Janine Chang, Kingone Wang, Paul Chun, Taiwanese Entertainment, Vic Chou, Xiu Jie Kai

Black & White

Okay, I finally watched it after much failed attempts. I had to hunt down the Viet-dubbed version so I could watch with my mom. (LOL!)

First things, the starring cast:

  • Vic Chou as Chen Zai Tian aka Pi Zi. Hilarious! A totally different role for Vic aside from his other morbid roles or borderline of morbid? I actually really enjoy his role despite his character’s loud-mouth at times. Typical good guy with a smart mouth that could make others hate him, BUT I honestly didn’t. He made it so funny that it was hard to hate him. There were also serious scenes worth mentioning, quite emotional. But to be fair (since I picked on Ivy/ Chen Lin too), I had no idea what his character was up to at times. Perhaps it was the effects of his mysterious nature and not really sure if he was indeed the mole OR some other characters with an alternative aside from the surface with his laid back nature. I swear! He made it so suspicious that it got my nerves since I was so scared they did this approach–IF that was the case. But I have to credit Vic for pulling it quite well with deceiving us. And should I say it was really nerve-wrecking waiting for his real identity to reveal? Sure was intriguing all right. There were so much going on with the twists and turns that I felt among all in here, he was the most pitiful because everything he thought he had and was supposedly be real was not. BUT somehow he got through all of that. I’m so going to miss him in the movie sequel.
  • Mark Chao as Wu Ying Xiong. Okay, it was getting really creepy when I was trying to watch the Mandarin version because his voice sounded really like Sam Wang SO after hunting down the Viet-dubbed version, it eliminated the little distraction. Mark sure had to run a lot in here! He got to do a lot of cool stunts. Darn! I’m not sure what to say about the character really since I’m not really into the ‘hot-headed’ characters as much BUT I guess I do understand his righteous nature. (I prefer the quiet, observant type more SO it’s not like I’m siding with Vic’s character to pick on him. But I guess it’s part of the chemistry with the whole Pi Zi Yi Xiong SO Ying Xiong just have to be the hot-headed, serious one while leaving the comedy part to Pi Zi.) One thing I have to give him credit for is not caving in to Chen Lin’s temptation and crossing the line. I meant okay, he liked her but he wasn’t obsessed to the point of helping her blindly, etc. He wanted to the do everything the right way, not wanting to change his principle for a girl, etc. But somehow, it was a bit ironic to fall for Mu Sha’s schemes later. I guess it’s understandable since they had a past and he thought she really liked him. (AND she really did later.)
  • Ivy Chen as Chen Lin. I don’t know. It was very, very hard to get into her character though I realized how cool her character could be with being able to kick ass at times too. YET I think it might be Ivy. NO, not picking on the newbie since she isn’t a newbie technically (since she appeared in various dramas before). Perhaps it was harder to see her cute side at times or her attempted cute scenes. Oh yeah, what was even harder was seeing how her character development was going downhill after the initial kick ass scenes at the beginning with her slamming Pi Zi/ Vic at their first meeting–and then those other scenes where she fought the other guys. It gradually passed but the dragging with the relationships was killing me–or more like my patience. After all, I’m not so sure if it was Ivy or the character development that made it more confusing to sympathize with. SO it’s colorful and interesting in its own right, but like I said before, the character totally went downhill or somewhat got side-track. Conclusion: The script-writers killed her character major time by trying to make it complex YET failed miserably. AND oh yeah, Chen Lin’s other crime was being mad and bossy toward Xiao Ma. (What the heck was that telling him to report to her when he found more info? That was the scene near the end where her father was kidnapped.)
  • Janine Chang as Lan Xi Ying. I actually like her character. And how she portrayed it. A passive character yet not too passive because she only talked or acted whenever she needed to. And like I mention above, I usually like the observant type SO she fitted my type of favorite more. (Even if this was a male character instead of female, I still pick a character like her.) I was pondering if she was the mole at times too. I swear! Even if it made it like she was framed. NOT because that one dude made it like that was her who faked everything, but I suspected her before that. Or maybe I like her character too much so I was afraid she might be the mole. The mole is usually the quiet ones who are being helpful and quiet (so as not to draw attention) so that was why I thought it was her at first. There was also the whole idea of her being used by the others to get information with Pi Zi’s fingerprints, etc. It was too frustrating. Like driving me insane. But I guess because she really thought those superiors were working for the good. Still, her trusting nature was too much–and I guess she had to pay for it later. The near ending scene was cool though since it was unexpected that she knew how to shoot like that. I guess it was really one of those life-threatening things and the opportunity presented itself (aka there was a gun available) versus past times when she did not have anything to fight back with.

