Long Way


Reviewed by: sukting

December 05, 2005

Rating: three

How long
A telemovie

Foreword

Have you seen Byung Hun working with Piao Zhen Xi (the actress in "Since I met you") before? This may be able to satisfy your curiosity.

Story

It is the New Year and Jin Xuan Zhu (Piao Zhen Xi) is happy. She works in the post office and her boyfriend who has gone steady with her for a long time, Jin Ji Zhe has agreed to accompany her to meet her father. She shops excitedly for things to make sure that Ji Zhe will give her father a good impression. Ji Zhe owns a sports shop and isn't back from the skiing site.

Mr Jin reminds her to get the train tickets early. Mrs Jin passed away when she was very young so he considers this important for her to bring back her boyfriend. Xuan Zhu feels strange that Ji Zhe hasn't returned her calls - is he really so busy? Even his staff, Tai Ying doesn't know where he is. She gets a call - not from Ji Zhe but from Mr Jin to ask what his favourite food is.

Ji Zhe (So Ji Sup) comes and nearly knocks into Zheng Yu Xi (Lee Byung Hyun) who is carrying two big boxes of presents. Yu Xi is a delivery man who grows up in an orphanage. He is sending the presents to the orphans. Xuan Zhu is eager to meet Ji Zhe and is impatient with him sending so many parcels to the same place but addressed to different children. He is wasting her time to meet with Ji Zhe so she is angry.

Ji Zhe tells her to return the train ticket - he isn't going with her. She says that Mr Jin will faint due to disappointment but she is nearly reacting this way now. He finally tells her that he has another woman and should not have agreed to accompany her home in the first place. Seeing them together when he steps out, Yu Xi realizes the reason and smiles - no wonder she is so impatient then.

He really envies the couple as he is still unattached. He nearly forgets that he is supposed to deliver goods. Suddenly Ji Zhe leaves and Xuan Zhu is crying. He immediately stops his van and comes to her - does she want him to stop Ji Zhe's car? She runs away in tears. Yu Xi vows he will never upset his lover in future.

Xuan Zhu's colleague, Mei Xian senses that something is wrong as she never reacts this way. Xuan Zhu decides to beg Ji Zhe to return to her side but she sees him walking out with a pretty woman. What can she say then? Xuan Zhu returns home and doesn't know how to answer to Mr Jin. Ever since Mrs Jin's death, he has seek to drinking. Because of him, she decides to throw away her self-esteem to beg Ji Zhe.

Ji Zhe is a little apologetic and worries what happens if she gets too emotional. He cannot handle that if that happens. She isn't here to salvage their relationship but wants him to return home with her. He knows that he is wrong but he dislikes being draggy and can't force himself. He still wants to reject but she leaves the train ticket on the table. (Stupid woman!!) Ji Zhe is troubled - why can't they part calmly? Will she use other excuses to bind him? Moreover, he has arranged to go to the skiing ground.

Grandmother helps to take care of Mr Jin when Xuan Zhu is away. She is Xuan Zhu's single neighbour. Mr Jin can fix a ship and paste wallpapers well. His only weakness is that he likes wine too much. Sure enough as much as she guesses, he is at Mrs Jin's grave telling her that Xuan Zhu is returning but he has a sad expression on his face. Xuan Zhu is unsure of Ji Zhe's response and feels frightened. But she still harbours a last ray of hope. But what happens if he refuses to go? No, he should not be so heartless.

Xuan Zhu prepares his favourite Sushi but he hasn't turned up and she misses the train. Yu Xi has nothing to do at home and upon hearing the news that the train station has finished selling all the tickets, he decides to be an illegal driver for a day. Mr Jin prepares an elaborate meal for Ji Zhe. Yu Xi gets punched by a man when he refuses to send him to his hometown - he insists of waiting for 5 passengers before he can move.

Yu Xi sees Xuan Zhu who is too frightened to return home without Ji Zhe. She starts crying and he decides to send her home, taking her luggage. She will have to pay him the price then. Upon seeing her sour face, he can't take it and tells her to get down. He doesn't want to be treated like a criminal. He wants the payment in advance to prevent being cheated.

Mr Jin tells everyone that his son-in-law is returning and all are happy for him. The barber gives him a new haircut. Grandmother shakes her head upon seeing him drinking again. Yu Xi stops at the resting station and wants to get food but she takes out the sushi. Yu Xi is surprised that she prepares 2 sets. He is eager but pretends to be courteous. Yu Xi gets two bowls of hot soup and gets into the van.

