There’re a number of directions this review can go. I can either:
- rant about the crazy, nonsensical plot which dragged down the second half of this series
- rant about how much potential RRB had and all the ways it failed to deliver
- just post screencaps of all the times Peter was topless and be all pervy about it
- mush over how cute Peter is in general
- mush over how cute Peter & Janine are as a couple
I guess the above sums up how schizophrenic I feel over this series.
Peter. Janine. Peter and Janine.
Prior to RRB I haven’t watched any Peter Ho dramas before so I was pleasantly surprised. He is actually a good actor plus he offered lots of eye candy! Everytime I was beginning to lose interest in an episode, he would show up topless. OKAYYYYY, you got my attention now! Ren Jia Kai suits Peter to a T – the good looking, confident guy with a soft heart inside. Plus I just love his occasional English outbursts. (This is completely random, but I loved the way he said “Kelly” LOL.) As Duo Duo says, he is really a prince in this series. But that doesn’t mean he is flawless. Unfortunately I don’t think that aspect was fully developed in this series, will expand on this in the next section.
Janine – she is definitely one of my favourite actresses because of her natural beauty and aura. Portraying Xiao Xiang is a change for her. Although in the beginning she was hidden in bad hair and distasteful clothes, it’s hard to convince the audience that Xiao Xiang is not beautiful (or Pickled Vegetable Girl as Jia Kai describes her) because she is Janine Chang! If she is considered ‘pickled vegetable’ what hope is there for the rest of the population? OK, this is idol drama land so we can let that slide. But overall, Janine did a great job here, she had a lot of crying scenes and they were done well. My problem is with Xiao Xiang the character, rather than Janine the actress.
As for Peter and Janine, from the very beginning I loved every one of their scenes. They just have a lot of natural chemistry together. Love love love this couple, definitely OTP right from the get go. It was hilarious how in the beginning Jia Kai teased Xiao Xiang a lot, and their bickering is just so sweet. Then as their relationship evolved, you can’t help but smile at their cuteness. Even as the plot self destructs towards the end it was rather enjoyable to see Jia Kai got all jealous over Xiao Xiang’s ex boyfriend. I hope they will collaborate again in a better series. Their chemistry is almost wasted here with the not-so-great plot.
In my mid point review, I mentioned how Xiao Xiang was getting on my nerves. That now seems pale in comparison to the rest of the series. I think the turning point was the first kidnapping with crazy Senator’s wife. Everything from that point onwards seems either rushed, unresolved or unnecessary.
First of all, just after half way through the series Jia Kai and Xiao Xiang had a major confession moment which resulted in them getting together too quickly. Their earlier flirting, teasing and bickering were really enjoyable to watch so it was rather unfortunate their whole relationship dynamic changed so quickly. Plus, it seems all the issues that come up for the couple are resolved in the next episode, which left giant question marks over my head. One area which I thought they could’ve explored more was Jia Kai’s approach to his work. Despite his love for Xiao Xiang, he can be quite ruthless in the workplace. This was evidenced by how he used the Tug a war team as a selling tool for one of his clients. There was some initial conflict between him and Xiao Xiang but again, these problems resolved very quickly.
As the series went on, (where Jia Kai and Xiao Jie fights over Xiao Xiang) Xiao Xiang seems way too wishy washy – one minute she’s so determined to leave Jia Kai (getting the cheque from the Hospital Chief) and then the next minute she’s wants to be with him again.
I think the writers tried to give the Jia Kai & his dad storyline some resolution but I still don’t understand why his dad was so hell bent on destroying his son’s marriage / girlfriend before. Then the whole Jia Kai disgracing his dad in front of the public was just… wow. But the repercussions were hardly felt and just as quickly they reconcile.
Unresolved / Wasted Potential
Another problem I have with the series is how the supporting leads (Xiao Xiang’s ex boyfriend Xiao Jie, Jia Kai’s ex wife Kelly) never had a chance. LIKE EVER. The writers tried to make them sympathetic but really, no one can question how this story is going to end. It could’ve been different but this potential was never explored. I’m quite surprised to write this but I actually wanted more about Xiao Jie / Ming Xin and Kelly / Ou Wei. We’re supposed to believe Xiao Jie wants to be with Ming Xin now just from two flashback scenes? As for Kelly, I didn’t even realize she’s turned ‘good’. I don’t remember her telling the truth to Jia Kai’s sister? Did I fall asleep during that part? How come she ended up helping Jia Kai? Plus I would’ve loved to see her end up with Ou Wei. His character was quite hilarious in the beginning then sort of disappeared after the mid way point which was a shame.
Oh… and it would’ve been nice to see if the Tug-a-war actually won. PLUS – was I dreaming or did they try to introduce some sort of a romantic storyline for Pheonix (one of the tug a war girls?) In the episode where Jia Kai’s father was kidnapped, wasn’t Jang Xian talking to Xiao Zhao (one of Jia Kai’s staff) and he was mentioning something about Pheonix???? WTH?
Most of the second last episode, and some of the final episode was just… HUH? The ‘fight’ over Xiao Xiang just ended up to be really stupid. And that last flashback scene to Jia Kai and Xiao Xiang’s childhood – OMG… what the hell was that and where did that come from? I think the writers are trying too hard to make the couple seem like they’re ‘destined’ for each other. But really, if they had any faith in their script it was really unnecessary. Looking back, the set up in the beginning was actually done quite well. Whether it’s the scenes in the elevator, when Jia Kai visits Xiao Xiang during quarantine and finally, when she visits him at the photographic exhibition – you really felt *something* was there between them already. That part about the childhood at the end just felt out of place and completely WTH.
I really wanted to like this series. I really did. There were some parts I really enjoyed (and I can watch those scenes over and over again) but a lot of it towards the end were not so enjoyable. If it wasn’t for Peter and Janine, this series would’ve been a complete waste of time.