◐ Series Name: Heroes / 說英雄誰是英雄
◐ Director: Li Mu Ge / 李木戈
◐ Episodes: 38
Innocent Wang Xiaoshi leaves his reclusive mountain for the first time to see more of the real world. Along the way, he encounters lifelong friends and comes to realise the world is not so kindly as he is.
◐ Review 3/5 ⭐
Warning: major spoilers abound in this review (ending is basically completely spoiled. In fact, most of the screenshots are from the last episode). Also, this is by no means an intelligent review like I usually do. There is just a lot of shouting on my part.
This Chinese drama started out so promising. SO. PROMISING. You might remember I was raving about this show after three-ish episodes. It then fell into an aimless lull, then picked back up again for a little while.
That was the up-and-down roller coaster this show took me on until the very end.
The most disappointing aspect is that I could see so much potential. The story is great. The characters are mostly interesting and there could have been some excellent character studies done with them.
It fell short in almost all aspects.
But first, what I liked. I’m always a fan of bromances. Our trio of Su Mengzhen, Bai Choufei, and Wang Xiaoshi was adorable, and I may or may not have screamed and rewatched the scene a dozen times when they decided to become sworn brothers. It was just the best. So cute.
Along that, of course, I live for angst and pain and drama (only in fiction)(and provided there is a lovely reconciliation and restoration of relationships by the end), and I did get plenty of that (without the restoration or reconciliation).
Characters I liked included Su Mengzhen, Di Feijing, and Lei Chun. Lei Chun really went from innocent girl to cold badass. The transformation actually made sense (unlike with Bai Choufei). She is such a tragic figure (well, so they all are). By the end, you really can’t think of any other way her story could have ended.
The story has amazing bones. If done well, I would have been very invested indeed.
This is where I start ranting about how much potential was lost. OH HEROES, HOW COULD YOU??
From an editing point of view, the pacing of this show was all over the place. Timelines were confusing, and sometimes a lot of time will have passed, which is either not shown, or shown through a change in hairstyle (also, whoever the hair stylist was for this show should be thrown in a pit of darkness). The progression of events sometimes was completely rushed, or obscenely dragged out, with no in-between. Either way, it made watching confusing. There were several points when the plot had transitioned into the next phase, but it wasn’t well done. This made me want to throw my chips at the screen, shouting, “What the fuck is going on right now??”
I know a bit more about how much we were cheated in the storytelling because my husband read the novel this show was based on in the original Chinese, and it is so different.
For a wuxia show, the fight scenes left a lot to be desired. It’s not even like I watch shows for fight scenes, but even I was left wanting. Did they not have enough budget for a choreographer? What. There was this epic showdown between Di Feijing and another character. What we get: them meeting, preparing to fight, and then cut to.. THE AFTERMATH. WHY?? WHY?!?!
I absolutely despise what they did with Bai Choufei. In an attempt to excuse him for his later actions, they had him “brainwashed,” which turned him into a villain. In the novel, his actions naturally progress to the point where he turns against all his values and fully embraces who he really is. It would have had far more depth if they had allowed him to develop his character organically.
I mean, how outlandish would it have been to have this character who has, from beginning to end, talked of his ambitions and how he aims to be powerful, forsake all other principles in order to achieve that goal? It would not have been. So why the writers decided they needed to brainwash him to take him to the same end was just lazy, and completely ruined his character arc.
This drama deserves a better writer, better actors, and a better hairstylist. Please. I beg you. Remake this show and do it right. We masochists need it.