His eyes lit up - is this what she prepares? The pieces are so attractive that he can't bear to bite them. Why is she so upset after missing the train? Does she cry easily? He enjoys her cooking and she finally asks if he always helps the orphans. Since he is so helpful, she decides to get him to impersonate Ji Zhe by paying him more money. He starts to bargain - he needs to memorize details so she agrees to it.

She is finally relieved but Yu Xi gets nervous. This is something he hasn't tried before and this must be interesting. Ji Zhe is 29 and owns a sports shop. He is a good swimmer who gets a university scholarship. (This is exactly what Ji Sup is in true life - I really want to laugh.) But Ji Zhe can't follow up the standard and has to give up his training life. Xuan Zhu defends Ji Zhe - not that he can't follow - it is just that he doesn't want to be a swimmer anymore.

Yu Xi finds nothing wrong with it since Ji Zhe gives up. He says that deliberately as Ji Zhe doesn't know how to treasure Xuan Zhu. But he doesn't wish to upset her so he continues reading the details. Ji Zhe's father owns a petrol station in his hometown and is considered rich. He is the second son with an elder sister and a younger sister. Yu Xi wonders if Mr Jin will ask so much on the first meeting.

Xuan Zhu brings Yu Xi into a shop and he looks dashing in a suit. Even the boss praises him for having a good figure to look attractive. Yu Xi also finds himself presentable and looks at Xuan Zhu, expecting praises from her but she is distracted. So he tries another and the boss praises again. Now he decides to pick his own choice and he takes off the cap. He looks attractive after combing his hair.

He pulls the tie and wants her to pay for it. She calls Mr Jin to tell him that they will be late. Yu Xi envies them but thinks that she is too rude to him but she cries again. She has mixed feelings - Mr Jin's anxiety, Ji Zhe's infidelity and also can't match to Mr Jin's expectations. Now she even gets a stranger to impersonate him. Seeing her like this makes him regret opening his big mouth. He doesn't know how to console her.
Seeing him so cheerful makes her feel better - he doesn't look like an orphan to her at all.

They are reaching the fishing village and he tells her that they can back off in the last minute. He introduces himself to her and holds her hand. Seeing his sunshine smile gives her a good feel - Mr Jin will like him. He promises to do well but is also doubtful. Both get very nervous. The two old people never fix their eyes elsewhere except on him. Yu Xi gives a traditional kneel to them and makes him happy.

The women fix the meal in the kitchen and Mr Jin wants Yu Xi to treat his home as his own. He has not felt fatherly love since he grows up and Mr Jin is more approachable than he expects. So he treats him like his father. The old people agree with each other - Yu Xi is a fine man indeed. Xuan Zhu can't bear the thought - what if they find out the truth? She can't face the men and go to Mrs Jin's grave to cry there.

Mr Jin knows that she must have something to tell her mother alone and allows it. Yu Xi serves wine to the two old people and they enjoy it. Both men are grateful to each other - Yu Xi is especially thankful as Mr Jin has given him warmth and fatherly love. Xuan Zhu is thankful that Yu Xi gets along so well with Mr Jin. But the crisis comes - Yu Xi hates raw fish but has to pretend to like it.

After that, the two take a walk - he is unhappy - when has he said that he likes raw fish? The sickening smell still stays in his mouth and Xuan Zhu offers to wash his socks for him. He has a sleepless night. He feels warmth in his chest. It is a nice dream but for Xuan Zhu, she is crying in her bed. When he wakes up the next day, he is alarmed to find the socks missing. They are with her as she tries to dry them at the stove.

She gives him a pail with salt to rinse his mouth. She has forgotten to get him the toothbrush and she will buy later. Yu Xi is speechless - this is the blissful thought of having a home. Mr Jin goes to Mrs Jin's grave - this is the shirt that the couple has bought and the scarf is from Grandmother. Mr Jin suggests to Yu Xi to go to the public bath. This is a new experience for him and since he is going with a fatherly elder, he is happy and he washes his van quickly.

