Drama Review: Beauties at Crossfire/Feng Huo Jia Ren (烽火佳人)
Link to watch: Youtube
Translated Summary -
Translated Summary -
The story sets in the 20th century. Born into the imperial family, Tung Yu Wan (Shu Chang) is forced/arranged by her parents to marry the real estate tycoon Du Rui Dai's son Du Yun Tang (Sammul Chan). She endures hardship and obstacles in the complicated Du Family Household to become Shanghai's prominent female tycoon. Her husband Yun Tang, who seems ignorant and unconcerned about the family's matters, becomes Yu Wan's partner. Zhou Ting Shen (Qiao Zhen Yu), Shanghai's King Shen Zhi Pei (Tan Kai)'s top-notch assassin, joins the communist force. Yu Wan's childhood encounter Lai Shao Feng (Li Zhi Nam) takes over the identity of the Li Family's kidnapped son, marries his sister Li Xue Mei to Shen Zhi Pei, and ally himself with the Japanese. Experiencing military power struggles, business competitions, and party conflicts, Tung Yu Wan triumphs in this era of chaos and power battle. She donates all her assets to the Communist Party and retires to the countryside with her husband Yun Tang.
Plot Summary -
Tung Yu Wan is forced to marry Du Yun Tang even though she only loves her savior Zhou Ting Shen. After two failed attempts at eloping, Yu Wan gives up and accepts her fate. Yun Tang, on the other hand, dismissed his father's idea but because of his mother's past schemes, he agrees to the marriage. Seeing this as an opportunity to avenge Qing Ping's (who he loves) death, he takes every chance to humiliate Yu Wan. Yun Tang believes the women in the Du Family will eventually turn deceitful and schemeful in order to keep their husband by their side.
However, Yu Wan's kindness and independence gradually soften Yun Tang's heart. She makes bargains with him to better her life at the Du household. Their love is continually tested with the appearance of Qing Ping's long-lost twin sister Hong Yu, the reappearance of Yu Wan's first love Ting Shen in her life, and the family's fight against the Japanese for the harbor.
Entertaining storyline - really liked the arrange marriage plot, enjoyed listening to all the songs in this series, loved the cast, but the villains can be despicable and take up a large portion of screen time making them seem like the first leads, some parts had choppy editings
The main leads do get a happy ending so I enjoyed watching this drama.
Shu Chang as Tung Yu Wan
Tung Yu Wan only daughter of the Tung family. She wants to be independent and decides who she wants to be with. She falls in love with Zhou Ting Shen but they were not meant to be. So she agrees to her parents' arranged marriage to the Du family's second son Du Yun Tang. I've first seen her in the series Palace II and I didn't find her spectacular nor pretty. But she played twins in that series so I still remember her. I actually find her really pretty in this drama especially with her different outfits. I look forward to her future dramas.
Sammul Chan as Du Yun Tang
Du Yun Tang is the second son of the Du family even though his mother is the first wife. He acts as if he doesn't care about anything whether it is family matter or the business. But he is very clever and a genius when it comes to the stock market. It was love at first sight when he saw Qing Ping. So when she dies, he, thinking that Yu Wan caused her death, agrees to the arranged marriage to avenge his love. Having watched TVB dramas, I've watched many series that Sammul acted in. He made a wise decision in moving his then stagnant career to Mainland as the characters he played in TVB series weren't that memorable and weren't able to bring out his full potential. The first Mainland drama he starred in that I have watched is Schemes of a Beauty with Ruby Lin. I enjoyed most parts of the drama and it was this drama that I began to like him as an actor. His character do gets despicable in the middle but I guess that is what happened to him happened.
Qiao Zhen Yu as Zhou Ting Shen
Zhou Ting Shen, also known as the Black Eagle, is a personal bodyguard of General Shen. He falls in love with Yu Wan but they didn't have the fate to end up together. However, he still remains by her side to protect her. Even though he is heroic and righteous, he unfortunately has a heinous father who often instigates problems. I really loved the character and the actor; I haven't seen him in dramas before so I also look forward to his future works.
