Rival


Reviewed by: sukting

March 23, 2006

Rating: two-point-five

How long
20 episodes

Foreword
Thank goodness I get to read the novel beforehand to have an idea of what golf is about. But I stil have zero knowledge on how the game is played. This serial is about the rivalry between two sisters who are not related (one of them is adopted) to compete in golf skills and also for men. Are you interested to see how Jae Won turns into a gangster with blond hair? You will be taken aback by him at first glance!

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Jiang Yu He – Kim Jae Won
He is a gangster who is after Duo Ren for debt when her cousin, Shi Zhe owes his boss money. She offers to be a golfer to repay his debts. He ends up falling for her to offer her golf clubs. He even offers her a roof above her head when she leaves home. He defies his boss in snatching her illegal contract and almost lost his life because of her. He nearly thinks of giving her up to Tai Xun but later wins her love.

His outlook is a major change but I don’t see any improvement in his acting. The first few scenes with his dry and overly light golden hair may not please you. The darker tone that depicts his change a few years later is so much better. When he dresses in suits without the tie as a nightclub boss, he is more presentable.

Flashing his killer smile always isn’t a good idea in here. He is still not persuasive enough as a gangster. Jae Won needs to work very hard as promising newcomers are coming and his old formulas may not work every time.

2. Ming Tai Xun – Kim Joo Hyuk
He is the younger son of the president, Elise Golf Fashion Company. This company also owns a big golf course. He becomes a director of the company too but his heart isn’t in here. His father died when he was young and his brother died in an air crash when Tai Xun insisted on driving a small plane when drunk.

He was once a champion golfer in the professional matches but gives up the game after the ordeal, thinking that his wrist hasn’t recovered. He also has no courage to fly a plane again.

His heart moved for Duo Ren 4 years ago but he isn’t aware of it. She makes him pick up the sport again and also vows to get his flying license within a year. Only when she gives him encouragement and he feels comfortable with her does he realize his feelings for her. Both are in love and you will laugh upon seeing how many privileges he has given her.

Firstly, to allow her to work as a golfer’s aide in his company, later to make her as a representative to go for matches. He arranges her working schedule and she gets her hostel room without going through the selection stage!

Cai Yan has loved him at first sight since she was six and tries to get his attention (it totally baffles me as he is so ugly-looking in his boring straight hairstyle.) He ignores her completely and is unhappy whenever she turns up at his office to badmouth Duo Ren. He is surprised when she keeps saying that she loves him as he only treats her like a little sister and not a woman.

I like how he treats Duo Ren. This is so hilarious. He sees that she has hurt her hand after practising golf for too long. Thus he bandages it. But this is his first time doing this and he can be so forgetful in applying the medicine first before putting on the plaster.

He cooks instant noodles for her but seeing her asleep, he doesn't wake her up and covers her with his jacket. He continues reading his company's proposal plans beside her and can't help laughing when she wakes up. Because she is so oblivious where she is and rolls down the sofa! Realizing that she hasn't had dinner and it is already 2am, he books the whole restaurant to be with her alone! Isn't this romantic and sweet?

But Duo Ren lets him down repeatedly for not turning up for events after he selects her as Elise model. Duo Ren goes missing on 3 occasions - Cai Yan lies about her mother getting sick, Yu He getting beaten and also Duo Ren is kidnapped. The last one results in him sleeping with Cai Yan because he is drunk. This is only a set-up by Cai Yan to force him to get engaged to her.

Yet, he still puts his trust in Duo Ren to sponsor her secretly. Finally he discovers he loves Cai Yan who is always by him all the time although he wishes to see Duo Ren (I have no idea why he comes to this conclusion.)

This role is said to be charming in the book but I can’t help feeling disappointed upon seeing him on television initially. He has small beady eyes and is so normal-looking with a lousy boring hairstyle. How can this man be a Prince Charming?!

But the 4-years-later makeover gives such a big transformation. He becomes so classy-looking with shorter gelled cropped hair in business suits with a distinctive silver ring to make a more mature Tai Xun. The hairstylists should have done this long ago!

Acting wise, Joo Hyuk cuts an edge over the rest. When he is cold, he is really cold. He also shows his jealousy and disapproval whenever Duo Ren talks about Yu He. But when he is caring and affectionate, he is so sweet. Don't miss the scenes to see the difference!

3. Hong Ying Shu – Kyung Joon (as Xiang Zhe's secretary who often stands beside him in 'All About Eve')
He is Tai Xun’s capable assistant and helps Cai Yan to cover up all her evil deeds. He is an honest man. He could have grabbed the company for himself when Tai Xun isn’t interested but he still keeps it going. It is sad that his love for Cai Yan is so great to conceal her act of meddling with the DNA test.

He has hoped that she will own up by giving her a warning. But seeing how destructive she is and even framing Duo Ren of stealing his company report, he decides not to hide anymore. He tells Xiu Qing about the truth too.