Notable performances:

  • Kingone Wang as Gao Yi. I don’t care if he only appears in the first few episodes. His performance is still worth mentioning. He really convinced me with his portrayal as the psycho who unleashed the drug ‘Dreamer’ and wanting to take everyone to ‘Heaven’ as he claimed. It was creepy and it wasn’t just because of the make-up team doing a great job with the image, but his crazy behaviors throughout.
  • Paul Chun as Lao Tou. Honestly, love Paul. He never lost it! Never fail to deliver regardless of how long he appear. This is called professionalism. This is called the love of acting. A great veteran actor as always. Love the parts where he appear.
  • Xiu Jie Kai as Ma Xiao Ming aka Huang Shi Kai aka Q. His intro scene was hilarious! Come on now, no one would know he was some shooter, LOL! Maybe that was the whole point, appearing least suspicious as possible. His boyish aura really block the whole threatening vibe at times. I meant like how he was acting so innocent when they were talking to him when he was at his hotdog stand BUT he seemed so much more scary when he was out and about, lurking in the dark, etc. Oh yeah, I especially like the stunts created for his character, like the part where he did the back flip to try and get out of Ying Xiong’s grasp. So slick! Another scene was when he was rescuing Chen Lin from BOSS and group. He was just so awesome–without even trying. So what if he got shot later? His character was just so awesome. (TO ME.)
  • Sonia Sui as Lei Mu Sha. OMG! She was so scary. She creeped the world out of me with her technique. It wasn’t just being a beautiful agent. It was her menacing looks and actions that made it so chilling. And I never doubted the emotional scenes she had with Mark the other times. A character bordering on the edge, not sure if we should hate her or pity her.

Why didn’t I list the main cast? Um…hey, they were the main cast. They got to be main cast, so I don’t think I need to say much more. Mark also won ‘Best Actor’ and also got recognized so I think that should already say something. If I say more toward or against it, it would end up being either I’m sucking up to him OR I’m being a sore loser (aka rooting for someone else). SO playing safe to only talk about the supporting cast and/or guest stars.

Surprises:

  • Allen Chao as South District Director. I don’t doubt his acting–ever. But thanks to my mom, I finally remember why he looks sooo familiar. He used to be in those Bao Qing Tian ones, BUT I stopped watching TW stuffs for a while so it didn’t catch on with me. It wasn’t surprising that he was the mole though. ‘Cause honestly, he had too much power and the way things kept happening around them. Not to mention even the North District Director was involved. It would make sense that he was involved too.
  • Xiao Lu was the mole. Eh…this was defnitely something shocking. I kept suspecting Xi Ying at times, lol. BUT it made sense since Xiao Lu kept playing the role of an innocent and cute girl. And how she kept insisting on helping them, but it was just her way of asking questions and/or extracting for information in her own way.

Worth-mentioning scenes:

