Hot Shot is a recent Taiwanese drama that just finished airing in November. It stars music idols/popstars and actors Show Luo, Jerry Yan(from former music group F4) and Wu Zun(from current music group Fahrenheit). It’s a sports drama, which means I would normally stay far away from it, but with a cast like this…I just couldn’t resist. I am currently a little more than halfway through it.
- Title: 籃球火 / Lan Qiu Huo
- English title: Hot Shot
- Also known as: Basketball Fire / Basket Fire Ball
- Genre: Sport, romance
- Episodes: 16
- Broadcast period: 2008-Jul-27 to 2008-Nov-09
- Opening theme song: Hot Shot by Show Lo
- Ending theme song: Yi Ban (一半) Half by Jerry Yan
- Insert songs: See Hot Shot OST
In a school where academic reigns supreme and sports are relegated to a dusty corner of the campus, Li Ying vows to revive the basketball team by volunteering to be the head coach. Her first member is Yuan Da Ying, a country boy who is passionate for basketball but has no skill. Their recruitment goes into high gear when Dong Fang Xiang, a legendary basketball player, transfers to their school.
Around the same time, Yuan Da Ying falls for Zhan Jie Er, a scholarship student who reminds him of his childhood friend. Things are complicated by the fact her family works for Dong Fang Xiang, who she also grew up with. Their encounter may just rewrite the school’s basketball history.
- Jerry Yan as Dong Fang Xiang 東方翔
- Show Lo as Yuan Da Ying 元大鷹
- Zhou Cai Shi as Zhan Jie Er 湛潔兒
- Coco Jiang as Li Ying 李贏
- Wu Chun as Wu Ji Zun 無極尊
- George Hu as Wu Ji Wei 無極威
- Gu Bao Ming as Li Zi Ping 李子平
- Michael Zhang as Can 殘 / Ah Fu 阿福
As I haven’t finished it, I won’t write an official “review” yet, but here are my thoughts so far-
-Eyecandy – with Show Luo, Jerry Yan, and Wu Zun all starring in this drama, there’s exceptional beauty everywhere you look, so when there’s not that much going on in the plot(which happens more often than I’d like) you can always let yourself be distracted by gazing at them( I particularly like shots of Show and Jerry side by side, which does happen almost as much as I’d like 🙂
-The themes of comradeship and team loyalty, particularly the devolopment of the friendship/brotherhood between erstwhile and ongoing basketball and love rivals Da Ying and Dong Fang. Male friendship has always been one of my favorite themes in dramas; it’s just so adorable, and this is particularly well-handled/satisfying/pervasive. The two start out hating each other, move to disliking each other, and end up standing shoulder to shoulder and supporting each other completely, as friends and teammates. They’re both, ultimately, generous men, and seeing that generosity gradually come into play even in their struggles over the same girl(Jie Er) is super cool.
-Action/suspense – as a sports/basketball drama, the basketball and training sequences in this are handled extremely well and keep me riveted 80% of the time. I genuinely cheer for them when they win and cry(figuratively speaking) when they lose.
-Jie Er. The whole love storyline of this drama is one of the weakest I’ve ever seen; both men have a confusing relationship with the main female character and there’s really very little to tie her to either of them. There’s no forced proximity, nothing tying her to basketball, the main plotline and the sport they love so much, she’s not working as a housemaid for either of them – none of the usual drama cliches which may be cheesy but at least work. Ultimately, however, the main problem is Jie Er herself – Zhou Cai Shi is easily one of the worst actresses I’ve seen in a drama so far, and the character of Jie Er that she’s given is a flat, empty, highly boring role. I like Jie Er – there’s really nothing to dislike about her. But that’s the problem – there’s nothing to her at all! Her personality I would describe as “nice” – nothing more, not even sweet – just nice. She has none of the strong will, the odd, humorous quirks, the luminous fragility/depth which tends to variously characterize female drama characters. She’s so very ordinary, and not even ordinary in an interesting, Kim-Sam-Soon/poor-girl-about to be turned into a princess kind of way. Essentially, they wrote Jie Er as a paper-thin character, and then assigned a rather poor actress to her, and the result is that I have extreme difficulty comprehending why either of the exceptional male leads in this drama, much less both, would fall in love with her. Yes, I get that she looks like Da Ying’s childhood sweetheart. Not good enough – not enough to explain why he falls immediately and so perseveringly in love with her, especially as his interactions with her afterward are so…flat. Yes, I get that she grew up with Dong Fang and supposedly he’s been in love with her forever; not good enough, especially as they don’t actually show any of that background and surely if he’d been in love with her for that long, he would have admitted it a long time ago and they wouldn’t have such a weird relationship now? No, I’m not buying it. Especially as she’s not even particularly pretty! If she was gorgeous, I could understand why two such men as Da Ying and Dong Fang could fall in love with her, even if her personality is somewhat lacking – but she’s not. She’s, again, average -pretty. And that is what is so baffling, and ultimately for me doesn’t work at all. She doesn’t work as their love-interest, and on a broader level just doesnt’ work as a character at all.
-Pace. It moves too slowly, is too repetitive, and everything is dragged out far too long, just as in all Taiwanese dramas(what I wouldn’t give for 10-episode lengths instead of 20!)
Side note: Wu Zun can’t act at all, Jerry Yan can only mildly act, but Show Luo as usual is a revelation in this film. His character is at times cheesy and overacted but that’s how he’s supposed to be. LOVE him.