Snow Angel


Reviewed by: sukting

September 15, 2008

Rating: two

How long
20 episodes

Foreword
Do you believe that a snow angel exists? It represents sweet dreams. This is ex-energy member, Toro’s debut serial and if you crave for more of Yan Xing Shu’s appearance after ‘MVP valentine’, this serial is able to satisfy you. It was so coincidental that Xing Shu injured his leg again so that he could make time for this serial. After this serial, he decided to retire from the basketball court (what a pity!) because of age, injury and disappointment in the sport to go fulltime into show buzz.

Brief Story

17 years ago, Xiao Feng and Xiao Lei are brothers living in the orphanage. Jia Shi, the director of Yong Ji construction holdings, finds Xue Tong not talking even at the age of 4. So he brings her to watch a play here. Xiao Lei brings her to see the snow angel. Two of them become friends. Xiao Feng decides to bring Xiao Lei away from the place but Xiao Lei is accidentally knocked into the river by Jia Shi. They lose him although he manages to save Xiao Feng.

Xiao Feng becomes Jia Shi’s adopted son while Teng becomes Da Shan’s adopted son after being saved. 17 years later, Xing Feng becomes a powerful holdings future successor. The quiet and frowning Xue Tong becomes a willful woman who often lands up in trouble. She often thinks that she doesn’t have freedom. During a trip, she befriends Teng and both fall in love.

She rejects Xing Feng’s marriage proposal. Xing Feng loves her and has expected her to return him his feelings. One day, Xue Tong is abuduted

Jia Shi falls sick and Xue Tong agrees to marry Xing Feng reluctantly. Before this, she spends a last day with Teng. They love snow very much so they go to the mountains. Teng talks about his past being deserted by his closest kin. Elaine is bitter over Xing Feng’s decision so she resigns. Still, she helps Xing Feng to look for her. Upon seeing Xing Feng half-frozen in the snow, she is touched and goes with him in the ambulance to the hospital.

Jie knows that Ma Qian likes Teng but he loves her so he decides to go to Japan to learn how to make sushi to impress her. Teng is unwilling to give her up and brings her away on the wedding day on a horse. Jia Shi is so upset that he has to be sent overseas for treatment. Xing Feng is angry when she refuses to let him wear the ring on her finger. They elope to a fishing village to earn a living and secretly get married there.

Xing Feng hunts them down. He is stunned upon hearing Teng singing their childhood song – the snow angel song - to discover that his love rival is also his younger brother. The harsh truth is revealed although he doesn’t wish to face it – Xing Feng fights with him and Teng’s blood is stained on his shirt. The DNA test proves it. He gets drunk and tells Elaine about it.

He is upset to learn from Da Shan that Teng misunderstands that he wants him to get drowned 17 years ago. Xing Feng has failed in vain to hold his hand. Teng accumulates hatred in his heart from then on as he nearly dies from a fever. Xing Feng gives the ownership of the range to Da Shan and leaves Yong Ji Group. It is Xue Tong’s birthday so she buys a dress and gets boots for Teng. Teng thinks that she overspends and scolds her. Upon knowing that she pawns her watch, he is touched.

Xing Feng decides to be a fish distributor to wait for their return. He isn’t aware that Zhao Ting forces him to sign a year contract to work for him. Teng becomes a motorcycle racer to provide a better life for Xue Tong and gets injured in a race. Xing Feng is also badly beaten up by Zhao Ting’s men when he is being framed for causing a company to fold up. Elaine wants Xing Feng to return to Yong Ji to help Jia Qi. She wants him to be the same as before and still wants to wait for him.

Xing Feng decides to stay in Yong Ji. He is willing to make up to Teng – except giving Xue Tong up. Teng accompanies Xue Tong home to see her father. He forces her to marry Xing Feng and is displeased that she has married Teng. He will not acknowledge her declaration. Xing Feng follows Xue Tong to meet Teng.

Teng finally knows the truth from Xue Tong but he refuses to forgive Xing Feng. Xing Feng wants Xue Tong to meet the critically ill Jia Qi for the last time in the hospital. He will do anything to make up for Teng’s loss – except giving Xue Tong to him because she is most precious to him.

Both decide to kill themselves by jumping over a cliff to be together forever. In the end, Teng loses his memory while Xue Tong loses her sight. Xue Tong marries Xing Feng. Xing Feng is remorseful and trains Teng to be a famous singer. However, he keeps the truth from both of them. He even lies to her that Teng is dead. He gives Teng his home number but Xue Tong picks it and talks to Teng on a day. Teng has seen her before but can’t recognize her. Xue Tong only finds the voice familiar but dismisses her thoughts.

Ma Qian is beside Teng all this time to be his assistant. Teng is angry when she hints to the press that they are going to get married soon. Later, Xue Tong is late to send Teng off at the airport after regaining her sight and is shocked to see Teng’s face on cds. She is angry with Xing Feng for deceiving her and wants a divorce. Elaine makes use of their stained relationship to let her sell 11% of the shares to her, making Xing Feng lose his chairman post. Elaine chides Xing Feng selfish for wanting Xue Tong to be his.

