Legend of Lu Zhen: Let Us Be Equal

20130513152559_vG2Ef.thumb.600_0-2.jpeg

Since I like my drama heroines to be strong-willed and smart, I decided to check out Legend of Lu Zhen. This drama tells the journey of the first female prime minister of China. Lu Zhen, played by Zhanilia Zhao of Shan Shan Comes to eat, comes from a wealthy merchant family. However, her birth is of mysterious circumstances and she is heavily bullied by her stepmother who wants the family fortune. Luckily, her stepsister stands on her side and tries to help her out of difficult circumstances often.

Lu Zhen has a modern woman mentality where she doesn’t just want to be married, but prefers to pursue a career and she has the smart to accomplish that. However, due to her stepmother’s evil trap, she is accused of murdering her own father whom she loves deeply. While is able to escape being sold off as a concubine to an elderly neighbor, she accidents kills a man who tries to sexually assault her. She had asked the man to help her make a fake birth status certification, but the confrontation had turned ugly. Lu Zhen decides that she wants to enter the palace to avoid being arrested by the police, but was unable to stay there due to her fake certification being exposed.

Continue reading

Advertisements

The Imperial Doctress: Female Physcians

qua

I am extremely picky with my Chinese period dramas, versus ones from other eras. They tend to be 40+ episodes, so it has to be really riveting for me to stick with it for that long, especially if much of it will include political intrigue. Lucky for me, I found a project that two of my favorite actors/actresses is in. I have the pleasure of watching Liu Shi Shi (Bu Bu Jing Xin) and Wallace Huo (Love Me if You Dare)! The Imperial Doctress is a drama about the first female physician in the Ming dynasty to become well known. In an patriarchal society, women were basically to do nothing but the arts at home. Our main character, Yun Xian’s whole family use to be imperial physicians for the royal family. However, due to the naiveté of Yun Xian when she tried to help her family with the medicines, she ended up accidently cause d her whole family tragedy. She was tricked by a mysterious person as a child to put extra medicine in a broth that was to be given to the empress. Thus, her grandfather ended up being put to death and her family exiled. During this hard time, her brother who was to take up the family tradition ended up dying as well due to Yun Xian not having the knowledge to help her brother at her young age. Years later, the father finally manages to change the family name and rise again as an official. However, he forbids his only daughter to study medicine with her grandmother. Her grandmother does not want the long passed down knowledge of medicine to die out, but the father is adamant about his daughter not repeating the same mistakes. However, Yun Xian is unable to watch anybody die in front of her and takes any opportunity possible to exercise her skill. By chance, she manages to save a prince, Qi Yu, who is being hunted down by another faction of the royal family. They of course fall in love with each other. Because we need a love triangle, she also manages to attract the emperor’s attention as well. However, she does not know Qi Zhen is the emperor as he is loudmouthed, brash, and mischievous. He has a deep heartache and is trying to go against the empress dowager due to a tragedy involving his birth mother in the past. Meanwhile, the empress dowager is going against the emperor and wants to put Qi Yu on the throne instead as the ‘son’ she raised isn’t listening to her. With this politic mess and Yun Xian’s persistence to practice medicine as a woman, I am looking forward to the drama it will bring!

I’ve always adored Liu Shi Shi in ancient drama settings. She has an elegant look about her that fits well with that era. I also love the spunkiness that her characters have. As we all know, Liu Shi Shi attracts all kinds of princes and emperors like she does in Bu Bu Jin Xin. As for Wallace Huo, I can attest to his acting from Love Me If You Dare and enjoy the brash character he adopts in this drama. However, it does make me sad that he is not endgame in our drama. Wallace and Liu Shi Shi are on fire, and most stills we see have them together. However, this is not to say that she doesn’t have good chemistry with Huang Xuan, prince and future emperor. They are also pretty adorable together. Though it does feel different than your usual dramas where the girl ends up with a “second lead type of guy” rather than the usual “brash” one. Or which one will she end up with really?

Love Me If You Dare: Chinese Sherlock!

