Friday, June 6, 2014

[O] Bu Bu Jing Qing / 步步惊情 [2014][China]

This is a collection of various commentaries and opinions about this series under one post. If you see this at the top, this means it is updated. For more under this post, do click the Read More button. I welcome your comments and your thoughts as well so do use Post A Comment and do indicate which episode you're talking about. Since this is a threaded comment system, you can reply directly to any given comments you wish to reply to. When this is done, I will move this to Reviews Database.






SOME INFORMATION
Title
步步惊情 / Bu Bu Jing Qing

Also known as
Startling Love With Each Step/Bu Bu Jing Xin 2/Scarlet Heart 2

Episodes
35

Synopsis
Zhang Xiao is a white collar female worker. By chance, Zhang Xiao finds work at "Zhen Tian", one of China's most famous internet companies. Like any other ordinary newcomer to the business industry, Zhang Xiao is ostracised by her fellow colleagues. Luckily, her superior Yin Zheng sees her as a talented worker and helps her avoid difficult situations. Slowly, Yin Zheng and Zhang Xiao develop unspoken feelings for each other, but before it can progress any further, a gentle and considerate Kang Si Han enter's Zhang Xiao's world. It turns out that both men are candidates to the successor of this company and Zhang Xiao suddenly finds herself in the centre of a power struggle.

Cast
Cecilia Liu as Zhang Xiao/Lan Lan
Chai Wei as Zhang Xiao/Lan Lan (child)
Nicky Wu as Yin Zheng
Zheng Wei as Yin Zheng (child)
Sun Yizhou as Kang Sihan
Bian Chen as Kang Sihan (child)
Ye Zuxin as Jack
Chen Xiang as Huang Di
Yico Zeng as Ling Dang
Cai Yatong as Mo Xiaohe
Gan Yu as Zhang Zejiang
Jiang Jingfu as Kang Siyu
Ye Qing as Meng Xinyi
Damian Lau as Kang Zhentian
Annie Liu as Ma Yinuo (Lan Lan)
Zhao Chulun as Han Qing
He Yin as Zhao Lan
Wu Li as Ms. Qiao
Wang Zhifei as Yin Jianhua
Cristy Guo as Ai Mili
Deng Limin as Liu Donghai
Yin Zhuzheng as Yin Chenggui
Da Li as Wang Tiecheng
Qing He as Mrs. Kang


WHERE TO WATCH
See 05.05.2014 post below for explanation on the different versions.

- China TV version
- China Internet full but censored version
- HK/International full uncensored version

MORE INFO
My commentary on Bu Bu Jing Xin (unfinished but I did finish watching X 3 times)

06.06.2014
OFFICIALLY GIVEN UP
I have officially given up on this series. What an absolute mess and a disgrace to the legacy of BBJX. Unless you're the biggest fan of Cecilia "I am so boring" Liu or Nicky "cool but the hair..." Wu, give this crap a miss. Not worth your time. So I won't be updating this post anymore since I do not intend to watch it. All I know is it is a buffet of an ending with many scenarios played out but the real ending will probably send BBJX fans to euphoria or to some fans like me to "Huh, don't care". Yes it is a happy ending. I want to like Cecilia, and I do like how she works like a horse or a mule or whatever but it doesn't change the fact that she has only 1 boring or bored expression. Comedy, drama, etc and it is just 1. Quantity doesn't equate to quality.
 
This is a sequel that should not have been made.




17.05.2014
ASTRO QUAN JIA HD WILL BE SHOWING THIS SERIES WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Confirmed. Starting tomorow on 18.05.2014, you can watch...

1. every Sunday for 5 consecutive episodes starting 1.30pm (will confirm on this); OR
2. 1 episode every weekday 11.30pm

There will be English subtitles and HD version AND more importantly, from the trailer, looks like the HK version aka unedited, uncensored, full version complete with the BBJX references.

YEAH!