Xuan Zhu is so afraid that Yu Xi will blow his cover but tries to dissuade in vain. Grandmother tells Xuan Zhu that Mr Jin drinks far too much and she can't stop him. She wants him to stay with them after marriage so that he will not be lonely anymore when they have grandchildren. The men enjoy the bath and they get close. Mr Jin has regretted not having a son but not now. Yu Xi worries that he might scrub Mr Jin's back too hard but he finds it smoothing.

Upon knowing that Yu Xi has not done it together with his father, he is surprised and says that he should try out. If Mr Jin has a son, he will insist on him doing it daily because he will be as strong as an ox to do that. Yu Xi vaguely remembers how his father does for him. Mr Jin then offers to do the reverse for him. Yu Xi can't let him do it - he has already grown up - how can he do that?

But he turns his back due to his insistence. Yu Xi doesn't expect him to ask if he falls for Xuan Zhu at first sight. He answers yes - although he isn't Ji Zhe, the first meeting at the post office does give him a deep impression. He likes her because she is pretty. This is the truth - he doesn't know how Ji Zhe thinks. To him, this is the case. When thinking that he is now sharing Mr Jin's love, he smiles deeply.

The two walk on the beach. Yu Xi mentions on how he now recalls how his father scrubs his back at 5 years old before his death. His mother leaves him at the orphanage when he is 11 years old. He has no news of her now. So he envies her for having a father. So is he doing okay? She smiles - Mr Jin's love for her gives her pride and she feels at ease getting along with Yu Xi too. This makes her forget her loss in love.

Xuan Zhu prepares Mr Jin's things to sleep and asks why he is still looking for her grandparents in North Korea. They must be in their 90s. Suddenly, Yu Xi comes over and wants to sleep with Mr Jin. Seeing them so close, she feels uneasy. Yu Xi is a stranger but how can she tell Mr Jin about that? Why is he so warm to Yu Xi - she feels jealous now. This is his wish for a long time - just like sleeping with his own son. Although the period is short, he can see that Yu Xi is an honest chap and he gets along well with him.

Seeing Xuan Zhu's objection, Yu Xi gets shy too - he is only acting. Mr Jin feels strange - why are the two so awkward once they are back. He wants both to sit close to each other so that he can look at them clearly. Both get shy but have to obey him. He wants them to love each other for life. Mr Jin confesses that he really likes Yu Xi and so does Yu Xi. How nice if he is really his father.

So they can be father and son for the day. Xuan Zhu still calls Ji Zhe but he doesn't answer her. Why is she still calling him since he is out of her life? Why can't she forget him? Yu Xi is worried when Mr Jin looks sick in the middle of the night looking for his medicine. Mr Jin doesn't want him to tell Xuan Zhu or he can't drink anymore. He blames Mr Jin for drinking too much.

Mr Jin has been to the hospital and has liver ulcer. He holds Yu Xi's hand and tells him not to have a change of heart to love only Xuan Zhu. Xuan Zhu is puzzled when Yu Xi wants her to bring him to the shoe shop. He wants to get Mr Jin a pair of new shoes upon seeing his old shoes at home. He is already not well and what he can only do is to get him a pair of good shoes to keep him warm.

She is puzzled - they are only acting but why is he treating Mr Jin so well. He can't explain but when seeing Xuan Zhu angry and telling him not to buy, he knows that she has misunderstood him. He tells her that this is the first time he is buying a gift for a father. He has not called someone father for a long time. He knows that they have a deal and he is soft-hearted. But he is sincere about it but she doesn't accept that. Is he going to blackmail her? He feels hurt by her remarks.

She realizes that she may be wrong and he tells her to bring Mr Jin to the hospital quickly. She doesn't have to pin over Ji Zhe but he can't tell her exactly what really happens as he has promised Mr Jin. How stupid she can be to keep asking him! Ji Zhe gives a call - she is delighted. Yu Xi is sad - that means his show will end soon. Yu Xi sends her to Ji Zhe.

These few days have been wonderful for him. He is glad that she understands him now as she thanks him. He returns the money to her - he hasn't done much and he treats this as a trip. He hasn't made a loss to have free lodging and food. Can he see Mr Jin before he leaves? He will not say much and will leave it to him. Xuan Zhu opens her eyes wide - now she believes that he truly treats Mr Jin well. He treasures him more than her and she is touched.