  • The part where Mark was climbing on the train, trying to get inside. Whoa, sure live up to the hype of the action.
  • The part where Mark and Kingone had their fight on the train. Another intense scene. Kudos to the production team.
  • Vic tried to talk Kingone into surrendering. Then Kingone turned around and shoot Mark BUT Vic shoot him (Kingone) in time so Mark was able to arrest Kingone. Sort of  a hint of possible collaboration for the future. BUT of course Pi Zi had to run his mouth and ruined the bond again. That was probably for the intended formula of the creators though.
  • Vic running after Reen when he spotted her in the bar. Emotional scene though not sure what was going on yet.
  • Vic mourning for Reen’s death. This was after the explosion. That was worth a lot of points. It was devastating and traumatizing rolled into one. (IF only someone would stop appearing and yakking too much. Lucky he escaped and mourned on his own again.) I totally felt it and almost cried with him. (ALMOST…) Then those scenes in between with his devastated state, browsing through the streets mindlessly. AND okay, I did cry at the part where Ying Xiong finally confronted Zai Tian after having found him already–all beaten up. I think only Ying Xiong had the right to yell at Zai Tian though. ‘Cause I’m a tad confused if Chen Lin was addressing him as a friend or a jealous girl. Though what she said was right to an extent but I kept having a feeling she was just jealous of Xiao Mei with her implication of saying that Xiao Mei was ‘just some girl’. Too sour to even sound like a friend. But the most touching part must be where Ying Xiong finally hugged Zai Tian and comfort him and how Zai Tian finally cried out. One of the classic phrases must be the part where Pi Zi said, “None of these are real, only she is.” (Referring to his past and current identities.)
  • The part where Vic was confronting Paul regarding to his identities. Totally worth a lot of points. Should I even say more about Paul’s acting? (Guess not.) But Vic was really good in it. Especially like the lines used in this part too. (Kudos to the script-writers of course.) What if he rather live the life that he had earlier? He still wanted the choice to be made by him, not controlled by others.
  • The part where Vic was confiding with Janine regarding his feelings of losing a family member (aka Xiao Mei). A really touching scene though it seemed so, so subtle but worth a lot of tears. She didn’t just say those comforting words about “don’t be sad” or those lame phrases. She just shared with him the time she lost her father. And the stories really tied in with one another. It made him realized they were indeed going through the same feelings. Though her father passed away ages ago but that did not mean it would fade away.
  • The part where Vic found Janine and carried her into the hospital and its following parts. Another touching scene. He couldn’t believed she went through so much for him. NOT because she had alternative motive, but because she knew what was like to want to find out the truth, i.e. like her father’s case.
  • The part where Vic and Ivy found out they are siblings. Well, sorry to say but I never cheered any louder. Just because I didn’t have to see Vic and Ivy together anymore. It was really sad for Zai Tian since he was suddenly tortured in between being a cop, being abandoned and suddenly having a father – and a sister. Too much to take in. And how he had to choose between being a cop and going with his gang father.
  • The part where Mark confronted Vic with crossing the line. It was hilarious yet sad at the same time since Zai Tian said how lucky Ying Xiong was, etc. Ying Xiong had no idea how Zai Tian had to choose and all the conflicts.
  • The part where Vic said his subtle goodbye to Janine in the lab. I don’t know. Every time seeing their interaction is just so touching and meaningful. Not many words are exchanged but the feeling is so genuine.
  • The part where Mark confronted Vic on the bridge. Ying Xiong had no idea. Zai Tian finally revealed his identity as Lao Tou’s son. What a shocking one for Ying Xiong really. And the hallmark of the scene was how Ying Xiong told Zai Tian to beat him. He really didn’t want to let them go yet with family, it was so hard. I finally could see the bond between the two. A genuine friendship. I was glad it took that for Ying Xiong to cave in and NOT because Chen Lin begged.
  • Mark drinking at the bar and mumbling away incoherently. Subtle, short, but said a lot.
  • Vic and Mark’s talk at Mark’s car. It was so meaningful yet not too serious. Zai Tian actually asked about Ying Xiong’s well being with being demoted again, NOT like someone who only cared about whether she had a brother or not. (LAME!) Anyway, it seemed like their interaction was smoother than the past. I was getting more addicted to watching them–mostly as a team.
  • The part that Vic and Mark were talking in the parking lot after Mark got kicked off the force. Another scene where they were bonding. Ying Xiong could feel the irony of the situation since he always thought Pi Zi would be the one who got kicked off first, considering how he was always not serious about his work, being careless, etc. Then Pi Zi vouched that he would hunt down ‘that woman Lei Mu Sha’ and make her pay. That was really touching. It showed their bond had went up another level. Beyond just being partners aka on the same team. But it was about being friends.
  • The part where Vic found out he’s not really Paul’s son AND that his world was turning upside down again. Another worth mentioning scene. Could Vic get any better than that? (Yeah, I’m just amazed since this is just my 2nd time watching his series SO…) The scene was indeed very emotional. From having a family to losing it all again. False hope was the worst of it all.
  • The part where Vic was walking along the street and remembering about the past. I totally felt that one though there was no tears, not really. Just anger and frustration. From having a mother to seeing her pass away. From not having anything to having. Then from thinking he found his family again YET it was all one big mistake. The world tumbling down all on him at once. The world was becoming confusing again. Yet it was possibly because he was so numbed now that he no longer could cry? Just frustrated – which he had every right to. Though he benefited from all the luxury all these years, but his emotional state has been so badly damaged.
  • The part where Vic made the decision to pull the electricity wire together so Ivy could open the door to save Mark. I don’t care about her reactions since it distracted my observation of the guys’ bonding. Yet it was really something seeing Pi Zi making such a huge decision in risking his life like that. The admittance with Pi Zi afterward of losing everything, etc was really something also. What I really like about the whole thing was seeing how Pi Zi admitted his wrong (though it was because he was hurting) and even apologized to Ying Xiong for betraying him (Ying Xiong)–previously. Then the conversation between how Ying Xiong was asking about their mother. Indeed, they were brothers in a way.
  • The part where Sonia died. I must be crazy to even cry but seriously, it was that tragic. All the things she did wasn’t even forgivable. Yet what she said at the end was really something, which was: “I never got to choose, but now I get to choose not to kill you.”
  • The part where Mark was talking on the phone with Vic after Sonia’s death. That was really something. And yes, finally Ying Xiong was breaking through, giving up hope about uncovering the truth. An emotional scene indeed. We often seen Pi Zi breaking down a lot more than Ying Xiong but I guess Mu Sha’s death was the ultimate breakdown for him. The only person who loved him (aside from his mother) and left him just like that.
  • The part where Vic and Janine were hugging each other goodbye. Well, it was more like Xi Ying was hugging him instead of him initiating it, but it was so genuine between them. Man, I never waited for anything longer than that. Seriously, it’s mega-cute despite the situation. I’m also glad they didn’t exchange those “I love you” or anything OR it would be too fake or too much. Since I know that they were relying on each other for support and understanding because of similar situations they went through. I didn’t mind at all if they had hugged all night. LOL! But that’s unrealistic though.
  • The last battle. Totally worth the wait though I didn’t like the dragging parts in the middle. Honestly, it was too exciting! Xiao Ma’s opening scene with the battles. Then later Pi Zi scenes–of course! How could he be so careless as to get shot down so quick? Awww…I was looking forward to some awesome scenes BUT he got up again and saved Ying Xiong so I guess that should make up for it, LOL! But still, the following parts of the fight with the three guys and then the battle with BOSS made up for it all. Those scenes were awesome! Pi Zi still found time to be funny? LOL!
  • The part where Vic realized Reen wasn’t dead yet. Man, only flashback images could capture the scenes. And they did it really nice. Imagine the shock. Imagine the last piece of his life he thought that was genuine also being part of the fake picture as well.
  • The chase! Yeah, the one on the boat. But I swear it reminds me of Tokyo Raiders so much. Still cool though. Hahaha! Pi Zi was killing me with his taunting and his shooting method! LOL! And their arguments were present again.