08.05.2014
ASTRO QUAN JIA HD WILL BE SHOWING THIS SERIES WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Yes, ASTRO QUAN JIA HD will be showing BBJQ with English subtitles and from the trailer, looks like uncut and uncensored version. Question is when? Because never said when and what time. What an amazing ad huh? If you know, do tell. I don't wanna miss this.


05.05.2014
WHY SO MANY VERSIONS AND WHICH ONE TO WATCH
I am sure you are as confused as I am over why so many versions and why my WHERE TO WATCH is consisted of THIS ONE, THIS ONE, THIS ONE sort of pointers. Basically it is China's fault.

You see, China banned time traveling in their series and so since BBJQ is a sequel to BBJX, naturally there will be references to time traveling in the images and the dialogue. So as to be able to broadcast on China TV, sacrifices has to be made. These are the various versions in Youtube;

At first there were 2 versions. TV version and then Internet Sohu version.

TV version would be censored and redubbed version meaning all references to time traveling and Ruoxi are all cut out and redubbed. You have lips that do not match the dialogue and Zhang Xiao, formerly Ruoxi now stalking our hero, Yinzheng, formerly Yinzhen in BBJX and in flashbacks. Missing are flashbacks as well. The first clue this is the TV version is episode 1, first scene and Zhang Xiao is watching BBJX on TV and becoming obsessed with Ruoxi and Yongzheng which explains why she is then obsessed with modern day Yizhen. Stupid isn't it?

Then there was the Internet Sohu version which was uploaded until 5 episodes I think. In this version originally you will find full uncensored version as intended by Tangren the producer. So this will include all the flashback, dialogues about BBJX, etc. You will know it is this version if you see the Sohu logo AND episode 1 it starts with Yongzheng as in BBJX crying and mourning for Ruoxi and saying he will find her in the future if she had to leave the present or something like that and ordering boxes containing also the magnolia hairpin and his jade ring to be transported elsewhere and we see the soldiers passing by a volatile looking desert. However China warned Sohu and so Sohu stopped uploading the uncensored version and thereafter you will find another full but censored version.

The third version is internet version which is full but censored. This means it has most of the missing scenes from TV version, it starts like how Sohu started but I have read the dialogues about time traveling, BBJX, etc have all been redubbed. Basically it is just a longer version of the TV version.

The fourth version is the international TV version where international TV is not restricted by whatever China dictates. So in this version you will find full uncensored version as intended and filmed and written, which I am sure will have many flashback scenes, original dialogue, etc which will have continuity from BBJX. I am sure fans of BBJX will want to watch this version. So far HKTVB is broadcasting up until episode 2 at the date of this post and I am told this is indeed the holy grail fans have been looking for. So you wanna watch BBJQ the full uncensored version and not some hacked to pieces version? Find the HK version with TVB logo. It is in Mandarin.

Good news for Malaysian viewers because ASTRO will be showing BBJQ in HD (channel to be confirmed since I forgot) beginning I believe 12.05.2014 though I am not sure. Someone saw the trailer, not me and schedule did not list BBJQ for this week so it must be true. I will update this post. I am pretty sure it will be international version  WITH English subtitles as it always is. Again I will update this post.

So in short, you want BBJQ as intended, watch HK version in youtube. It is 25 episodes slower but it is the one you want. If you never watched BBJX and so doesn't care, aim for what the uploaders call Uncensored full TV version but if you don't see the TVB logo or International/HK version in the description, that ain't the version as intended.

Which means I am rebooting. I will watch my TV version if it is the full uncensored international version. Or at least the TVB version.