It takes a long time for Teng to regain his memory after Xue Tong brings him to all the places. But he still decides to give Xue Tong up. Xing Feng has nothing now so he is only left with Xue Tong. Teng decides to go overseas. Elaine is remorseful and doesn’t feel happy after the revenge. Thus she helps them to gain the shares back from Zhao Ting. Later, Teng misses Xue Tong and returns to declare that he loves her in front of his fans. His popularity dips and Xing Feng tries to arrange a comeback for him.

Zhao Ting is revengeful but is later punished for fooling around with a triad boss’s mistress. Xing Feng is later killed in a car accident when he tries to prevent others from harming the couple. They later visit him at his grave to talk about the past.

Introduction on characters

1. Ji Teng (or Xiao Lei) – Toro
He is the adopted son of Da Shan. He is proud and open. He doesn’t take things seriously but he becomes mature after falling in love.

2. Qi Xing Feng (or Xiao Feng) – Yan Xing Shu
He is Jia Shi’s capable assistant and is regarded as his successor. He is also Teng’s elder brother. He is nicknamed ‘Qi Holdings Prince’. He is quiet and doesn’t show his emotions openly.

Can you accept Xing Shu’s new look that resembles Park Yong Ha in ‘Loving You’? His appearance is striking but not the same can be applied to his acting. He makes the right decision to return to basketball.

3. Ji Jie – Tang Jia Hao
He is Da Shan’s son who idolizes Teng since young. He is a Mathematician and is petty to pick on others.

3. Qi Xue Tong – Wang Yu Jie
She is the only daughter of Jia Shi. Her nickname is ‘Bazaar Princess’. She is naïve and also innocent. However, she also differentiates her likes and dislikes clearly.

4. Qi Jia Shi – Zhang Fu Jian
He is the chairman of Yong Ji construction group. He is Xue Tong’s father and regards Xing Feng as his successor. Thus he grooms him.

5. Liang Elaine – Yang Jia Hua
She is Xing Feng’s ex-girlfriend. She works in Yong Ji company’s personal relations department. She is very practical and works orderly.

6. Lin Zhao Ting
He is a rich playboy and is also Xue Tong’s ex-boyfriend. He is very impractical and often creates trouble.

7. Ma Qian – Zhang Si Ping
She is a singer in a holiday resort who loves Teng. She is willful and is open too.

8. Ji Da Shan – Gou Feng
He owns a range and is an honest man. He regards Teng as his own son after saving him.

Favourite character/Most hated character
None

Song
The themesong ‘whirlwind’ is by Toro himself while the subtheme song ‘opponent – dui shou’ is by Yan Xing Shu and Toro. Both are only passable and not really fantastic. I wonder how it can reach the target of 30,000 advance ordering before it was out?

Interesting facts

What we see in the serial is not really snow but salt because the weather was still warm. Xing Shu was so glad as salt was definitely cleaner than snow when sleeping on it for some scenes! This is his second drama and he adored the suits that he could wear to project a businessman image.

Many worried that this serial would not get good viewership in Taiwan when it was out. The title was cold and so was the weather. Will this imply that the ratings would be cold too? Thus the producer introduced the childhood scenes to attract tears. (This is the same way that most Korean dramas do.)It became no. 1 easily when the average was 2.56. The commercial segment also won lots of $ for the tv station.

Some hiccups did happen. The small Toro as his childhood had a switch and affected the shooting. When episode 1 was shown, episode 2 was in the making. Many scenes were shot in the last minute and many joked that they were on the waiting list, wondering what would happen next. They even sacrificed their Chinese New Year holiday. The result was even better than ‘Westside Story’. The 3 leads were so relieved that they boiled soup for the cast right on the filming spot.

Toro worked hard for the role. He had to learn barter and horse riding skills – the latter was done with Yu Jie. He was nearly thrown down by the horse. Yu Jie tried to be willful to her own mother to get immersed into the role. Xing Shu found acting in this serial more difficult than ‘MVP Valentine’. His role was supposed to bring sparks for being ‘bad’ – but he had a reason for being like this. Xing Feng wasn’t a total villain as he was a filial son and is also a responsible elder brother.

When Xing Shu was approached to play this role, he wanted to turn it down as it was the basketball season. The practices took up much of his time. Moreover, he was the forward, star scorer and also the captain of the team. Only when he injured his leg and had to rest for some time, all then had a chance to see him on the small screen again. (Isn’t this coincidental – it happened to him when he took up ‘MVP Valentine’ too!) Even though he accepted the assignment, there was no way to make him forget about basketball. To a sportsman, the will to maintain the energy and training is their survival.

So when he stopped filming, he would not be lazy. Even though he was tired, he would still train up. For matches which his team was involved, he would try to settle his schedule to cheer for his teammates. The two made him exhausted but he learned a lot on improving his acting skills. The singing part with Toro gave him a headache. He liked singing but he also got cold feet in the studio.

