|Po was an interesting villain, very smooth and collected. He did not let his emotions get the better of him, as he stayed focused on the daunting challenge he was after. Roger let his body language and his innocent look take hold of the character with a passionate yet violent inner spirit. Not just armed with good dialogue, he was able to speak in Chinese in the episode. That helped in his development of adjustment to the world he now lives in. It fleshed out his character and his struggle to adapt, something Roger pulled off very well. With a certain grace to him, his fight scenes were almost non-existent. It seems most of the projects he has done have used him for his fighting skills, and he rates right up there with Jackie Chan and Jet Li. However, the rare project comes along that want him because he is an eloquent and under-rated actor. Brimstone allowed him to show this talent, and did not take the kung-fu route for the character or the episode.
Talking about talent on screen, I have to say that Rosalind Chao was an unexpected surprise to see on this show. Perfectly cast as the teacher who has caught the eye of the dangerous Po, she brings the best blend of intelligence and charm to an otherwise regular character. She has a great chemistry with Peter Horton and it showed in every scene they had. The sub-text and friendship they developed on screen fight very real and personal. It is not like a love interest, but two people who truly became friends out of a completely weird situation. This added another dimension to an already solid episode established in the writing and the performances. My only complaint was that they did not have as much screen time together, but then again Po was on his journey as well.
I will not overlook the obvious. Strong acting, strong writing, great concept, executed meticulously, what went wrong? Nothing, absolutely nothing, it was the production design and set decorating the brought everything into focus. The well-established blue and bleached look is a trademark of this series but the clashing of colors occurred towards the end and it was beautiful. Anytime you see that bright color, after watching the entire episode and only getting small bits with brilliant color, you almost have emotional response when it just explodes. The red banners in Po's hideout, we caught a glimpse of half way through, but in the end we were exposed to the room all at once. You may not notice your expression or reaction, but it is beautiful. The reds in all of the banners, the yellow in the bamboo sticks and shoots, and the decorating and design was very original and creative. I have only recently begun to appreciate this kind of behind the scene work. Production designers actually design sets, sometimes several as well as designing props.
It is up to the set decorators to fill the empty set with items that fit with the character and lifestyle. They have to, basically, pick the best layout for a room, pick the right lamp and put it in the right place. Yes, there is a right place for a lamp, and it has to been a certain kind of lamp. If a director does not like it, they clean the room and start all over again. Its more work to make everything right, even if you only see part of the room for all of a few seconds. I would say the Production Designers and Set Decorators did a masterful job of creating a true apartment and hide out for Da Ming Po. It was very symbolic of his character, quiet and normal to the world but inside fueled by a passionate fury. The crew has done a beautiful job the entire series, and I hope I can give some credit to as many of them as possible as they are all truly deserving of the attention. True talent always brings out the best in a series.
Copyright 2002 - DrkAngel_113
No redistribution or reproduction without my expressed permission.