- TV version
- Internet full but censored version
- HK/International full uncensored version

28.04.2014
WATCHED UNTIL EPISODE 5
I skipped a little here and there because after watching episode 1 I almost wanted to stop watching. Never doubt my love for Bu Bu Jing Xin. I even bought the special edition DVD from Taobao China, I downloaded the Singapore English subbed version AND the HD English fansubbed version. So basically I have all the major versions out there plus the DVDs. Also my sister bought the books. Unfinished although she said was well written.  I read the online English translated version, also unfinished. I love it so much I watched the last 8 episodes in one night and I had sleep deprivation as well as crying my eyes out. I cried and cried and cried and cried. Then I watched again my favourite episodes and moments and I cried and cried and cried and cried. Then I went to Beijing and accidentally went to Yonghe Palace, which was the former residence of 4th prince aka Emperor Yongzheng and seen many many things that confirms my feeling that Yongzheng is to me my most favourite Chinese Emperor (and he wasn't 100% Chinese!)  and the most misunderstood. I came home, then I watched the proper CCTV version, Yong Zheng Wang Chao and I cried and cried and cried for 13th Prince. Then sometimes I will rewatch some favourite moments but less tears. I tried writing a review, couldn't do it. Tried writing a commentary which remains unfinished. I will never write a review for Bu Bu Jing Xin, probably because I don't want to watch it with a critical eye. If I do, faults are everywhere. Without that critical eye, I could admire the top class production where the costumes for Qing Dynasty remains unrivaled. This is the series where you MUST watch in HD and nothing else. The patterns, the colours, all pop up. It also made me appreciate the slyness in Nicky Wu's acting ability, the gentleness and calmness in Kevin Cheng's performance (which this series remains his definitive performance ever and I remember him fondly) as well as introducing me to a slew of Chinese actors. Also made me lament the fact that Cecilia Liu was a miscast because she is not exactly the best actress. The dubbing was good and the ending, though changed was to me so perfect it should just end there. Period.

However there are always sequels, fans demand for it, ratings demand for it, money is the prime reason. I feel when I watched Bu Bu Jing Qing, it wasn't made with love, it was made for ratings and it was made for revenues. I can't feel the passion or the attention to details. In fact it felt like a rehash of Bu Bu Jing Xin in modern times except with even more confusing elements and many princes missing. The actors cast were mostly boring or uncharismatic or no chemistry with the leading lady and the modern costume is just not good enough. I am dead set against a sequel for Bu Bu Jing Xin and if you have never watched Bu Bu Jing Xin, well you may be slightly confused with episode 1. But believe me, come episode 2, this series is a series that can be watched on its own because it deviates from the prequel. It has the same leading lady named Zhang Xiao and that's it. So to be sure, this is NOT a sequel to Bu Bu Jing Xin in contents, just in some elements and in name only.

For the benefit of those who lived in a cave when China's (sorta) hottest series was aired and reaired, this is what happened in Bu Bu Jing Xin;

25 year old Zhang Xiao had an argument with her cheating boyfriend Huang Di one night and rushed out and stepped on a live electric cable and got zapped and then knocked by a car dramatically and when she woke up, she was in the body of a 16 year old Manchurian aristocrat girl by the name of Maertai Ruoxi where the original girl previously was pushed down the stairs and we can assume she died and Zhang Xiao entered her body. She was the younger sister of Ruolan, the cefujin (1st or properly married into the household wife is difujin, everybody else is cefujin) of 8th prince (Kevin Cheng) who was forced to marry the 8th prince and hated the prince for causing the death of her one true love, an unnamed unknown unseen general of her father's army. Yes her father is a commander where they both grew up wild (as wild as proper ladies can be) and free before destined to be forced into loveless arranged marriage of convenience. Ruoxi herself will be due to enter the palace as a err maid? High class sort for training and to be potential concubine for the Emperor, that is Kang Xi. Kang Xi here was at his height, with a devious crown prince as successor and many camps; 8th prince garnered the support of the ministers and most of the princes whilst 4th prince was under the crown prince together with 13th prince. Anyway 8th prince eyed Ruoxi as his cefujin and protected her whilst she was in the palace and she herself catches the eyes of the silly 10th prince, the supposedly righteous 14th prince (real brother of 4th prince but not on his camp) and also 4th prince. Meanwhile she is also BFF with the gallant 13th prince who is in love with a courtesan/prostitute with a very complicated family background he can never ever marry. In short in the I think 19 years or so in the palace she fell for 8th prince only to fall out of love and fell very hard for 4th prince who disappointed her as Yongzheng and so with the help of 14th prince and a decree by the dead Kangxi that 4th prince could not ignore, she was married off to 14th prince as cefujin although it was not a consummated marriage but still in the end she held out for him, waiting for him to return to her one last time but he didn't appear since he didn't know she was dying and she died thinking 4th prince hated her when he found out she once romanced 8th prince whom he hated. In the end everybody dies, even Ruoxi who died at the age of 35 I think who woke up in modern times back as Zhang Xiao. In a museum she found proof she had indeed once lived as Ruoxi, that those were not dreams  and she stumbled into 4th prince lookalike and all she could do was cry as he walks away and she removes her glasses and it was blurry and that was the end of it. Ruoxi by the way had perfect eyesight. THE END.