NOT COOL:

  • Ying Xiong didn’t bother clarifying that it was actually Zai Tian who carried Chen Lin on his back on the train scene. WHAT?! Okay, I rather see Mark and Ivy together since I’m sort of rooting for Vic and Janine. BUT seriously? Why didn’t Ying Xiong clear it up with Chen Lin when she asked him? (So he cleared it up later but that was when he was so mad he didn’t care about pleasing her anymore. Still…LATE!)
  • Ying Xiong let Xi Ying edge out of the get together awkward moment on her own outside the bar. SO Ying Xiong didn’t know that Zai Tian invited Xi Ying as well. BUT Ying Xiong didn’t like Xi Ying, right? SO why would he let things drag or act guilty all of a sudden? He looked like he was guilty of something. What was even worse was how Ying Xiong offer to see Xi Ying off YET he did not have to do it AND did not have to encourage her more. (I didn’t say he have to force himself to like her since it was his choice after all, but it was not cool encouraging her at times, leading her on with not saying anything. Trying to be the nice guy doesn’t help.) AND of course she knew her case was already hopeless so she had to try and edge out of the situation and reduce the awkwardness on her own. So much for being a ‘hero’. (OR he liked Xi Ying before BUT not anymore since he found a better choice? BUT that was too lame still…)
  • Chen Lin kept nagging Pi Zi regarding how important Xiao Mei was to Pi Zi. She had no freaking right regardless of how she tried to defend herself. Honestly to say, like he said, would she take a look at him with half of an eye IF he was still in his previous image/ appearance? Like looking decent right now. Regardless of who Xiao Mei later came out to be, she was still a person of great importance to him because she did not look down on him when he was not in such a good condition. Like he said, aside from his mother, only she (Xiao Mei) treated him well.

