lost everything in one day, hoping to find his younger sister. Despite his tragic past, he’s an honest and kind man, believing in the goodness of humanity, before realizing that the world has changed. For ten cents, he’s duped and given a rock in place of a bun.
“What has the world come to? This isn’t how the world is supposed to be!”
He then recognizes the footwork of Baji Kung fu and follows the sounds to the same warehouse where his father and Tung Tin fought their last battle. Practicing in the dark is Duen Ying Fung (Benjamin Yuen), Tung Tin’s now grown-up son.
A Fist Within Four Walls (城寨英雄) Episode 2 RECAP:
Turns out Ying Fung is at the warehouse because he wants to understand why and how his father died under Chiu Meng Shan’s attacks. The men stare at each other and Ying Fung tells the stranger to be careful and asks him to keep his practicing Baji here tonight a secret. He says his name but Kuen doesn’t seem to recognize the name of the kid he was so keen to beat as a little boy.
Next morning, he meets Yam Yam (Bella Lam), the young girl he saved last night with her gambling dad and she takes him to a popular hair salon to score a job as a night guard. With the lady boss still not up and Yam Yam gone to school, Kuen finds amusement in the fancy hair equipment and wig and tries to wash some towels, only to break the hanging bamboo stick with his brute strength. The sassy and loud-mouthed lady boss, Tiu Lan (Nancy Wu), walks in and immediately perks up at the thought of an early customer. She proceeds to slap shaving cream on his face and shampoo directly on his dry hair, all without letting him get a word in. As she starts to massage his scalp, he hurriedly says that he’s referred by Yam Yam for a job. At that, she jerks his head back with a force that tickles me so much. LOL. *CUE HIS SCREAMS IN AGONY*
They argue back and forth about the package deal of getting his hair done and he has no legs to stand on since he’s a stranger to this land. She also charges him for breaking her “precious” bamboo stick hangar. Now that he’s in debt, he has to find work, and Tiu Lan’s friend, Lau Tai (Zoie Tam), recommends door-to-door water delivery.
Lau Tai’s husband turns out to be the man who told Kuen about the dog-eat-dog world the city has become. He’s But Tak Liu (Jazz Lam). This is actually the perfect job for Kuen who’s on a mission to find his sister because it allows him to see all the nooks and crannies of the city in a short period of time. He accepts the job and refuses the outlandish charges for a city map and guide. Heh. When he gives up and asks for the cheapest version of a map, Tak Liu draws boxes onto a sheet… Kuen: “This is a MAP?!!”
Tak Liu: “That’s why cheap things aren’t good, and good things aren’t cheap.” I’m gonna like this bromance. HEE!
Back at the hair salon, Tiu Lan busies herself with styling the dance girls’ hair and make-up, only for them to smell a bad odor. Tiu Lan has a bad tooth and hasn’t been able to brush her pearls all week. Going to the dentist is out of the question because of the high cost so she resorts to an old-fashioned way to remove the tooth. Tying a string around her tooth to the door… Is she trying to give me nightmares? I hate going to the dentist as it is! Her method doesn’t work and now there’s a new smell… It’s durian. YUM!
From the fruit market next door, run by Thai business lady, Yuk Boh Fung (Yuen Qiu), and she’s eating it out on the street to get back at Tiu Lan for threading her rich hair (hair that grows on moles, my step dad believes this), leading to her dwindled business. They take turn jabbing at each other’s business like it’s a day-to-day chatter.
A rich man saunters into the hair salon and goes by the name of Brother Ha Moon. Judging by the way he leers at the girls and books the whole salon, he’s trouble. But his main attraction for this visit is to get his nasty hair washed by Yam Yam. Tiu Lan stands protectively between the two and later saves Yam Yam from being molested by pouring oil over his eyes and quickly strangles his face with a white towel, giving Yam Yam the leeway to escape (read: waste time trying to buy something at Boh Fung’s store.)