A lot more happened but that's the gist; it is ultimately a tragic love story.

Hence in this supposed sequel, it begins with 4th prince crying and making a promise that he will find her in her time and he dies, as per the original series. The significance of the 2 artefacts you will see, the magnolia hairpin and the jade ring is this; the magnolia hairpin is Ruoxi's most treasured possession (apart from her handwritten notes, the things he gave her) which was a gift from him to her during their happier times and the jade ring was his which he wore since as a prince. The sequel begins with treasure hunters looking for these lost artefacts where 4th prince ordered to be sent to another place but some freak hurricane  buried the chest deep in the sand. 300 years later, a few guys went looking for it and one of them was to be the younger Kang Zhentian who obviously looks like Kangxi. Come modern time Yinzheng (the modern 4th prince) has the jade ring (with writings engraved that no one can read since it's a bit blurry) and his father (which we later found out is his stepfather and he married the widow of Yinzheng's dad who was one of the treasure hunters who turned on one another but no one knew that except our "emperor") has the hairpin.

Now here enters Zhang Xiao, having woken up stumbled into Yinzheng in the museum. Except in Bu Bu Jing Xin, that scene had Yinzheng as some silly man, a bit more jovial and friendly whilst the Yinzheng in this sequel whom she saw was smartly dressed and dead serious, a lot like 4th prince himself. She decided to follow him and found out he works in a big company and was the I suppose son of the rich man. By the way rich man also has another son I think who opens his own I think cafe? Not sure yet. Anyway expect brothers to fight one another for Zhang Xiao. Anyway where was I? She applies for a job, impresses the "emperor" who somehow takes a liking on her (whilst investigating her background) and she meets again a 10th prince lookalike but now an effiminate supervisor. She is troubled by the fact that everybody she once knew now reappears and confides her predicament to her childish ex boyfriend, Huang Di who works there as well. To cut a long story short, there appears a rising actress by the name of Lan Lan who looks exactly like Zhang Xiao, except taller and who is in the role of Ruoxi. Yinzheng will romance this Lan Lan whilst doing his devious plot against his stepfather using and sacrificing Zhang Xiao. Good news for Zhang Xiao is she again touched on some live wire, electrocuted herself and losses her memory of herself as Ruoxi. From thereon she has a clean slate and is now a pawn for Yinzheng and I don't think she likes him at all. She however likes Sihan (if I got the name right).

And I stopped there.

My first impression was I hated the dubbing. 

I was hoping to hear Nicky Wu's real voice. Since he is adopted anyway, maybe he can be from Taiwan which explains his Taiwanese accent. Nope. Dubbed with same dubber but very disorienting. I like his clothes but his hair is a bit too much. It always is in perfect shape, no matter what. I find it unrealistic. 