He tells Duo Ren indirectly about the truth without mentioning Cai Yan’s name to let her know that she isn’t so unlucky in life as Cai Yan has been behind this all the time. He is such a kind man – knowing that Cai Yan only loves Tai Xun and not him, he persuades Tai Xun to accept her and prefers suffering alone.

How can he be so great to give up like that?! I don’t understand why Cai Yan doesn’t fall for him – he is not just nice but also good- looking too!

4. Zhou Shi Zhe – Park Chul (as Xian Da in ‘All about Eve’)
He is Duo Ren’s cousin who is an impulsive gambler. Then he uses Duo Ren as a stake to pay off his debts. Many may dislike him for giving her trouble but might jump in joy when he reveals to the public that Cai Yin is only Zai Yong’s adopted daughter and Zai Yong should have another DNA test to find out the truth.

5. Song Zheng Biao – Yoon Ki Won (as Cheng Shui in 'All About Eve')
He is Yu He’s close friend and fellow gangster who turns over a new leaf with him. He goes through thick and thin with him. He becomes En Shi’s boyfriend after he is out from prison.

6. Yuan Da Wan – Lee Kean Hee (as Sheng Qi Zhong in ‘All About Eve’)
He is a golf coach and trains Tai Xun. He knows that Tai Xun hasn’t recovered from the past and tries his best to help him. Later he becomes Duo Ren’s coach. He has a glorious past as a winning champion too but he sinks to become a gambler to know Shi Zhe. Luckily he kicks off the habit to become a changed man.

7. Feng Guang Dou – Choi Joon Yong (as Pei Ren Xiu in ‘All About Eve’)
He is Yu He and Zheng Biao’s underground boss. Greedy for money, he wants to control Duo Ren to work for him as a gambling bet for all costs. Knowing that Yu He and Zheng Biao betray him, he announces their killings but he fails in the end.

8. Zhao Han Xiu – Jang Sung Won
He is Da Wan’s rival although he is his disciple. He always finds ways of trying to win Da Wan by becoming Cai Yan’s coach.

9. Zheng Zai Yong – Lee Jung Sil (as Ming Zhe’s father in ‘Beautiful Days’)
He is Duo Ren’s natural father who owns Nicholas holdings. It is also a golf fashion company and he endorses Cai Yan as his own model. He made her mother pregnant before ditching her to marry Hui Lan for a rich life. He is remorseful and brings Duo Ren home to stay with him. But the women cause conflicts at home instead. Cai Yan even accuses Duo Ren of cheating in the exam and burns the school quarters by smoking (Cai Yan is the culprit instead.)

Duo Ren leaves home when it is found that she isn’t his daughter. (Cai Yan has exchanged their blood samples for the DNA test.) But blood ties still stay when he is concerned about her so he asks for another DNA test. After knowing the result, he tells Tai Xun not to meet his two daughters. But feeling obliged to Cai Yan, he tells Tai Xun to accept her and Duo Ren to avoid him. How unfair he can be! He gets Duo Ren to be the company model when Cai Yan becomes Elise’s model as she is going to be engaged to Tai Xun.

10.Zheng Duo Ren – So Yu Jin
She is Zai Yong’s daughter but instead of enjoying a rich life, she has a hard life. She has to take care of her mother who is in a coma and also pay off Shi Zhe’s debts. Living in Zai Yong’s home for a while doesn’t make her life easier as Cai Yan sets her up more than once. There is a saying ‘once bitten, twice shy’ but it seems that Duo Ren never learns from this lesson.

Even though she sets foot into the golf world, Cai Yan frames her repeatedly to make sure that she misses all the matches against her. She implicates Yu He to get beaten. Later, she causes her to drift away from Tai Xun so that she can get him. What a joke – she wants to be with Tai Xun but yet she is jealous to see Yu He with Cai Yan. I thought she has said that she treats him like a father and brother? It seems that she likes the two men and she doesn’t know who she wants.

This character makes it unbearable for me. She is gullible and stupid! I don’t believe such a scatterbrain exists to be a troublemaker unknowingly. Shan Mei is smarter to be a talk show host instead to avoid direct clashes with Yin Mei in ‘All About Eve’ but this woman never knows how to protect herself. This actress is pretty and her acting is ok but I don’t like her getting bullied all the time.

Trying to act cute like Shan Mei certainly doesn’t work. Even though she tries to look tough, she doesn’t look like it. But her scenes with Joo Hyuk can be very endearing and will move you. But I will say that this is due more due to Joo Hyuk's interpretation.

11. Zheng Cai Yan – Kim Min Jung
She is Zai Yong’s adopted daughter. Being pampered since youth, she gets whatever she wants except Tai Xun. Afraid that Duo Ren will snatch her position at home, she frames her repeatedly to get her out of the house. She often comes up with lies to ruin her. She is afraid of meeting her at golf matches as Duo Ren is a strong contestant so she finds ways to try to disqualify her. Too bad her tactics fail in the end.