Love-Me-if-You-Dare-2015

As a big fan of psychological crime dramas such as Missing Noir M and BBC/American Sherlock Holmes, I undoubtedly wanted to try Love Me If You Dare. Complete with the harpsichord-esque background music that appears in all Sherlock-y dramas (I’m looking at you, Korean I Remember You), our Holmes and Watson in this Chinese version are Simon (Bo Jin Yan) and Jenny (Yao Yao).

Simon is a brilliant criminal profiler who acts as consultant to cases for the local police force. However, he is self-centered, eccentric, and unsociable to the extreme. He cares passionately about his work, and also seems to have gone through a traumatic incident not long before moving to the rural town he is staying at now. Meanwhile, Jenny is his assistant, hired at first as a translator for documents, but proving her own skills and talents in case deduction.

Continue reading

Destined to Love You – Military Style / 偏偏喜欢你

偏偏喜歡你

When it comes to Chinese dramas, I tend to marathon them. Breaking away after watching 10 episodes, I am finally here to write about this hilarious sausagefest. Destined to Love You is set in the 1920’s era and takes place in a military academy. In the beginning, Bao Bao, our main character is circus entertainer by trade, but is trying to escape from loan sharks and save her ailing mother. She manages to slip onto a train heading to LongCheng and makes friends with a psychology professor, Xiao Han, a lady who is heading to the military academy to teach. She is also heading there to marry her first love and with whom she is in an arranged marriage with. Meanwhile Xiang Hao, wayward soldier who lived on the streets for about a year is being dragged back to the military academy that he had rebelled and quit from. He is a very skilled soldier, but a huge jokester and prankster. He takes nothing seriously except loyalty for his brothers in arms. Of course these Bao Bao and Xiang Hao cross hairs due to multiple understandings. Unfortunately on the train, several people are already trying to assassinate Xiang Hao and Xiao Han is accidentally thrown off the train and into the river beneath. Because Bao Bao is trying to save her mother, she decides to pretend to be Xiao Han in order to get military health benefits. Of course Xiao Han has not really died and seems to be still recovering.

Continue reading

A Final Word on Lady and Liar (千金女贼)

This is the first time I watched such a long drama, 46 episodes, without skipping over anything! With marathoning it at 6-7eps per session, I finished it in record time. I very much enjoyed the drama which is set in my favorite era.

Plot: Overall, I definitely enjoyed the rollercoaster of a story that Lady and Liar rode. Misunderstandings were definitely used to the max in they story where Jiang Xin blames Bai Lang for nothing and everything. While it did get annoying at times even just to move the story along with so many misunderstandings in place, the drama manages to smooth it out at the end. Our loose ends are all tied up with inheritances returned to the right families, truths that all come out, and our half-baddie characters receiving moral redemption. As much as I liked the rest the drama, I must admit the ending was a dud for me even though it was a happy one like I had wished. Bai Lang survived his suicidal mission with some last minute sacrifices and had a tearful reunion with his wifie and a shot into the future with his daughter. But, in a way, it lacked all feeling as the moments before his supposed death was more emotion-wrought. However, I’m not going to look a gifted horse in the mouth, and I’ll take it. However, I feel like the version I watched online had a lot of scenes cut as I see in some flashbacks, things I haven’t watched. And at times, some relationship depths don’t make as much sense. I wonder if I can find an uncut version somewhere.

Characterizations: Bai Lang is your white knight in shining armor in all the ways you can imagine. Literally, a self-sacrificing gentlemen to the max. One of his quotes perfectly describes him, “can’t right one wrong, even if he tries a hundred times”. While he did make the huge mistake of keeping Jiang Xing in her amnesiac state, I believe throughout the drama, he has done more than enough to atone for his sins. He has helped her in every turn and never brags about it, but does it quietly and not letting her know that he had helped. He has saved the damsel in distress about a billion times. To me, he is the reason I watched this drama. As for Jiang Xing, I liked her more in the beginning than in the middle or end. While she was spunky as a magician, her constant misunderstanding and little temper tantrums got real old even though Bai Lang was tolerating her because he loved her too much. Thank God, he was harsh to her near the middle and end to get her to grow up and be more independent. As for Xiao Han, she was delightfully hateful as Fake Jiang Xin and pitiful at the end. While I enjoyed hating her for all her bad choices as she killed off so many people, I felt sorry for her circumstances that led her to this lifestyle. We got to see a quick redemption arc for her as she realized her wrongs. For Shen Shao, the second male lead, I don’t hate him, but nor do I like him. For me, he was just there, a crutch for Jiang Xin and I had wanted to see more his past relationship with her. As for the rest of the supporting cast, I enjoyed their background stories, especially those of Bai House.