Cecilia Liu as Zhang Xiao is perpetually on the  verge of tears or later on on the verge of exasperation. She as Lan Lan is always either staring daggers or crying neurotically. But then I skipped ahead and saw how Lan Lan was raped as a child which was harrowing to watch (yes did show the suggestive scene). So far don't know if the two are related. But I can tell you, I can differentiate between Zhang Xiao and Lan Lan so for that I congratulate Cecilia on managing to do that with wigs and a change of stares. I also like the attention to some small details; different dubbers and Lan Lan is slightly taller. However, that is as far as kudos can be given. Cecilia Liu is so boring, she is so wooden and in the end just so lacking in charisma and a higher degree of acting ability that I just am running out of patience with her Zhang Xiao or Lan Lan.

In fact the part where Zhang Xiao losses her memory is such a sell out. That moment and whatever happened thereafter destroyed everything beautiful about Bu Bu Jing Xin and made this series just another idol drama with insufferable characters. At least in the past there were princes fighting for the throne with a woman stuck in the middle. In here, it tries to recreate that scenario but everybody is just so blue, so sad, so depressed, so untrusting, that right from the start the fun is all gone, the charm is all gone. Maybe it will take another 20 episodes or so to find that rhythm, that charm, that fun, that urgency but for now, when she lost her memory, I was like now that's an excuse to reboot everything isn't it? And to Zhang Xiao, losing her memory was nothing because she was in coma for a few months, woke up 3 months ago and so whatever she lost was when she was comatose, so frankly it made no impact to her person as Zhang Xiao anyway. I was very frustrated. Is this the only way to continue the story and to introduce a new man in her life and put her in a difficult situation? By making her lose her memory? What a bad way to tell a story. And Bu Bu Jing Xin was just a reference point and this sequel pays no respect or even homage to that original series.

I am also annoyed with Huang Di. Obviously changed actor; previously was the then up and coming Ma Tianyu and since he has upped and he has came, he can't be in this secondary role anymore so he is replaced with a guy looking like a young boy that one wonders how temperamental mature Zhang Xiao ever fell for him in the first place. I find him irrelevant. Is he the only character that this series can use as a plot device to connect Zhang Xiao to where Yinzheng works? Of course not! It is just a lazy connection. Huang Di is one character that is not needed in this sequel and I hate how the actor portrays this character; too silly, too childish and next to the super serious looking Cecilia Liu, it really makes me wonder why him? Ma Tianyu may be a different level of an actor so he may be able to pull it off but seriously, a pointless character.

I love Nicky Wu as 4th prince and he brings the same level of deviousness and doubtfulness as to his sincerity as Yinzheng in this sequel. However, I just feel right now he is not intriguing enough and in a world of business, he is the least businessman-like.

I have no love for  Sun Yizhou whom I assume is the other guy Zhang Xiao will fall for. Let's just say they have the chemistry of a wood and a twig.

I am hoping for better stories to come. I am however annoyed why there is a sequel in the first place when there is no story proper enough to continue on with Zhang Xiao's story. Her story as Ruoxi ended when she returned as Zhang Xiao and her story as Zhang Xiao is totally not needed at all. BBJX's ending was poignant, sad, perfect. It should be buried that way. This is a needless sequel. As for this sequel, treat it as a series on its own and you will probably enjoy it for what it is worth; idol drama. Except 1 Cecilia Liu is wooden boring and now you have 2. She really is so very very boring to watch. But I rather watch her than Yuan Shanshan.

4 comments:

  1. I was just wondering if Yin Zheng remembers anything about him being the emperor of China. In the movie, I think he thinks that their story started when the met at the museum, but that's not exactly true.Their story started way way back in time when Zhang Xiao traveled through time and went to the body of Maertai Ruoxi's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don;t think he remembers at all. In fact is he the reincarnation of the emperor is debatable.

      Delete
  2. The ones outside China should be the uncut version.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I download the full episode long ago but it doesn't have subs.
    I gave up the series after the electric and lost memories, after all I don't understand the language.

    Seriously the whole stories ruining my memories of BBJX.

    ReplyDelete