The Borderline

January 5, 2016

Original Title: 警界線

Country: Hong Kong

Format: TV Drama

Episodes: 17

Broadcast Year: 2014

Production Company: HKTV

Starring: Liu Kai Chi, Dominic Lam, Leila Tong, Lawrence Chou, Joman Chiang

My Rating:

Like everyone should probably know, watching a drama in one’s native language can be quite enjoyable. Or you might not even think about it because it’s often taken for granted. Such is the case for me and many Hong Kong TV viewers. There used to be a time when you would look forward to the next Hong Kong drama produced by TVB, a Hong Kong broadcasting network. But over the years, the quality of the dramas and actors have unfortunately declined leaving viewers no choice but to move their focus to overseas dramas like those from Korea or America. But a new TV network, HKTV, that promised to deliver quality shows to the public popped up in 2014. While they were not successful in getting a broadcasting license, they ended up doing over-the-air broadcasts via mobile device apps. And their first drama to air was The Borderline. Read on for my thoughts and review of this drama.

Synopsis

Choi Ying Yeung (Eagle) is a Hong Kong police sergeant known for his “Double Tap”, his signature gun-shooting skill in which he can hit a target with two bullets in the exact same spot. One day while picking his son up from school, he encountered a street gun fight and his son became crippled by a stray bullet. Ying Yeung swore to find the sniper and take revenge. While tracking down the sniper, he came across a corruption scandal involving his higher-up and a crime syndicate group named Pandora. When threatening to expose him, he got knocked out from behind and ended up in a long coma. When he wakes up, everything has changed. He has selective amnesia and can’t remember what happened, he is framed for the murder of his Inspector and is now on the wanted list, his wife divorced him for causing her miscarriage and his new higher-up is the (ex-)friend of the sniper he was trying to catch. Can he unravel the mystery of what happened and clear his name?

The Good

  • Cinematography
  • Interesting characters
  • Good actors

The Bad

  • Clichéd plot
  • Pacing was choppy and sometimes, moved too fast

Review

I was really excited to watch one of HKTV’s newest dramas! At first glance, The Borderline seemed really awesome. The show was beautifully shot with great cinematography; it really felt like I was watching a movie. The actors were great and I loved seeing sparks fly between characters. However after watching several episodes, I felt that the plot got a bit too crazy and clichéd. It felt like the story was made too complicated for no reason and many of the plot points were overused; you’ve probably already seen something similar in other dramas.

Spoiler alert! Click and read at your own risk.

The synopsis above is basically episode one in a nutshell. There was a time skip as well as amnesia at play in episode one alone which I thought was unnecessary. If you thought that was clichéd enough, wait, there’s more! They later bring in an evil twin. Not just an ordinary twin, but an evil twin. Really? I would’ve let it go if it was a multiple personality disorder but no, they just had to go with the evil twin.

Besides that, the pacing was a bit odd here and there. Sometimes I felt that it moved too fast when it could’ve slowed down for some exposition and sometimes, I felt that certain scenes were too draggy and could’ve used some fast-forward.

From left to right, Eagle, Siu Hoi, and Tyson. Photo © HKTV

From left to right, Eagle, Siu Hoi, and Tyson. Photo © HKTV

Now that I got over the bad points, let’s move on to the good! The series was generally entertaining and kept my attention for all of the episodes. There were several gun fights but for a police drama, I felt like there needed to be much more! I loved all the characters and how they made it a point to make everyone “grey”; there was not one character where you could say that he was 100 percent good or bad because all the characters have their own reasons for their actions. This aspect of the story was very realistic. So it was really interesting for me to see good guys overcoming the societal norm and befriending a “bad” guy and vice versa.

Eagle versus Lucky. Photo © HKTV

Eagle versus Lucky. Photo © HKTV

I especially liked seeing the contrast of Leila Tong’s character, Siu Hoi, a happy-go-lucky rookie cop with a heavy sense of justice warming up to Philip Keung’s character, Lucky, a big-boned arms trafficker with the personality of a child. All the actors did a brilliant job bringing their characters to life in this drama. I also enjoyed all the intense scenes between the cops and the “bad guys”, particularly Liu Kai Chi and Dominic Lam who are Hong Kong acting veterans.

Siu Hoi and Officer Yat Fei. Photo © HKTV

Siu Hoi and Officer Yat Fei. Photo © HKTV

All in all, The Borderline was a pretty enjoyable show with a broad spectrum of themes being explored. While there was action and gun fights plus some mystery thrown into the mix, there were also touching moments as well as funny scenes. This drama is currently available on YouTube in HKTV’s official channel in Cantonese and Mandarin. English subtitles are not available.

More Information: Wikipedia

If you liked this review, you might also like IRIS.
This is my drama review and is entirely opinionated. Your opinions may differ. Any offense caused by my rants and ramblings is unintentional. Thank you for understanding.
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