She gets off the van and suddenly feels reluctant to leave him. Only when his van leaves, the slight pain in her heart suddenly spreads. Xuan Zhu weeps upon seeing Ji Zhe to recall how she suffers for the past few days. Ji Zhe finds that he is wrong and now he is free to make her wish come true. He guesses that she hasn't told Mr Jin the truth and he is going to the skiing ground soon. Since he passes here, it will not take too much of his time.

Xuan Zhu is finally clear now - he is only here to act for her. It has ended and strangely, she doesn't feel sad. Ji Zhe is taken aback - she doesn't need him? Her attitude is so different from before. She looks so pitiful in the past - why the change now? Xuan Zhu is firm and wonders where she gets the strength. She can't help comparing the two guys.

One is a guy who breaks up with her after dating for a few years. Another is a guy who is willing to help her although they only know each other for a few days. Moreover he treats Mr Jin well. Now, she begins to think well of Yu Xi. Why does she only know such a simple matter now? Yu Xi has left and she regrets not spending more time to know him better. They will have a better start.

Yu Xi brings the shoes home and sees Mr Jin drinking at the grave again. He bows in front of the grave and Mr Jin is happy that he is so sensible. Xuan Zhu leaves home after graduating from high school. Mr Jin feels bad for giving her a hard life. Yu Xi understands how he feels - she is very brave so he should not worry. Although she loves to cry, she is very strong.

Yu Xi worries about his health and refuses to hand over the wine bottle to him. He should listen to him not as a son-in-law but as a son. They arm wrestle and Mr Jin can drink if he wins. The old man falls to the ground. He smiles weakly as Yu Xi carries him home. Mr Jin keeps calling him Ji Zhe on the way and when recalling that he can't accompany him anymore, there are tears in his eyes.

He hates himself for not knowing Xuan Zhu before Ji Zhe. He drives away after pacifying him. He suddenly gets a call from Xuan Zhu. Mr Jin is sick and he drives back. Mr Jin's agony scares Xuan Zhu ealier. Yu Xi rushes to ER and carries him on his back. If not for him, she will not know what to do. The doctor sees that Xuan Zhu is distracted and leads Yu Xi out. Mr Jin can't recover completely but he must seek treatment now. Yu Xi considers how he can help them.

Why has Xuan Zhu not noticed that Mr Jin is sick? Yu Xi asks if she wants to send him to have a thorough checkup in Seoul. She rejects, thinking that it isn't that important. She maintains that Mr Jin is healthy but wonders if she is escaping from reality. Yu Xi tells her that Ji Zhe must be waiting for her. Yu Xi has thought that Xuan Zhu has not time to introduce Ji Zhe to Mr Jin. But he has not thought why Xuan Zhu approaches him but not Ji Zhe.

She hasn't answered him. She is only concerned about Mr Jin. She has stated things clear to Ji Zhe and feels better. Although she can't forget him, she knows that she will not cry for him anymore. Upon seeing the new shoes at home, she recalls how happy they are. She then sees Mr Jin struggling in pain in his bed and she only has Yu Xi in mind to call him.

Upon returning to the ward, they see Mr Jin ready to leave. Staying in hospital means spending money and he is bored. She nearly blurts out Yu Xi's name - Ji Zhe is losing significance in her heart now. She is angry - does Mr Jin want to make her an orphan for drinking so much? He has tears in his eyes - he might only hold on till her wedding. Yu Xi is also in tears.

Grandmother nags at Mr Jin too for not taking good care of himself. She has treated them as her family. Xuan Zhu is shocked when Mr Jin wants her to get married - she has parted with Jj Zhe and Yu Xi is leaving soon. Where is she going to look for a guy to marry? Seeing him so weak - she has to trouble Yu Xi again although she manages to delay the wedding date. But what can she say to him?

Yu Xi treasures the time with them and he can't bear to leave although Ji Zhe is here as Mr Jin is sick. The doctor's words, Xuan Zhu's clumsiness and Mr Jin's health makes him feel that he should meet with Ji Zhe. The two do not know what to tell each other. Xuan Zhu tells him about Ji Zhe and he feels angry for her. At first, he thinks that she is too sad over it to be so calm so he scolds him on her behalf, hoping that she doesn't suppress her feelings.

Xuan Zhu has felt that not because of Mr Jin, she becomes reliant on him. He treats them so well - much more than Ji Zhe. It is easy for him - he has waited for her to say that to hold him back. He has treated them as his family. But he has thought that she still loves Ji Zhe so he doesn't dare to reveal his feelings. Now, he is very delighted over the change.