Triangles:

  • The Zai Tian-Xi Ying-Ying Xiong triangle. I found it truly amusing at times with this triangle even if Ying Xiong isn’t interested in Xi Ying in that way. It was funny how Ying Xiong had to protect Xi Ying from Zai Tian’s pass at times. And what was that with Ying Xiong questioning Xi Ying when he saw her using Zai Tian’s cup to drink water? Hmmm…OKAY…
  • The Zai Tian-Chen Lin-Ying Xiong triangle. Honestly, I don’t care. Like I said earlier, I was rooting for Vic and Janine so it doesn’t matter. Moreover, I found it strange that Zai Tian and Chen Lin could be a possibility because don’t they have the same last name? Even if they’re not blood-related, it’s still weird. But this is just me. So of course I would prefer the Mark and Ivy pairing and couldn’t care less. But I was utterly confused at the beginning from time to time that Chen Lin seems to like Ying Xiong yet she was eyeing Xi Ying with some sense of jealousy when Zai Tian was being closed to Xi Ying AND NOT because Ying Xiong was interacting with Xi Ying. Huh? Too distracting. I don’t know. It got even more and more confusing throughout – from time to time. Like it’s on and off between who Chen Lin decides to be with or cares for. Too ironic. Her worry for Zai Tian isn’t just about friends BUT it goes way pass that. She needs to choose one guy and stick with him or convince better as of who she likes. (*NOTE*: Okay, so we found out later that Pi Zi’s not really Chen Zai Tian aka just a fake name BUT I just don’t want him to be the interruption or in between factor of the other two, making others hate him.) Oh yeah, I thought she was confused with her feelings at times, which might be true YET it feels like she’s using Ying Xiong to make Pi Zi jealous. It seems that way. I don’t know. It’s just too confusing and distracting – like I said before and many times already. AND then it was revealed that she actually like Pi Zi BUT so what? Using Ying Xiong was so wrong. OR she was confused. Yet I guess it was obvious that she likes Pi Zi but that goes right back to me saying how she was using Ying Xiong. SO messed up.

Pairings:

  • Vic and Janine. OMG, they’re so cute! I don’t care if they have such a short gap of time together. It’s just too amusing seeing how he teases her at times. He even gave her a cup for drinking purposes, instead of using those similar glasses to the ones they used at the lab. (YUP, that experience at his first visit was already too traumatizing, LOL!) The fact that they’re more in sync with one another made it addicting to watch. Yes, he was loud and all at the beginning. But as the story developed, they seemed to have more in common and understanding the pain one another went through more than anything. It was a bond others could not understand.
  • Mark and Ivy. The typical tragic pairing. I meant regarding how he’s a cop and she’s the daughter of some triad boss. I guess they do match. Yet I’m not too involved with their relationship. Just call me confuse! ‘Cause I was too distracted with other things to pay attention. AND I can’t be forced to like every single pairing out there, right? I meant regarding their story. That’s all.
  • Mark and Sonia. I don’t know. It seemed so different–OF COURSE. Yet I felt their chemistry right away upon seeing her arrival at the police headquarter. I don’t know. It was their brief exchange with her smile and his stare. This is not just because I’m a major fan of Sonia. BUT because for some weird, weird reason, it just clicked with me just seeing them together like that. (I must confess I was a bit against it while reading spoilers and not knowing the gap of the story in between. So yes, I was really surprised to enjoy their chemistry.) Regardless of how twisted their story developed and turned out, I was still more convinced in regard to a romantic relation. The most tragic scene must be her death scene, which was already mentioned above, with her being able to choose finally.

