Jul 29, 2016

    TVB turns Line Walker hit into movie

    HONG KONG TV content provider Television Broadcasts has again adapted a hit series into a movie.

    More familiar to viewers as TVB, the company has turned its highly rated 2014 series Line Walker into a movie of the same name.

    It will premiere on Aug 11.

    Last year, two of TVB's most popular series, Triumph In The Skies - season 1 aired in 2003 and season 2 in 2013 - and Return Of The Cuckoo (2000) were both adapted into feature-length movies.

    The large fan following of these series is why they have been turned into movies.

    According to the producers, the 31-episode series Line Walker has so far been viewed almost 2.4 billion times on digital platforms - mainly mainland streaming sites - since it aired in August 2014 on TVB's Jade Satellite Channel.

    The fast-paced story and high-profile cast attracted a large number of mainland fans, winning it 8.1 of 10 on, the largest Chinese review site for movies, TV, literature and music.

    Besides TV actress Charmaine Sheh reprising her role, the movie also has Hong Kong A-listers Louis Koo, Nick Cheung and Francis Ng.

    The upcoming movie is about the double lives of undercover police agents, who are struggling to return to normalcy, while hunting for moles.

    Despite the series receiving praise, some viewers say parts of the plot do not work.

    The shortcomings will be fixed in the movie, says Jazz Boon, the film's Hong Kong director and also the series' executive producer.

    "The scale and budget of the movie is much bigger than the series. We have more resources and more time for filming so the movie will have a much better story," he said last week at a press conference in Beijing.

    Work on the movie began in Hong Kong in December and the crew travelled to Macau, Shenzhen in China and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

    However, such series-adapted movies often fail to do well.

    Triumph In The Skies raked in average box-office returns of 156 million yuan (S$32 million) during last year's lucrative Chinese New Year holiday. The movie was widely criticised for its storyline and characters.

    Return Of The Cuckoo, which grossed just 42.6 million yuan, was also panned for its plot, which is about the protagonist being diagnosed with cancer and reuniting with a lover.

    Said Yu Ruoran, a Beijing-based critic: "Hong Kong TV series were very influential in the mainland in the 1980s and 1990s but have lost some sheen in recent years."