26 February 2007 | gemtsoi
Car racing has never been so boring
I started watching 'Che Shen' with little expectations, and still ended up disappointed! It was touted as an exciting, adrenaline-filled ride with love problems mingled with car racing, but somehow fell very much short of its mark.
Jia Xiang (Lu Yi) is an aspiring, talented car racer who gets booted out of his team, and starts working as a car salesman instead. While there, he meets the lovely Xiao Xiao (Vicki Zhao), who is heading the advertising campaign for his company. It doesn't take long for Jia Xiang to fall deeply for Xiao Xiao, only to find out that she has a sad past which has stopped her from seeking any sort of romance. Enter Yun Song, rich and handsome, who is himself a car racer and chasing for Xiao Xiao's heart.
On the other hand, we have a mute girl, Xiao Qian, who is Jia Xiang's childhood friend, and who has loved him since they were, like, four years old. Add in Jia Xiang's best friend (I don't even remember his name) who's in love with Xiao Qian; a manipulative, scheming young woman who is willing to do anything to gain power (and who, annoyingly, keeps her curly hair on one side of her face); a lot of company politics; a couple of wealthy men, a couple of poor ones, and there you have it.
The acting is adequate, though none of them except the adviser who comes in halfway through the show, convince me that they are car racers. Vicki Zhao looks very pretty and manages to carry off her role, but I found it impossible to connect or even care much for her character. Lu Yi did reasonably well in the romance/angst department, but completely unconvincing in the serious-car-racer department. Same goes to all the rest of the characters. I just don't care for them, not even the mute girl, who came across as clingy and unable to take a hint. After 26 episodes, I have trouble recalling their names!
It doesn't help that the storyline is predictable, unbelievable, overly dramatic and cheesy. You can practically skip a few episodes and not at all be at a loss. It combines nearly every cliché in an idol drama. I'm also quite amused that the only driver in the racing car team seems to be Lu Yi, and the only mechanic is his friend. Also, that a guy who has just undergone a serious operation can wake up from general anesthetic and immediately start screaming his head off and breaking vases (you'll understand if you watch).
Nor does it help that 'Che Shen' smacks very familiarly of Initial D and Mars...and pales in comparison. Worse still, that the ending is simply the worst I've ever seen for a drama. Unnecessary, ill-contrived, and meaningless, the ending seriously needs an overhaul.
'Che Shen' is watchable, but don't get any hopes up about its being exciting or adrenaline-filled. The trailers are more exciting than the actual show.