Teams:

  • Vic and Mark as Pi Zi and Ying Xiong. Okay, that was hilarious. Typical approach with putting them into the same team. Yet I guess they achieved the effect. One of the funniest scenes must be when their boss tried to think up of a name for them, BUT then he scratched it off as being too long so he changed it into two words instead, LOL! The numerous times where Ying Xiong had to yell at Pi Zi was so funny too. I don’t know! Aggravating Ying Xiong is just too priceless SO it might be the reason why Pi Zi kept doing it in the later parts of the drama? LOL! At first, I found it hard to get used to them but around episode 16, it was a different story. I found their bond more genuine after seeing Ying Xiong let Zai Tian go at the bridge scene. It was because he knew what was like and how Zai Tian had to sacrifice himself to save his father, save the only family he had left. The previous parts with the plot and the crazy triangles was too much of a distraction to see their bond.
  • Vic and Xiu Jie Kai as Pi Zi and Xiao Ma. I don’t know. Their chemistry was just more convincing for me. (Though I don’t disregard the formula the creators tried to lay out with the other two.) Perhaps because they’re good friends outside as well. Their constant exchange of words were amusing. Especially found it somewhat strange that Xiao Ma was the one taking Zai Tian home when he was devastated with Xiao Mei’s death that one time. Interesting part. Subtle but something to think about. And not to mention their collaboration during the time when Xiao Ma saved Pi Zi and Xi Ying; and the two guys ended up attacking the base with Xiao Ma’s guide. It was really something. I just love their collaboration. (AND man, I was so glad that my mom mentioned it since that means I’m not the only one thinking they they look alike in here. I swear!)

Questions:

  • Three guys like Chen Lin? Unbelievable. NOT because she’s not pretty nor isn’t spunky enough for the guys’ attention. But I’m still not convinced. It’s missing something. I could believe why Ying Xiong would like her since opposite attracts but Pi Zi and Xiao Ma? Maybe Xiao Ma liked her because she was so lively. BUT still don’t get what’s the big deal about her. The inconsistent about her character made it harder. (Blame the script-writers for not covering that part well.)
  • They put us through the drama of the triangles because…? I don’t know. YES, I guess all dramas/ serials have to have some degree of romance or it would turn out too bland (for some people) BUT what was the point if no one end up at all? OR perhaps they were trying to clear the schedule for the sequel? OKAY!
  • NO Pi Zi/Vic and Xi Ying/Janine unite scene? Okay, this is more of a personal opinion since I felt robbed when the ending parts didn’t include a follow-up with the talk. I meant with when Pi Zi and Xi Ying said goodbye before the last battle, there was the talk and then the hug. What about after they succeeded? Come on now! At least give us a scene! OR maybe because they understand one another more than any words or actions? And that any other side talk was unnecessary because they didn’t need it like the others in here? I don’t know. Like I said, personal opinions!

Other thoughts? So it was worth the attention it received thus far, considering how everyone worked so hard to make it happen. It was sure action pack! For the most part. Also, the cast was really huge all right since they needed a lot to make it more convincing and the whole powerful vibe between several parties. I guess I must cut them some slacks with letting us down at some parts. The whole large scale of everything was already something to think over and how they did with the set and all.

I guess the most puzzling question going into the sequel must be: How in the world are they going to work Pi Zi out of the script? I meant okay, my mom was suggesting how it would be with saying he has to work on another case so can’t chase these people with Ying Xiong anymore. I thought of that. OR he could have died. (Which would be a lame one.) OR just not mention him? Why is it hard to imagine if they were to pull one of those scenarios? Pi Zi finally found out that Xiao Mei’s not dead. With all the things that had been leading up to the ending, would he just walk away like that or agree to work on another case instead of finding out the truth? OR at least the whole face to face confrontation? If he died, it would make more sense as to why he’s not around anymore to get to the end of it. BUT that would be too typical and reminds me too much of a TVB easy exit for those formulas with cutting an important character out of it all. It’s not about Vic, BUT about the smooth transition of the plot. There were a lot of draggy parts in this one so it wasn’t perfect with the series. (I made it through so I don’t care anymore.) BUT it must at least make sense with some of the parts with the continuation. So good luck!