Shi Zhe telling the press of her real parentage crushes all her confidence when the truth is revealed. Many begin to see her in a different light as Duo Ren steals her limelight. Seeing this, she also makes use of Yu He to help her. Even trying to seduce him to make sure that Duo Ren loses everything.

Many will feel disgusted at the way she throws herself at Tai Xun. It is so obvious that he isn’t interested in her. She even makes use of his trust to ask Duo Ren out to pretend to reconcile with her but to steal her handphone and set her up. In order to win over Tai Xun when Tai Xun tells her that Duo Ren is his woman, she pretends that they have spent the night together before. To force him into marriage with him, she even tries to fake her pregnancy, not knowing that Yun Shu has told Tai Xun the truth.

She is such a cheap and loose woman that all will detest. What does Yun Shu see in her? Her beauty perhaps. I do like the part when she feel numbness in her hands to give up golf for a while to do her personal reflections. She has an angelic face but a terrible heart. I don’t understand how Tai Xun can forgive her after she has done so many misdeeds. Because he is touched by her persistence in winning him? Cai Yan has a strong possessive nature and he can’t breathe under her. But maybe he knows that she will change when with him so he decides to give her a chance.

Min Jung acts quite ok but this role turns out to be overly nasty and one-dimensional that you can get sick of her plots as they are so easily guessed. How come so many people can't see through her at all? She isn’t as capable as Yin Mei in hiding her true colours as she leaves many clues around. The producer must have thought that all of us are as silly as the characters in the serial…..

12. Gao En Shi – Park Kyung Rim
She is Duo Ren’s classmate and is her close friend to work with her as golf aides in Elise. Her father is a policeman so she is tough and practises kendo. Cai Yan is jealous of her good school results so she steals her assignment to cause her to get zero. She fights back with Duo Ren to splash water at Cai Yan and her gang.

She is initially in love with Yu He but later likes Zheng Biao. There is a part I don’t understand – since she knows kendo, why does she leave the guys to fight against Guang Dou on their own? She should have at least informed the police if she has common sense!

Goodness gracious – can’t the producer find a younger actress to play this role? She looks so many years older than the rest and she looks so uncomfortable in the uniform. Her overly dry golden hair can be an eyesore too.

13. Lian Xiao Luo – Oh Joo Yi
She is Cai Yan’s accomplice in committing the evil deeds. She has the brains to do all her homework but why is she willing to be her ‘dog’? Because she is rich?

14. Ou Hui Lan – Park Won Sook (as You Zhen’s mother in ‘All About Eve’)
She is Zai Yong’s wife and decides not to give birth after marriage. That is why they adopt Cai Yan. They never know that Cai Yan has been aware of the truth since she was six. She still treats her like her own and dislikes Duo Ren so she chases her out of the home after knowing her stirring up trouble with Yu He.

15. Hong Xiu Qing – Kim Young Ae
She is Tai Xun’s mother and is Elise’s president. She hates Duo Ren for creating so much trouble. Why does everything happen to her on all the important days? But Tai Xun shielding her leaves her more frustrated. She has never been on good ties with him after the elder son’s death. She hates Zai Yong for stealing her business and knowing that Duo Ren is his daughter, she engages her so as to spit back at him.

Most favourite character
Tai Xun, he has done a lot for Duo Ren - openly and secretly. But this woman disappoints him repeatedly.

Most hated character
Almost all – because they are either too irritating or too perfect to be true in real life.

Conclusion

I am sorry for this short review and the tons of complaints but it is one of the horrible dramas that I have watched so far. There are two things that I dislike in this drama which is becoming a trait in almost all Korean drama characters.

I shall summarize in 8 words – ‘not willing to ask’ and ‘not bothering to explain’! Tai Xun doesn’t ask Duo Ren why she doesn’t turn up while she doesn’t explain at all – even though they give each other time. No wonder they break up in the end. And having a major cast from 'All About Eve' isn't helping at all - it is a waste of their talents and time.

In the past, I will think that dressing places an important part in acting. But in this case, I discover that the hairstyle is the major factor. Seeing how lousy En Shi, Yu He and Tai Xun look makes me wonder if the hairstylist is doing this to seek revenge for low pay.

The first two look as if they have dry hay on their heads while Tai Xun looks as if he can't be bothered with how he looks at work with a thick fringe almost covering his eyes and his hair is almost covering his ears.

Luckily the 4-years-later change let me see the change too. This is a big relief for me as the bad hairstyles can hinder my judgment in acting.

I am so glad to read the novel beforehand to save my time to avoid watching unnecessary scenes. Is the plot written by a newcomer? We can see that the characters are not well-developed – they are so superficial and fake. The story is uninteresting and dwells more on the boring but complicated love relationships. You will not miss much even though you don’t get this serial – unless you are curious to see Jae Won’s new look.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : **1/2Scale of 5)

On story : ** (Scale of 5)


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