Black and White

Vic Zhou finally, finally, finally has a new drama coming out; it’s been on my radius for a while ever since I first heard of it and went into mad ecstasy because a)my favorite Taiwanese actor is making a drama comeback b)he’s finally taking on another serious role after the brilliant and amazing Mars and c)the plot sounds to die for.  It’s finally premiering April 11 so I thought I’d make a post on it.  It’s called Black and White and is about hot cops is about two cops who are forced to team up together to take down the dark forces riddling their city.

  • Title: 痞子英雄 / Pi Zi Ying Xiong
  • English title: Black & White
  • Genre: Police, action
  • Broadcast network: PTS
  • Broadcast period: 2009-Apr-11 to 2009
  • Air time: Saturday 23:00 – 24:00

Synopsis

Pi Zi and Ying Xiong are two cops who are as different as day and night. One does nothing except for drinking coffee and living a luxurious lifestyle while waiting for information from dubious sources to crack his cases. Another believes law and justice are the pillars of society and is constantly on the street catching criminals… a little overzealously for his superior’s liking. When a case brought these two top crime solvers together, sparks fly and a little light peeks into this dark city where the nation’s President is on friendly terms with the local mafia and people are killed while drinking milkshakes.

Cast

Continue reading

Advertisements

Vic Zhou pic of the day

13db805219e430_full1

Se7en, and a Barbie Hsu/Vic Zhou reunion?

The mystery surrounding the timing of Se7en’s U.S. debut continues, although his myspace page apparently states that it will happen sometime this year. You’ll forgive me if I don’t run screaming into the streets as the news, since Se7en has been “debuting” in the U.S. for quite some time now.

In other, much more exciting rumours, Barbie Xu, also known as Da S, might team up with previous castmate and former boyfriend of 3 years, Vic Zhou, in another drama!! The drama in question is called Summer of Bubbles / Bubbles’ Summer/Pao Mo Zhi Xia, is based on a best-selling novel, and will apparently come out in 09, although there’s precious little news beyond that. Barbie I believe is highly likely to star in it, while the male lead is less certain…unfortunately, I have difficulty believing that a couple who were together for three years and broke up only 6 months ago would be willing to work together(at all, much less this soon), which is perhaps why it’s only a rumour and not confirmed…:( If it were only true though – Vic and Barbie have such incredible, deep, amazing chemistry, and Mars was so dark that I’ve always wanted to see them in another role together – they could be so adorable.

Synopsis of the plot of Summer of Bubbles/Pao Mo Zhi Xia-

Continue reading

Eyecandy Tuesday: Vic Zhou

Every Tuesday, I feature a line-up up pretty pics of an Asian star for your viewing pleasure.

Up first:
my personal favorite Vic Zhou, also known as Zaizai or Vic Chou Zhou Yu Min, a 27-year old Taiwanese actor/singer, best known for his roles in the dramas/miniseries Mars and Silence.

Sweet Relationship(in progress)

great review here
and here

Love Storm

  • Episodes: 21
  • Genre: Romance, comedy
  • Broadcast network: CTS
  • Broadcast year: 2003
  • Theme Song: Jue Ding Ai Ni (決定愛你) Decided to love you by Vivian Hsu

Cast:

Dramaworld rating: 3/5

Synopsis:
One day as a child, Jia Le watches her aunt’s lover jump in front of a train of wedding cars to keep her aunt from marrying someone she doesn’t love. Unable to forget that day, Jia Le decides to find her own hero as she grows up, one who is willing to risk his life for her just as her aunt’s lover did. One day, she meets him(Vic Zhou as Lu Ying Feng). But will he love her back? Even after she starts working for the company he’s a manager at in order to get to know him better, he rejects her as a rich, spoiled “Barbie doll”. Meanwhile, Wan Bao Long, a childhood friend of Jia Le’s who has always loved her, has come back into her life. Will Jia Le’s love ever win her “hero” over? And if it does, what other obstacles will they face? And is he truly her hero? Beginning as a fluffly, Bridget-Jones-like romantic comedy, Love Storm develops into into a darker, more serious drama, including themes such as fraud, the mafia, sacrifice and loyalty.