When the lackey tries to seize Yam Yam, Boh Fung steps in and even tells the nasty Brother Foon in his face to get lost. Tiu Lan intervenes then, and with a fake exaggerated expression in offense for her disrespect to Brother Moon, reveals that Miss Boh Fung’s son, Lung Shing Fu, is an underground Muay Thai fighter champion. Ah. She’s so smart.
After the nasty Brother Moon leaves, Yam Yam realizes what just happened and sincerely bows her head to both women. Boh Fung gruffly says, “You’re a troublemaker! Don’t come over next time.” It’s clear she’s touched and wanted to save the innocent girl. The grown women exchange a quick glance, both understanding the other’s intention. Aww! HECK TO THE YEA! Us girls have to stick together!
Dinner time. Everyone lives at Tiu Lan’s place. Lol. When the dance girls piss her off by saying she has no man, Tiu Lan chases them away. Now she’s missing fees for four mouths. An idea comes to her mind in the form of feeding Kuen. HAHA. He’s wolfing down the food, unaware he’s the piglet on a chopping fee board. He adds with a mouthful, “I can’t believe you’re so generous, Tiu Lan.” Oh you innocent dumbo. XD
Listening to the constant money talk, Tak Liu finally blows up at the unfair wages they have been getting. He introduces us to the three big gangs, 1) Opium Leader Kam (Vincent Lam,bottom left), 2) Strip Club & Brothels Owners – Nasty Brothers – Fung Chun Mei and Fung Ha Moon (we met him earlier), 3) Banker/Casino Owner Man Cheung (KK Cheung). Wow. I’m feeling the creeps up my spine!
That night, the toothache bothers Tiu Lan to the point of running around looking for ice. When someone hands her a soda, she quickly drinks it, only to look up and stare right in the face of a handsome man, dentist Ying Fung. He wants to take a look and she turns away, embarrassed. He picks up on her discomfiture and instead asks to feel her gum instead. He moves her chin towards him in a gentle gesture. Lol. Tiu Lan’s face! I wonder how many NGs this scene took. I would die laughing every 2 seconds.
When he finds the painful spot, he takes her wrist and leads her back to his dental office and insists on a thorough checkup. She shakes her head and he prods, “I don’t have X-Ray eyes. I can’t see if you keep your mouth closed.” She gazes up at him…and lets out a loud burp…along with the decayed tooth smell. LOL!
She says it’s embarrassing and tries to get up. But our handsome doctor gives out a tiny smile and gently guides her back down. He assures her, “So girls are really different from guys, their sweat smells good, their fart smells good, and even their breath smells good too.” Aww, you’re so sweet but I have the urge to run to the bathroom and puke! HAHAHHAA XD
Sweetened to death, Tiu Lan dreamily and obediently follows his instructions.
While Casino Leader Man Cheung attends his daughter’s graduation party in England, the Fung Brothers of Strip Clubs intend to take over his turfs. Oh yes, fight among your bad seeds and the good people shall win! That’s my wishful thinking okay.
With her blooming crush on the dentist, Tiu Lan visits his office with Lau Tai, with the excuse to pay for the fees. As they wait for his return, they notice that the candy factory shares the same room as the dental office. Nothing will stain Ying Fung’s image in Tiu Lan’s eyes and she thinks it’s a smart business move: give them candy, they get cavities, we get business!
Her attempt at romance is ruined with the arrival of the Fung Brothers’ lackeys to collect protection fees. They beat up Candy Maker Guy (name is Siu Chi) who seems to be mentally not right in the brain and he stumbles outside the office, grabbing Kuen’s attention and he rushes in. But it’s a two on one fight and he gets beat up too, while Tiu Lan and Lau Tai try their damn best to exit the place. They succeed after many tries (running around with their hands covering their faces, no less.)