Li Zhi Nam as Lai Shao Feng
Lai Shao Feng is the only son of the Lai family. But he is not the real Lai Shao Feng as he impersonates the real son who died in an abduction as a kid. He is forced to seek ways to revitalize the family's prestige after years of financial issues. I've seen him acted before in the series Sealed With A Kiss with Hawick Lau. He didn't play a huge role so I can't remember the details about his character in Sealed With A Kiss. But I despised him, his character, in here. I guess he acted his character well because I wanted to end terribly. I am always excited whenever his plans are ruined by Yu Wan or Yun Tang.
Wu Jin Yan as Hong Yu/Qing Ping
Hong Yu and Qing Ping are twin sisters separated at birth. Qing Ping is talented in music and she and Lai Shao Feng falls in love due to their mutual understanding through music. She is forced to marry Zhou Ting Shen's father and is killed by him when she is caught with Lai Shao Feng. Hong Yu appears after Yu Wan and Yun Tang gets married and is deliberately sent by Lai Shao Feng to wreck their marriage. The actress played both characters well but this is mainly based off Hong Yu's performance since Qing Ping dies fairly early. Qing Ping emits an air of sophistication and elegance while Hong Yu is just head-on despicable that anyone wants to slap her whenever she harms Yu Wan. I am extremely satisfied with her ending because she deserves it!
Shi Xiao Qun as Min Ru
Min Ru is an assassin sent to kill General Shen. But she falls in love with the General's bodyguard Zhou Ting Shen. Even though she knows he only loves Yu Wan, she still stays by his side and will always be there whenever he amidst troubles. The first time I've seen Shi Xiao Qun was in Startling by Each Step playing the 8th Prince's wife. She looks so different here that I didn't recognized her! I think she looks younger here compared to in Startling.
Tan Kai as Shen Zhi Pei
Shen Zhi Pei is a general, considered Shanghai's king after settling in Shanghai. He marries Lai Shao Feng's sister Lai Xue Mei seeing that she and his dead wife looks extremely alike.
Li Jing Yang as Lai Xue Mei
Lai Xue Mei is the sister of Lai Shao Feng. She agrees to marry Shen Zhi Pei in order to help Shao Feng gain what he wants. She is close friends with Yu Wan but she doesn't possess the same modern mindset Yu Wan has.
Cai Hang as Gu Piao
Gu Piao (literally translated as stock) is an assistant and friend of Yun Tang. Being a genius at arithmetic, Yun Tang lets him stay by his side to help him. His character is a comedic relief and really adorable.
Li Guo Lin as Zhou Ming Chang
Zhou Ming Chang is the father of Zhou Ting Shen. He is an opium addict; if it wasn't for his son, he would have died ages ago.
Wu Dai Rong as Du Rui Dai
Du Rui Dai is the head of the Du family. He is wise and clever but he unfortunately has an unfilial idiot as a son who indirectly led to his sudden death. He trusts Yu Wan and often gives her many opportunities as a women.
I didn't watch its indirect sequel A Beauty in Troubled Times(乱世佳人) but seeing its trailer and this trailer, BAC interested me more.
What I Have to Say:
I know this is based off a novel. I haven't read the novel so I don't know whether the script follows the novel closely or the writers played a huge role in the script.
I like the cast a lot. I am a fan of Shu Chang and Qiao Zhen Yu. I really enjoyed their acting. The beginning half and the last few episodes are excellent but the middle became draggy especially when it tends to focus more on Lai Shao Feng. Someone actually tracked the minutes of the cast's screen appearance in a few episodes at the middle of the drama and unsurprisingly Lai Shao Feng has the most screentime compared to the three leads. I despised since character but must applaud the actor for his excellent facial expressions.