Jie Hua often reminded herself to look mature when she was in front of the camera. Si Ping was only interested in singing but discovered her love for acting through this serial. The scene where Xue Tong hid in the mountains and Xing Feng searched around for her. The many scenes were shot in different mountains to show the effect.

There was a scene where Toro and Yu Jie were trapped in a cave. Yu Jie has experience in shooting but the low air pressure made her feel giddy. But she lamented that it would be romantic with her lover to be there to say mushy words. Toro’s reaction was the reverse. He would not choose this place because no one would know what was in there. Many teased him for being so chicken heart.

Many thought that Toro was soft with women as in the serial. Yu Jie exposed his ‘misdeed’. He was too tough with her. The scene where she fainted and he was supposed to pat her face. He used his strength which was enough to uproot a tree to shake her and slapped on her face! She nearly cried. Toro quickly added that both loved to play together and he treated her like a sister. How could he be ill treating her?

The three spent Valentine’s day in the studio. The reporters asked Yu Xuan how to make a choice between Toro and Xing Shu to celebrate the day if this happens in real life. She shyly avoided the issue. Toro joked that her answer was him earlier on while Xing Shu said that he could let him off this time but he must have dinner with her after work.

Xing Shu had this analysis on love. One would have 4 kinds of people – himself, a person he loves, a person who loves him and the person who spends the whole life with him. This is eternal love then. Many knew that he still missed his model ex-girlfriend. He was infuriated when the press spread rumours about him and Lin Li Wen (the actress as Angel in ‘MVP Valentine’) together and dashed all his hopes to be with her again. He was usually mild-tempered but could not stop reprimanding the reporters this time.

Xing Shu had not wanted to take up this acting assignment as he feared that it might interrupt his basketball training schedule. But a leg injury forced him to rest more and might ended up being a reserve for some matches. So he took up the job. But he still insisted on having normal training and often came to the studio after that. Although tired, he was glad he could balance both areas.

Yu Xuan normally kept a distance from actors, fearing to anger her boyfriend. But in here, she found the guys friendly and was close to them. The guys liked each other so much that they told all that they decided to become sworn brothers after singing ‘opponent’ during the ost promotion event. Xing Shu gave Toro a pen while Toro gave him a pair of sports shoes which was restricted in number all over the world. Toro wanted him to depend on the shoes to be the best point guard. He said proudly that he already is!

Toro’s company wanted this album to sell at least 100,000 copies or he would be frozen. Toro quickly asked for Xing Shu’s help. Probably he could handle 80,000 and Xing Shu the remainder to use his basketball salary to foot the bill. Xing Shu said no because he wasn’t that rich!

The compere was curious to find out if these brothers were so close. It was unexpected that they knew each other’s shoe size and even the colour of their underwear! Of course, they are not gays. It just happened that most of the time, they changed together to save time and got to see it.

Yu Xuan took Toro and Xing Shu around in Indonesia. She is an Indonesian and the guys were glad to have her as their tour guide. They even joked that they even tried to expand their wardrobe so that they can let her go home proudly (directly translation from the Chinese saying - yi jing huan xiang). She was tense meeting all her high school classmates while they were so cool about it, only wanting to know which parts of Indonesia they were going to visit.

In fact, Xing Shu was curious about the country. He had been to many countries for matches but he had never stepped into Indonesia. Toro went there 6 months ago and told him that he loved the food there. He described it to Xing Shu and that made him even more interested in the country.

Knowing me……how can I miss Toro’s and Xing Shu’s appearance when they come to Singapore? They came on the eve of Singapore’s national day in 2004 for a concert. Toro sang ‘whirlwind’ alone and later ‘opponent’ with Xing Shu. Many were amazed that Xing Shu can sing ‘live’ so well. We all know that he is a famous basketball player – how could we let him off the stage without him showing off his skills??? At first, he joked that there was no way for him to present without a basketball.

He didn’t expect a backstage staff to throw a basketball to him! He caught it and we were all mesmerized when he spinned the ball using a finger. Later, we went mad when he passed it around his legs. That wasn’t all – he later used did a Macarena act hand movement with the ball, as if cutting it up and down. All were tongued-tied and stared at him. Knowing that all still miss his acting in ‘MVP valentine’, he sang the song with 5566’s MTV. I had thought the TCS station would show this segment when it was recorded. But…..sad to say – they cut it because the serial was shown by a rival station, Channel U. What a pity!

Conclusion

Why the old dose of memory loss again? Are the Taiwanese as uncreative as the Koreans? Moreover, the acting of the cast and the presentation of the story look so unconvincing that I feel neutral. Yu Xuan’s presentation of Xue Tong trying to help Teng to remember the past is far away inferior from Sang Woo’s portrayal of Cheng Jun’s attempt to make Jing Shu recover.

The crew spent a lot of money to shoot the scenes but that doesn’t save the watery plot. The acting is less than desired as it is the debut for many. The so-called winter scenes only remind me of ‘Winter Sonata’. I practically strain my ears to listen to the dialogues. I have to stop watching Taiwanese idol dramas for some time because so many let me down.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

On story : * (Scale of 5)


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