Ying Fung returns and pays the Fung Lackeys obediently. One of them even spits in his face for good measure. Ouchhhh. Kuen watches the exchange in horror and grabs Ying Fung’s arm later. “You know Baji Fist. You could’ve stopped them. Why didn’t you do it?”
Calmly and collectively, Ying Fung responds, “This isn’t a kung fu school. It’s a dental office. You can’t ask a dentist to save the day with you.” Kuen doesn’t understand the reason behind his inaction.
“If one can’t help the bullied, what’s the point of learning kung fu?” No answer.
The dental family gathers around to eat and discuss the recent turf fights between Fung brothers and Man Cheung. They don’t know how they are going to make a living like this, paying protection fees twice a month. Ying Fung listens to their complaints with a grim expression.
He later burns incense sticks for his ancestors, recalling the stirring words Kuen told him earlier about knowing kung fu and doing nothing to help the weak. He confesses to his Junior Master that he’s angry at the troublemakers and himself. Junior Master compliments his restraints today and adds, “You must remember why Siu Chi ended up this way. Time is different now. You can’t fight the world with a pair of hands.” Oh ho, foreshadowing!
Gambling Dad and Yam Yam are brought to Nasty brother Moon in his den. OMG. I have a bad feeling about this. Someone save this poor girl, please. PLEASE.
The father brightens up when Brother Moon wants his daughter’s first night as a repayment and I almost bark when he allows the nasty bastard to take her and has the audacity to ask why he’s paying the Fung Brothers when he owes debts to Master Man Cheung. That’s your concern when your daughter is being molested by the creep??! You deserve to die. Don’t show up on my screen no more, I won’t recap your lines!
Elder Brother Fung Chun Mei (Carlos Ng), who dresses like an opera singer, steps in and claps at dad’s offering of his own daughter. “Good! To me, everyone is an outsider, except my younger brother. But to you, everyone is an outsider. I’m not even your match!” If the devil says that, you’re kinda below trash.
Yam Yam, shocked, stares at her dad in tears. You leave him, you hear me?!
Seemingly unaware of the chaos back home, Boss Man Cheung celebrates his daughter’s graduation with a few friends and can’t stop bragging about her education. His daughter is Audrey Or (Moon Lau) and she feigns sickness to leave with her dad. Once he’s alone, Man Cheung spares a worried glance. He knows of the ambush surrounding the restaurant and calls forward the help of Lung Shing Fu (Philip Ng). Oh hell yea. A real martial artist in the house.
Outside, Shing Fu in all black, struts down the dark alleys, keenly conscious of the attackers crowding his path as they all come bursting out at the same time. This is gonna be hot. He takes them all down using only his skills and strength. My man. He tells the boys to clear up the path. Moments later, Man Cheung and his pretty daughter exit the entrance and Man Cheung can’t help but smug at the oh-so-clean street that night. Shing Fu steps out of the shadows and they look at each other pointedly.
— END —
Kap: I’m sorry Ruco, but I need a moment to fan myself from the hotness of Philip Ng. I swear my heart only strayed for that 1 minute, man. One minute. Oh whatever, my heart is big and I’ll fit you all in there. *grins*
First off, I love, LOVE the cast (main and supporting). Ruco? Check! Nancy? Check! Philip? Check! Jazz? Check! I’ve been waiting forever for Ruco to pair up with Nancy and here they are. Both are such solid actors that I can’t wait to see the romance and angst fly off the charts.
I also love that both boys start out on the same foundation – losing their fathers in the same tragic way that will later push them to work together. One has the skills but has long lost the motivation to fight back, resigning to the fact that he, alone, can’t fight and change the world. The other one has the motivation and ideals, but lacks the skills to push forward. Once they start working together, the effect on the people and the lost hope in the walled city will be a sight to behold. Their underdog story has me glued for more.
Nancy’s role hasn’t revealed much yet but through the teasers, she’s not just your average hair salon owner either. CANNOT WAIT.