Show: Cruel Romance (C-Drama)
Synopsis: A naive country girl (played by Joe Chen) goes to Shanghai to find out who killed her whole family and ends up embroiling herself with the triad leader (played by Huang Xiao Ming), who is of course our hero.
Cruel Romance Episode 1-2 Mini Recap
One night, while out collecting morning dew for her sick mother, Jin Xiu rescues a teacher from her school that is severely hurt. Despite misgivings about the teacher's obvious gun wound, Jin Xiu's father still decides to offer his help. Worried about his watch that he hid under a rock, the teacher sends Jin Xiu to get it for him.
Jin Xiu comes back to her home to find it completely engulfed in flame and she is left alone in the world.
Furious that Zuo Zhen would not only kiss her but afterwards just wipes his mouth and walks away, Jin Xiu chases after him to demand an apology. Before Jin Xiu can get her apology though, the two are again surrounded by men but Zuo Zhen was able to fight them off. In the middle of the chaos, one of the man holds a knife to Jin Xiu to threaten Zuo Zhen but he just tells the man to go ahead and kill the girl.
Frustrated, the man lets Jin Xiu go and charges towards Zuo Zhen but is of course quickly taken care of by him. However, Zuo Zhen turns around just in time to see Jin Xiu falling into the ocean and jumps in after her.
Jin Xiu walkes up and screams when she sees the glorious view... oops, shocking view of Zuo Zhen standing half naked in front of her. Smirking, Zuo Zhen coolly tells Jin Xiu "A lot of women tries to get close to me, I can give you a chance. What do you want?"
Completely confused by Zuo Zhen's question, Jin Xiu just calls him crazy.
Zuo Zhen's necklace shows its magical powers when two men who tries to take advantage of Jin Xiu starts to shake with fear the moment they saw the necklace.
Our second male lead, Xiang Ying Dong shows up just in time to sneaks Jin Xiu into the club since the party is really held in his honer anyway. Ready for some complex story? Jin Xiu goes into the club and is stunned to see that the famous singer on stage is her long lost sister Yin Ming Chu (same father but different mother). Ming Chu is currently Ying Dong's brother's woman but Ming Chu actually loves Ying Dong who is obviously not over her either.
Jin Xiu takes a tumble in the party and lands with her hand right on Zho Zhen's chest. Dismayed to see Jin Xiu again, Zho Zhen grits out "It's you again."
In true 30's Shanghai fashion, the party is disrupted when a group of men shows up with knifes. In the middle of the fight Jin Xiu hits her head and passes out.
Leaving with Jin Xiu in the car, Zuo Zhen pushes her head away in disgust when an unconscious Jin Xin leans on his shoulder. However, Zho Zhen is soon cradling Jin Xiu's head carefully when she almost hits the car window.
The next morning Jin Xiu finds herself waking up in a luxurious hotel and is surprised to find out that Ying Dong is the hotel owner. Unbeknownst to Jin Xiu, Zuo Zhen is actually the one who gave the hotel to Ying Dong and also asked him to take care of Jin Xiu.
Eager to find her sister, Jin Xiu finds her way to Ming Chu's home. Fully expecting that Ming Chu would be just as happy as she is, Jin Xiu is stunned when Ming Chu coldly tells her that the moment their father threw her mother and her out she is no long a member of Jin Xiu's family. Tossing money in front of Jin Xiu, Ming Chu tells her to leave Shanghai. Giving the money back to Ming Chu, Jin Xiu tells her that she will always regard Ming Chu as her sister.
Despite some obvious similarity between the Lady and the Liar at first I am pretty sure as the story gets going the similarities will starts to fade. Cruel Romance is actually based on a book and it's filmed before The Lady and the Liar so despite some internet ramblings about the similarities between the two there are no serious accusations. I personally think when you set a romance in Shanghai in the 30's there are just bound to have some standard plot similarity. For example, the hero will obvious needs to be quite powerful since anyone without some serious power during that time are probably easily disposed of. The Japanese villains are also a necessity as they were the major enemy facing China at that point in time.
Anyhow, I am really liking the tone of this show so far and find the two leads great together. I especially like the fact Jin Xiu is inadvertently always finding her hands landing right on Zuo Zhen's chest and Zuo Zhen's exasperated expression whenever that happens.
The only wee concern I have is that Jin Xiu might be one of those female heroine that seems to be liked by almost all the men around her. But then, judging from the promos, Zuo Zhen doesn't seem like the "understanding" type so maybe all the other guys won't have much of a chance to get too close to Jin Xiu.