Saturday, August 16, 2014

Outbound Love Review (2014)

Drama Rating: ****
Personal Rating: Loved it!

Travel agent/guide Law Sik Sik is sent on a (mission impossible) business trip to Malaysia to establish partnerships for a potential tour operation for her company. However, her work is continually disrupted by the incorrigible Luk Kung Chi, her local guide in Malaysia. While there, Law Sik Sik receives a surprise proposal from her boyfriend Ching Zin Bok and also manages to successfully accomplish her work goals. Unfortunately, when she gets back to Hong Kong, she is in for the shock of her life!

*Spoiler warning*

While not Korean, this drama bears all the hallmarks of your garden variety modern Korean romantic comedy with all the back hugs, the requisite shirtless scenes, the jealous former boyfriends and the cliche romantic scenes. This certainly wasn't the most accomplished script ever written but it was a good, solid piece of work. And despite the lack of a truly exceptional cast, the script made it possible for the drama to shine even with a relatively average cast. The story is well-told, well-paced, well-planned out and has no lack of creative inspirations.

While Aimee Chan certainly isn't going to win any awards for her performance, she puts up a reasonably good show to not drag the drama down with her. Ruco Chan clearly steals the show as the leading man in this series. His charm is glaringly evident and it makes his acting feel completely natural. Lin Xiawei, Tony Hung, Elaine Yiu and Matt Yeung round out the rest of the key supporting cast and despite their characters' generally dislikeable traits, they portray their roles fairly well.

Surprisingly, the soundtrack for this drama is fairly suitable in an amateurish way. While there's still plenty of room for improvement, the soundtrack bolsters the drama scenes nicely and don't sound too out of place. The theme song in particular, 很想討厭你, is a catchy tune that is wisely used as a unifying element for this series. The overall musical direction for this drama was fairly well done and definitely contributed towards establishing a warm atmosphere for the series.

Its certainly refreshing to watch a HK drama that includes good screenwriting, decent music and decent acting. This drama does not disappoint and despite a fairly average cast (with perhaps the exception of Ruco Chan), its solid storyline truly shines. Most aspects of the drama were done fairly well and while not outstanding by any means, this drama certainly captures the essence of a modern romantic comedy. I would be delighted to see more dramas like this one!

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