I must admit that, overall, this drama rather baffled me. Oh, I loved it, overall, and certainly enjoyed most of it – but I’ve never seen such an odd mix of elements and themes. For the first 9 episodes – the one-third or so – this drama is essentially a Taiwanese version of the Bridget Jones/Legally-blonde type chick flicks. It’s mostly bubbly, fluffy, light romantic comedy(with a few added grains of sensitivity and angst, as this is an Asian drama), and I’ve never seen so much pink in my entire life(and yes, that includes Legally Blonde). Then, about halfway through, it takes a giant and almost entirely un-foreshadowed sidestep into serious territory, including the mafia, violence and themes of loyalty, betrayal and sacrifice. All the characters do a great deal of growing up at this point – indeed one of the most amazing things about this drama is how very much(and how realistically the process was portrayed) the heroine, Jia Le, grows up during the course of it – from a spoiled, empty-headed, Barbie-like only daughter of wealthy parents(NB: Vivian Hsu is gorgeous and why on earth they insisted on dressing her like a doll, complete with bangs and hair clips, for nine-tenths of the drama I have no idea), she becomes a mature, assertive, self-sacrificial woman with her own career and a courage that sets an example to all around her. The Jia Le during the first part of this drama is sweet and likable(fortunately, I’ve had enough of stories of rich bitches who change) but spoiled and thoughtless. The Jia Le at the end is also sweet, but mature, and much much more likable. Vivian Hsu plays her very well, really inhabiting her character’s at times limited part. With a cast of very likable and endearing supporting characters, including Wan Bao Long as Jia Le’s childhood friend and Jin Yan Ling, Xiu Qin and Zhang Yu Chen as her trio of loyal girlfriends, Love Storm often succeeds at being very funny and very endearing as it follows the trials, travails, and interactions of these young people with their oh-so-serious problems. At it’s best, Love Storm does not take itself seriously, while at the same time having some really incredible things to say about the nature of friendship(a much-underused theme in all of cinema). The darker, second half is both more and less succesful. More, in that there’s less pink and it deals with deeper themes, achieving greater emotional and plot complexity, and less, in that the sudden switch and the way the rest of it is handled is somewhat uneven. Dramas tend to be very clear-cut in terms of overall focus/genre. Either they’re a tragedy(involving death at the end) or they’re a comedy(e.g. Full House) or they’re a romance, which will involve some tragedy but little or no real violence or psychological darkness(Goong). Love Storm tries to combine two very different cinematic genres – the fluffy romantic comedy with the gangster film – and its success, as a result, is rather uneven. After so many episodes of light, faintly tongue-in-cheek fluff, I was not only rather bewildered, but in some ways just couldn’t buy, the switch to dark-gangster mode. It was also, as dramas tend to be, a little overly melodramatic.

Overall, however, both themes – the comedy and the tragedy – were well-handled and compelling – it was only the combination, the juxtaposition which was unfortunate. Love Storm contains many amazing scenes however – Wan Bao Long singing to Jia Le(lyrics to the song “Inside my Guitar”), the scene in which Ling Feng is talking to the boy about pushing people away and we realize he’s talking about himself, the girlfriends calling and supporting Jia Le beneath her window…last but not least, much of Love Storm’s amazingness is in the details – there’s a thread of surprising metaphoric poetry that runs through it – the way that it portrays the themes of Ling Feng’s loneliness, status as an orphan, and connection to the sea is really quite brilliant in its own way, and wholly magical. For the first half, Love Storm was such an adorable mix of fluff, chick flick and genuine heart that all I could do wass laugh out loud and consent to loving it, and for the second half, all I could do was be drawn in, and consent to keep loving it overall.

