Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hot Shot Review (2008)

Drama Rating: **
Personal Rating: Decent

Li Ying, aka W, a famous coach from the US, returns to Taiwan and volunteers to lead a ragtag group of players including Dong Fang Xiang and Yuan Da Ying. Will her guidance along with Dong Fang Xiang's incredible skill and Yuan Da Ying's huge potential allow their team to reign supreme in the competitive world of basketball?

*Spoiler warning*

While I was never much of a sports fan (particularly basketball), this drama did seem interesting enough as they could certainly have done a lot with the competitiveness between the key players. They did make some use of this in the script but any strengths derived from this were pretty much wrecked by the weaknesses in the characters and their actions. The screenwriters failed rather miserably in their attempt at creating a background story in order to put some depth into the script and characters. While explanations are sometimes desired to explain how each character arrived at their present state, it is not always necessary and can feel rather contrived as was the case in this particular series.

The drama looked promising with a cast line-up consisting of Jerry Yan, Show Luo and Wu Zun but this turned out to be a big disappointment. First, despite his sometimes deliberately-obvious inner resolve, Jerry never gets his act together to look convincingly confrontational or outwardly tough. While this isn't much of a problem in romantic dramas, it certainly leaves his character with a strong credibility problem in a competitive drama like this, especially in the world of basketball. As for Show, regardless of whether it be in his interactions with Jerry or with any other characters, he tries a bit too hard to be chummy and likeable and ends up looking quite over the top. The script made little use of a rather banal Wu Zun early on in the drama so that his late entry had little effect and didn't make much of a dent in an already ailing series. Zhou Cai Shi as Jie Er could have done with a bit more color and character as she gave a rather bland, uninspired performance. Coco Jiang as coach Li Ying, aka W, was not much better as she seemed more convincing as a model than as a basketball coach.

The original soundtrack for this drama feels rather simplistic and there never seems to be any thought towards building any sort of unity between various scenes and pieces. As a result, the music feels rather empty and hollow, never really providing any emotional support or continuity to the drama.

If only the directors spent half the time they spent filming game scenes trying to come up with a better background story, this drama would have been much better. As it is, Hot Shot definitely wasn't very hot, despite the good basketball scenes. The intrinsic competition in the drama was often ruined by Show's clownish antics while the romantic aspect of the drama went nowhere. Given its great potential, this drama was a big letdown and a major disappointment.

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