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The Best Wuxia Drama is From Hollywood

I grew up watching and loving Jin Yong and Gu Long wuxia dramas. Unfortunately, the wuxia genre is not as popular now so wuxia dramas are far and few between. Add to that, the majority of wuxia dramas of the last decade are missing the “wu (武)” factor with very little actual, if any, martial arts action. The viewers are presented with excessive slow motion, bad CGI and sometimes non-existent wuxia action that’s suggested, but never shown.

Despite the origin of the genre in China, the best wuxia drama is actually from Hollywood: Into the Badlands is the best wuxia action drama in my opinion. The post-apocalyptic world without guns is the new brutal pugilistic “jiang hu” and it is survival of the best fighter.

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C-Drama Spotlight: A Familiar Stranger

The Mango TV Short Play series and production team that brought us The Killer is Also Romantic《念念无明》returns with a new drama! A Familiar Stranger《虚颜》tells the story of the wrong bride marrying the right groom with a Face Off twist. Pregnant and in love with the prince, the Prime Minister’s daughter Shen Qin schemes to have her face swapped with the painter Shiqi so that she will marry General Xiao Hansheng in her place. As fate would have it, Xiao Hansheng is actually the man Shiqi fell in love with many years ago and has been searching for.

The new English title “A Familiar Stranger” is more reflective of the drama than the original title “The Evil Face”, which was used for the initial batch of promotional posters.

Scriptwriter Zhao Lin and director Zeng Qinjie return to deliver romance, humour, suspense and sexual tension in a very binge worthy drama. A Familiar Stranger is also beautiful visually with the cinematography, actors, make up and wardrobe (especially for Shen Qin and Shiqi).

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C-Drama Spotlight: The Killer Is Also Romantic

Short C-dramas have recently taken over my drama watchlist. The short episode lengths fit my busier than normal schedule and there has been an onslaught of good short C-dramas. A few of them are truly hidden gems that I highly recommend.

The Killer is Also Romantic《念念无明》firmly belongs on the list of great short C-dramas. We’ll ignore the awkward English title though, especially since the female lead is actually a trade for hire with a moral compass and not a killer. The drama is so well put together that the high profile dramas should be ashamed of how they squander their big budgets. The script, cinematography, acting, directing, editing and action choreography all contribute to a binge-worthy drama! Even the very critical Douban agrees with me!

Douban Rating as of 2022-05-20

The drama is basically a wuxia Mr. and Mrs. Smith. There is the expected romance, comedy and action, and the unexpected emotional struggles of maintaining dual identities while trying to find and hold onto happiness.

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