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12 thoughts on “Black & White”

  1. I loved this drama. I had previously been impressed with the director’s other series, including The Hospital and Mars. In B & W, however fast paced and sometimes preposterous the action became, he still managed to extract considerable psychological nuance from the characters.
    I think you’re right about Zai Zai and Mark’s characters having to be opposite in some aspects. Not all viewers would agree with me that their relationship was ‘slashy’, but still it is one of the central dynamics of the plot.
    I think Ivy Chen was a dead loss. She’s not even that cute. She just can’t act: she is stilted and wooden.
    It’s a shame the movie-length sequel does not have Zai Zai in it.

  2. @vgag – I haven’t watched those two you mentioned but I tried to watch Mars but it was just putting me to sleep. I meant I know it’s supposed to be quality drama but I believe you can make a drama good with good pace at the same time. Like how there was a balance in B&W – as you pointed out also.

    Regarding Vic & Mark’s relation in here – whether friends or more than that, I think it sort of hinted at slashy side or not, depending on how you look at it. But I thought that’s what makes their bond ended being like brothers – more than anyone could understand. Not even Chen Lin even if she tried to be supportive toward both guys at times.

    And regarding Ivy Chen – I don’t know about wooden since I swear she had a lot of active scenes and she tried to be really cute too but it just didn’t appeal to me for that matter. I don’t know if she was just experimenting a different character in here or not because I have not watched her past ones, except for Wei Xiao Pasta (and I totally forgot who she was in there so might have to re-watch that to see). Or was she suffering a pressure from being the lead? I don’t know. I tried to analyze all aspects of it just to be fair, but I just can’t get into her style. Maybe the character development made it worse since like most idol dramas, it turned out the guys were the heroes and reducing the female lead to a complete weakling. YET that wasn’t so either since Xi Ying/Janine got to show her braveness many times without having to even use a gun (except for the near ending part) and we saw a lot in her than meets the eyes. (And I think I read somewhere people were criticizing her for being wooden BUT I thought that was how her character was and I had watch her other dramas to know she’s far from wooden.) Sorry, long rant, but I’m just trying to be fair to Ivy as much as I could. But I still couldn’t figure it out. So blaming it on the character development might be better, LOL!

  3. I think in Smiling Pasta Ivy was in that cameo with Leon Williams where they play game show contestants. So was infinitely forgettable in that.
    In B & W, Ivy’s character does get to do a lot of brave, physical things but somehow I never found her convincing in the martial arts scenes. Or as the femme fatale, either.
    Janine Zhang is one of my all time favourite TW actors. She is really beautiful in a natural kind of way and she is apparently really intelligent in real life. Doesn’t she have a Masters in Economics or something like that? Her intelligence shines through in her roles.
    On the issue of slashiness, I think the writers intended both the male leads to be lonely and in need of finding identity and connectedness. The most conservative reading would be that they find each other as xiongdi–they are literally stepbrothers, I suppose, since the Lotus Woman was YX’s biological mother and ZT’s stepmother.
    But there are just so many scenes where there is a hint at something more: In Ep 3, for example, when XY steps in prevent ZT from becoming too physical with Janine’s character–and then ZT threatens to kiss him! Also, at one Janine remarks that the boys have ‘a special feeling’ for each other. There very bickering hints at a growing intimacy. But the most famous scene of all is the rescue one where YX is left breathless and ZT is nearly electrocuted–check out the metaphors!
    V did a really good post on this theme. It’s in her Taiwan category…
    A great review!

  4. @vgag – That was her? Wow! I watched that several years back so I wouldn’t even remember. That’s why it’s good for a re-watch at times.

    Regarding Ivy, I guess so. I was never really that convinced either but didn’t want to be too hard on her – as long as the character development was good. BUT it went downhill so I was really disappointed in that area.

    Yes, Janine’s really smart outside so I guess it reflect that with her character. I’ve seen her crazier roles too and I was also convinced with it.

    Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me of those scenes! So hinting on the ‘slashy’ side. But it’s just hilarious seeing how ZT was being so close to XY! I don’t know, like I said in the review, I just love watching ZT and XY. Or more like Vic and Janine! LOL!

    Thanks for the rec, I’ll stalk her later for the post.