Continue reading

Lady and the Liar (千金女贼)

千金女賊

Lady and the Liar

Instead of progressing on my job searching, what do I do but start a new drama? I remember maniac Ride anxiously awaiting this drama, and decided to have a go as I wait for Cruel Romance (the same time period/style but with Huang Xiao Ming)  Set in the 1920s’ era, one of my favorite time periods, the Lady and Liar is full of birth secrets, lies, and mystery. Jiang Xin, our main girl, makes her living as a magician with her father, but they live in poverty. However, we find out that she is adopted and that her true family is of high class and has been trying to find her the past few years. Jiang Xin, though poor, lives happily in the slums and is in love with a gentlemen from another high class family. However, that man used to be doctor before an accident made him blind. At her urging, he decides to travel to London to receive operation on his eyes. He tells her to wait for him to come back. Meanwhile, the White Wolf is our main male lead and is an astute businessman. However, he isn’t called the wolf for nothing as he is very calculating and constantly has people trying to kill him to take his place. After Jiang Xin saved his life during a magician act, he falls in love with her. Though he tries to press his suit with her, she rejects him totally and prefers to be with her blind gentlemen. After the White Wolf decides to let her go, Jiang Xin is found out by her true family. She had tried to sell a necklace that had her family token on it to get money for her dad’s sickness. Her true family then sends for her, but she gets into an accident on the train. A female thief that she knew before decides to “let her hand go” and steal her necklace while they were hanging from a cliff. The thief takes Jiang Xin’s place in the high class household while Jiang Xin gets amnesia from the accident trauma. Meanwhile, the White Wolf is also in town and finds out about Jiang Xin. He decides to keep Jiang Xin next to him and lies that they were deeply in love before.

Continue reading

Lian Lian Bu Wang aka Loving, Never Forgetting

Loving, Never Forgetting aka “Hustling” (don’t ask me why…)

Well, this little drama had me searching really hard to find watchable episodes. After youtube.com made its uploads private, I had to resort to, http://www.banlishu.com/tv/54157, to find Chinese websites that had the episodes available. Cue my limited ability to read or write Chinese, I had some trouble typing in the name in Chinese search engines. Obviously, it is not subbed yet. However, luckily I can understand Chinese just fine. Thus, I can let you guys know what I think of this Chinese makjang (melo, to the extreme). First of all, prepare yourselves, those who have not watched any Chinese dramas before. Let me put it out there now, Chinese dramas are DUBBED. Yes, as in the voices you hear entering your ears are not the actor/actresses’s real voices. Unfortunate for us, but I suppose it streamlines the drama so that dialects and accents aren’t all over the place. Beware of annoying girly crying and unmatched lip/voice syncing at times.

Anyways, on to the real review. Contrary to the pretty poster above that shows a soft glowing romantic love, you will see none of that in the beginning. After watching two episodes, I can safely conclude that CEO Li, played by Jerry (yes, the one from Taiwanese BOF), is a douchey woman-hater as of now. He pretty much hates his mother (who of course makes him feel unloved), uses his celebrity girlfriend (basically friends with benefits, and no I will never marry you, but stay the night), and tramples all over the mother of his child. But luckily, he has one shining high point. His heart of steel cracks the door open a little for his son. What I don’t understand is how hell-bent his is on ripping the son away from his mother. A mother who single-handedly raised him for 4 years by herself, under the poverty line who didn’t ask for help from him or anybody else. Without further ado, he is claiming the son to be just his and of course his own mother doesn’t want the mother of the child to set foot in her household. Tong Li Ya plays the mother, Wu Tong, who has already gone to her knees to save her child and shed copious amount of tears. So even though, CEO Li makes me want to stab him in the eye right now, I am interested to see how hard he will fall and what he will do to make up for his sins later on. I also want to see Wu Tong stand tall and proud on her own feet while giving everybody else a reckoning.

-phoenix