Preview:

Watch here

Mars Official Review

  • English title: Mars
  • Genre: Romance / suspense / action
  • Episodes: 20
  • Broadcast network: CTS
  • Broadcast period: 2004
  • Opening theme song: Ling (零) Zero by Alan Kuo
  • Ending theme song: Rang Wo Ai Ni (讓我愛你) Let me love you by Vic Zhou and Barbie Xu
  • Insert songs: Shuo Ai Wo (說愛我) Say You Love Me by Liang Yi Zhen
Bai Se Lian Qu (白色戀曲) White Love Song by RaRa

Cast:

Based on: Japanese shoujo manga “Mars” by Fuyumi Soryo

Dramaworld rating: 5/5

Dramaworld Spoiler review

Mars is a darkly brooding, psychologically complex drama that takes the viewer on an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. It is also one of the best and most complex dramas I’ve ever seen, highlighted by incredible(and incredibly nuanced) performances from its main leads, Vic Zhou and Barbie Xu. Vic plays a carefree, daredevil playboy with a tortured soul, while Barbie is a shy, traumatized artist with a past. It is essentially a story of two broken people healing each other. What sets Mars apart from other dramas(besides its unusual, and very successful, take on the opposites-attracting formula) is its emotional depth and superb acting. Vic and Barbie not only totally inhabit their characters, but they also have incredible chemistry. It sags a bit in the middle, with too much repetitiveness/focus on a minor character, but the beginning and end, and much in between , are amazing beyond all reason. Highly recommended(only don’t watch if you’re looking for something light and frothy). As Lianne put it in her Sleep is for the Weak review of the manga it’s based on, “Mars has a very surreal, often dreamlike quality about it, and its major violence and darkness mostly come off feeling, appropriately, like a nightmare.”

Mars was what many fans were looking for after previous Taiwanese drama Meteor Garden – a re-pairing of actors Vic Zhou and Barbie Hsu, who had a secondary romance in that drama and won over many with their intense chemistry, but who were not ultimately the OTP, or main romance. Mars turned out to be far more, however, than an extension of Vic’s role as Huaze Lei in Meteor Garden or a reuniting of the two characters – in fact both play characters who are as opposite to their roles in Meteor Garden as possible(this time around, it is Barbie who is the shy, reserved one while Vic is the assertive, loud-mouthed one).  Ultimately, however, Mars is a completely differenet and in many ways better drama – it deals with much deeper themes and possessed a level of emotional and technical sophistication and nuance that Meteor Garden is completely lacking in. It is also the drama which really sparked Vic Zhou’s interest in acting; it became a turning point in his career and after it he turned to acting as his main focus rather than his musical career.

Synopsis:

Han Qi Luo(Barbie Hsu), an introverted art student, and Chen Ling, a popular playboy, attend the same college. One day, meeting by chance, Ling asks her for directions to the nearby hospital. Qi Luo draws him a map on the back of one of her sketches and gives it to him, then runs off. Finding the sketch later, Ling is unexpectedly drawn to it…and so begins one of drama’s great love stories. But can her overcome her shyness/apparent hatred of men, and can the two of them overcome their pasts?

Yesasia’s synopsis:
“Asia’s most popular group F4’s Vic Chou continues the ideal romantic pairing with Barbie Xu beyond Meteor Gardens II, in the extraordinary new Taiwanese drama, MARS!

An adaptation of popular Japanese manga MARS, the television series is directed by the acclaimed Cai Yue Xun. Vic plays two characters, a pair of identical twins with an exploding dark, tragic passion. Zero is reckless, brutal and passionate, losing himself in the speed thrill of motorcycles. Saint on the other hand is quiet and reserved, lives in satisfaction and peace, delivering his passion into drawing. They are a pair of loving brothers until the arrival of Saori, and when Saint cannot accept the fact that Saori loves Zero, he committed suicide. Zero is destroyed by the guilt of Saint’s death, and ended up in a mental institution for two years…until the arrival of Kira (Barbie Xu), who managed to find the deepest wound buried in Zero. Kira suffers from autism after a traumatic event from her childhood, can she discover the most beautiful thing in the world, love, again?”

Notes:
-The motorcycle racing was shot on location in Japan.

-Both Vic and Barbie received rave reviews for their performances, and Mars is generally considered to be one of the better/best dramas to come out of Taiwan since the drama craze started.

-Won the 40th Annual 2005 Golden Bell Awards Favorite Drama of the Year

Watch here