  5. Here’s the link to V’s post but two of the images no longer come up. This had to do with when she was living in Shanghai and temporarily had her own domain name. Then when she went back to wordpress.com, some things became scrambled and but she is slowly fixing it up.
    Anyway, here it is: http://mocheesepls.wordpress.com/2009/07/05/slash-o-meter-alert/
    Neither character was written to be gay as such, but was ZT meant to have subtle overtones? Did you notice how he is always leaning all over Hao Ke? I see ZT’a past as a sometimes homeless orphan as having left a deep mark on him. He is at heart a scavenger who will grab at love wherever and whenever he can latch onto it (while all the while being obsessed by the Fast Food Girl).
    And YX has a protective streak. How good is that scene when YX and the insufferable Chen Lin finally find ZT in the rubbish after his three day bender (or however long it was), and Chen Lin offers to help but it is only YX whose presence and assistance matters–when YX gets him to his feet and holds him in that long, long embrace. Very slashy!

  6. @vgag – Thanks for the link. I will read it next.

    Good point about how ZT is always grabbing a chance at love whenever he could. I could see really clearly while watching. Though on the surface, he’s shown as the player, but what’s deep down about it is he just wants to hang on to what it is that he could find with love and the bonds that could tie him to others. That’s why I find it really unnecessary and stupid (sorry for the choice of words but couldn’t find any other way to say it) that Chen Lin should scold him or be all jealous about his relationship with He Xiao Mai (the burger girl aka Reen Yu). She doesn’t get it that it’s part of his past – like I stated in the review – and it is the only real thing he could find that doesn’t contain the whole cover-up/fakeness. (YET ironically, it was otherwise in the last part – as we found out with him.) It doesn’t matter if it’s really love between him and Xiao Mai or maybe it is like what he said, he treats her like family. I think Xi Ying understands that, which was why she told him about the story with her father and didn’t judge him for the person he is on the surface (unlike some others). Though Chen Lin is right in a way or at least she figured out that Zai Tian couldn’t afford another person leaving him so she stated at one point she won’t disappear and that she’s like a tree, very strong, won’t waver. BUT she missed the point about the genuine feeling he had with Xiao Mai, linking with his past, etc.

    Regarding how when they finally found ZT after several days, I agree on that also. I think YX understands it more so it did not matter with CL’s rants BUT YX knew or might have guessed about ZT’s traumatizing state. Sometimes it’s not about words being said, but about the silence comfort that matters.

  7. I think the great appeal of the Fast Food Girl to ZT is that she was so unconditionally kind and generous to him when he was homeless and above all, ugly. I think he enjoys being able to use his handsome face, sports car, stylish clothes amnd lots of cash to pick up virtually any girl he wants, but he must know that that kind of liaison based on looks and money is likely to be very superficial and unsatisfying. As you pointed out, he recognised something genuine in the FFG’s regard for him.
    I have the feeling that had Zai Zai remained in the sequel, the writers might have made the FFG some kind of double agent, and really on the side of good after all. I had the feeling we hadn’t heard the last of her.
    One of the weaknesses of the last few eps, though, is the writers seemed to throw in twists in the plot for their own sake, whether they made sense emotionally or in terms of plot development–or not.
    There were definitely moments in the plot when only YX’s love would do. I guess it’s up to the viewer to decided whether that love was purely fraternal or whether there was some other kind of male bonding going on. I personally think there were some VERY slashy moments and maybe the actors even played it that way. It’s very ambiguous and hard to pin down.
    A great series, even with its convoluted plot, LOL.

  8. @vgag – Yup, I also mentioned that in the review regarding to Zai Tian’s look. I swear Chen Lin wouldn’t even look at him or care for someone wandering streets like that if he was still ‘ugly’. SO her making a big deal about him caring Xiao Mai was ridiculous to me.

    Regarding last episode – yup. I don’t know if they could tie it in with the sequel. IF not, it would be too messy. I didn’t get why Zai Tian wasn’t all that into searching for Xiao Mai anymore. I meant he was shocked when he realized she was on the motorcycle getting away, BUT then when he found the ticket on his windshield, he wasn’t reacting that strongly like in the past, you know? OR was he tired? I didn’t get it. I’m sure you found out some more holes but that was one of the things that I picked up. But like you said, they’ve already done a good job with the majority so I guess we should give them a bit of a break, lol.

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