From the synopsis, I was expecting a character transformation like Zhen Huan in Legend of Zhen Huan but I guess I expected too much. Yu Wan becomes stronger when she loses everything which is like five episodes before the story ends. I like how Yun Tang helped Yu Wan win in the stock market battle but it doesn't really contribute to her characterization as a stronger woman but rather more to their romance. Since this drama is not as dark as LOZH and it has a happy ending, I will overlook this expectation.
I enjoyed the moments Yu Wan and Yun Tang shared in the beginning because it was actually comical and cute. But as the story progressed, the writers decides to add in more spice to their relationship by introducing Hong Yu in their relationship. Hong Yu becomes increasingly nerve-wrecking because Yu Wan wouldn't fight back. Instead, it is her mother-in-law that helps her to the point where she decides to give up because of Yu Wan's refusal to take her advice to use tactics. Compared to her mother-in-law, Yu Wan is kind but also weak as well.
I really like the music in the drama especially the opening. I like the meaning of the opening lyrics because real love can be tested through trials and tribulations. Through this experience, you can either confirm that he is the one or realize that he is not the right one.
The villains: Lai Shao Feng, Hong Yu, Zhou Ming Chang
Except for ZMC, I don't exactly know how the other two ended up. Did they die or did they end up in prison? The ending focused more on the protagonists and hastily concluded the antagonists' repercussions. Since I really despised all of them, I guess they succeed in acting out the character. I especially dislike Hong Yu largely because she keeps telling Yun Tang that she likes him unlike Yun Tang or she tells others not to insult her love. The voice actress who dubbed her voice also greatly contributes to the ideal end result.
SPOILERS(if you've seen the trailer, most of the scenes below are already shown):
Favorite Scenes: (mainly the romance scenes before the appearance of Hong Yu because it's hilarious)
1) Yu Wan and Yun Tang's Scenes
GIF temporarily not available
(YT tricks YW into signing over the ownership to him)
Beginning of their relationship - Episode 8, 10 - 16, 18 - 19:
Episode 8: YT proposes to YW, challenging her
Episode 14: YW makes a deal with YT, YT reveals that he tricked YW into signing ownership to him
Episode 16: YW and YT has to spend time at a freight harbor to resolve some issues
Episode 19: YW and YT consummate marriage
2) Episode 21: Yun Tang appears when Yu Wan tries to save Ting Shen
3) Episode 32: YT finds out YW is pregnant even though HY tries to hide it from him; YT tries to reconcile with YW
4) Episode 33: YT and YW disguises themselves to approach an architect for suggestions
5) Episode 47: YW finally becomes strong after losing everything - starts own business
6) Episode 49: Yun Tang helping Yu Wan win in her battle against Lai Shao Feng and Madame Jin
7) Episode 42: YW devises a plan that prevents Lai Shao Feng from marrying Du Ruo Yin
8) Episode 52: YW reunites with YT in the end and decides to reside in the countryside
1) Episode 29(End) - 30: Yu Wan's mother dies by sacrificing her life to guard Yu Wan's reputation
2) Episode 47: Yu Wan's child Si Tang dies in her arms (Shu Chang's crying skills were superb during this scene)
1) Zhou Ting Shen: really love this kick-ass character; even though he can't be with Yu Wan, he vows to protect her and even her husband's family
2) Min Ru: didn't really like her character at first but she's actually awesome; she stayed by Ting Shen's side even though he doesn't like her
3) Tung Yu Wan: sometimes she does piss me off especially when she seems strong and independent in the beginning but she cries rather too often when YT bullies her
I really like the idea of the plot but the execution of the story isn't exactly perfect. There are scenes that aren't necessary which made the drama draggy at times. While there are some scenes missing from the trailer that are actually important like when Shao Feng is forced to execute Xue Mei and a scene with Gu Piao. Overall, this is an enjoyable drama compared to other mainland Chinese dramas.
Opening Theme: Encountering the Best of You at the Worst Time (最坏时候遇上最好的你) by Sammul Chan and A'lu'a'zhuo
Ending Theme: Love You As My Life (爱你如命) by A'lu'a''zhuo