Starring: Jesseca Liu as Cai Yanfang, Christopher Lee as Pierre Ma Tianwu, Joanne Peh as Rainie Liu Feng/Liu Xuan, Dawn Yeoh as Wang Sixing, Cui Peng as Yan Feipeng, Pan Lingling as Wang Yiyan, Richard Low as Wang Weixiong, Hong Huifang as Elizabeth, Jerry Yeo (Star Search 2007) as Cai Guorong, Ye Shipin as Cai Jinyi, Jade Seah as Yaya, Desmond Tan (Star Search 2007) as Ben, Hayden Hee as ???, Benjamin Heng as Rainie’s brother and Eelyn Kok as Mavis
It was in 2004 that the sports-themed idol drama “The Champion 任我遨游”, most famous for it’s ‘Orchard Road bikini run – Jeanette Aw, Fiona Xie, Xiaoqiao and Felicia Chin’ left a deep impression on us… Focusing on swimming, it was inspired by 1983 drama “The Flying Fish 小飞鱼”, which starred Wang Yuqing and Maggie Teng.
3 years later, and it seems history is repeating itself – with another sports-themed idol drama, starring 3 princesses – Jesseca Liu, Joanne Peh and Dawn Yeoh. The bikini scenes are more frequent here, as this drama focuses on beach volleyball. And yes, not to mention the bikini running scene, through Tiong Bahru Market, the consequence of losing a bet. This drama’s sports theme could be said to be inspired by the 1990 volleyball drama “The Winning Team 飞跃巅峰“, which starred Chen Liping and Chen Xiuhuan.
With Christopher Lee, Jesseca Liu and Dawn Yeoh back on our screens (they were last seen in Rhythm of Life), this drama promises full throttle action, complete with complicating love relationships.
It started with volleyball.
Cai Yanfang (Jesseca Liu) and Rainie Liu Feng (Joanne Peh) have been playing volleyball since primary school, and Yanfang is captain of G-Force. However, she is very arrogant, competitive and high-handed, leaving her team-members irritated. Deciding not to take anymore of her nonsense, they all leave the team, leaving Yanfang and her good friend Rainie to find another team to take them in.
However, Yanfang is too hard to get along, as she always thinks she’s right. Yanfang and Rainie are left with no team to call their own. But they don’t give up playing volleyball, as the three girls had vowed to make it to the national volleyball team. The three girls are Yanfang, Liu Xuan, Yanfang’s best friend and Rainie’s older twin sister, and Rainie. However, Liu Xuan passed away in a volleyball accident a few years ago. To fulfill Liu Xuan’s wish, they would continue to play volleyball, and strive to be the best.
Pierre Ma Tianwu (Christopher Lee) is a rich guy who owns 2 pubs and 2 restaurants. A typical ladies’ man, he attracts the attention of Wang Sixing (Dawn Yeoh), an innocent undergrad, and Rainie. But after breaking up with Mavis (Eelyn Kok), he pays no attention to Sixing and Rainie, but goes all out to woo Yanfang. Yanfang gradually falls for him, but insists she will not fight with her good friend – Rainie – for him, as she values friendship more than love.
It then progressed to beach volleyball.
By this time, he had already introduced Yanfang and Rainie to beach volleyball, which only requires 2 players, not like normal volleyball, which would need at least 6 players. Yanfang persuades Rainie to join her, and master this variation of the sport they grew up playing.
But jealously changes everything. To win Yanfang’s heart, Pierre staged a scam with Rainie’s good-for-nothing brother (Benjamin Heng), to force her to declare that she does not love Pierre anymore, this being the only way for Yanfang to accept him. Rainie grows immensely jealous of Pierre and Yanfang and takes her unhappiness out to the volleyball arena.
Rainie joins Yaya (Jade Seah), the former G-force team member who has instigated the whole team to walk out on Yanfang, to compete against Yanfang. Yanfang then trains Sixing, whom she sees as a talent, to be her partner.
Sixing has problems of her own. Her mother, Wang Yiyan (Pan Ling Ling) gave birth to her at 17, and she was brought up in a strict environment by her grandfather – Yiyan’s father – Wang Weixiong. Unknown to Weixiong and Sixing, Yiyan has been hiding the identity of Sixing’s father for many years. When he suddenly comes back into their lives, and discovers the truth, more harm than good takes place…
Sixing had fallen for Pierre, but Yanfang’s brother, Guorong (Jerry Yeo) likes her. Her family also thinks Guorong is a nice person. But her grandfather hopes that she can end up with Yan Feipeng (Cui Peng), his badminton student, now in the national team. But Feipeng, a cleanliness freak, the tenant in Yanfang’s house, and whom Yanfang’s parents Elizabeth (Hong Huifang) and Jinyi (Ye Shipin) like, falls for Yanfang, who is so messy and untidy…
How will this story end? A happy ending, where Yanfang ends up with Pierre, Rainie turns good, and ends up with Feipeng, and Sixing and Guorong together… or otherwise?
It’s already been 10 episodes, and I’m enjoying this drama very much! It’s great to see fresh new faces – Cui Peng, Jerry Yeo, Jade Seah…
The New Faces
I’ve not seen Cui Peng in a local drama before, and I like the character he plays here. He’s really amusing; he portrays a foreign immigrant from China in a totally different light – they’re not unhygienic, out to cheat or creepy. Feipeng is a really clean, honest guy…
I did not see Jerry Yeo in Star Search 2007, and in his debut role, he does leave quite an impression as Jesseca’s good-natured brother who takes all her nonsense. I hope to see him more in future!
Jade Seah’s command of Chinese really isn’t good, and in her first role, she’s a villain!!! That’s quite commendable. And she does look evil.
I actually think Jesseca Liu’s role here breaks her totally out of her usual sweetie-pie; goody-two-shoes image. Her character is really detestable! I think this role shows how much her acting has improved; and it’s better than previous breakthrough role in “Kinship 手足”. Watching her in the lead role of this drama brings back memories — 3 years ago, she had her debut role in “The Champion 任我遨游”, and she’s the only member of that cast in this show. Her acting has improved by leaps and bounds, and she is really in character here.
Joanne Peh — she’s not turned bad yet, but I’ll be waiting. This could be a breakthrough role for her!
Christopher Lee plays his role wonderfully. On one hand, he is the glib-tongued rich guy with everything going for him; on the other hand, he is traumatised by his past – images of his mother leaving him, and his stepmother abusing him, his father ignoring and detesting him… and the pain inflicted on him all come rushing back, causing his head to hurt excruciatingly. You can actually feel the pain Tianwu is going through then.
Hong Hui Fang, Richard Low and Pan Ling Ling are really good in their respective roles. [More on them soon…]
CURRENT RATINGS: 4.3/50 (Very Good)