Mr Jin is happy to see the shoes and wears them to walk in the house, like a child who just gets his new toy. They are warm and also fitting. You will laugh - the old man initially touches the shoe surfaces and slips his hand into them before trying them. Yu Xi requests Xuan Zhu to give half of Mr Jin to him. He doesn't imply that she must marry him but he wants to bring him out for hospital checkups or trips.

Xuan Zhu finds him amusing when trying to explain. It seems that he regards her importantly. But why is he mentioning about checkups? He tells Mr Jin that they are going on a journey - it is a family gathering. Mr Jin has not left the village for a long time. If he brings him out to walk, his illness will be lessened. He hasn't tried going on a trip with his own father too so it will be perfect if he agrees.

There is a smile on Xuan Zhu's face. Mr Jin gets interested - he has not done that for 20 years but is afraid to give him trouble. Yu Xi plans well - they can have a bath in the hot spring. This is beneficial to the old people. They can also visit nice places too. They can pay respects to Mrs Jin first before leaving. Yu Xi doesn't want Mr Jin to change his mind. He learns tricks from Xuan Zhu to persuade him - this is not a family trip without him. This time, they leave him no choice but is he letting Mrs Jin down?

Mr Jin is contented upon seeing the two kneeling at Mrs Jin's grave and prepares the offerings. He finds the two compatible. She can also join them as he asks her. He feels better now and it is a family of four on trip now. Xuan Zhu begs for Mrs Jin's forgiveness and weeps. She thanks her for letting her meet Yu Xi and hopes she will bless Mr Jin with good health. She has neglected him for too long.

Yu Xi and Xuan Zhu kneel together. He vows to protect them well. As long as Xuan Zhu doesn't look down on him, they are his family. Mr Jin is so happy that he can't sleep for the night. Yu Xi is afraid that he can't take it but he likes looking at the wonderful scenery. The two can detect his delight. Xuan Zhu feels lucky due to Yu Xi's help. Yu Xi gets his friend from Seoul to arrange a specialist to examine Mr Jin. The friend knows that Yu Xi is an orphan and asks curiously why he is so eager to ask him for help.

He can only tell him on his return. Xuan Zhu and Mr Jin do not know about it so he hangs up the phone. Yu Xi takes a coat to Xuan Zhu to pass to Mr Jin. He is touched that both are so concerned over him. When Xuan Zhu sits straight to want to fix the seat belt on her own, Yu Xi is fast to fix for her automatically. She feels that love is sweet and smiles. Mr Jin sees it and hopes that they give him a grandchild soon. The two become shy and look at each other secretly. Xuan Zhu smiles and Yu Xi is relieved upon seeing that. He is finally sure that she likes him. So she isn't angry and this indicates that! He has a broad smile on his face and this unplanned ¡®long journey' gives him a chance to find the family ties that he has lost. Fate hasn't forgotten him and he will treasure the chance to know them.

Conclusion

I only find this telemovie average. The main leads do not have sparks with each other. Ji Sup just started out and he has very few scenes in here so I can't commend on his acting. Except that he really looks sorry when he is supposedly to be. Zhen Xi doesn't act well in crying scenes. It seems that many actresses don't cry that well. But her smiles brightens the serial in some way.

What about Byung Hun's performance? I will only say satisfactory. Nothing great on how an orphan should react but I must say that the chemistry of him with the old actor is splendid. They truly look like father and son. Is it because he misses his own father so much that he gets completely immersed into the role? The public bath scenes are so lifelike that you will enjoy it.

You will dislike Xuan Zhu for causing so much distress to herself and Yu Xi. When love is gone, she should let go and not to try to gain sympathy. It doesn't pay to be nice when Yu Xi is wronged too. Luckily, she is still calm to know her mistake and not to beg Ji Zhe the third time. Yu Xi has done far way too much to be her accomplice.

This telemovie sends another important message besides love - that is to be filial to our parents when they are still alive and not to upset them unnecessarily. In fact, it overshadows the love theme but I don't mind it. I actually welcome the change. The bond of the old actor with the young separately is strong. It shows how he treats a daughter differently from a son. With a son-in-law, the old man is contented to do things that he can't do with his daughter. They also share thoughts and troubles too. This is quite lacking in other serials so it is still worth watching after all.

Sukting's ratings :

On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)

On songs : *** (Scale of 5)


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