Love and Redemption Chinese Drama. Our Thoughts and Review

Love and Redemption Chinese drama

Love and Redemption is a hit Chinese costume fantasy drama that was aired in 2020, but it's only lately that I finished watching this series. I wrapped up watching The Promise of Chang'an first before starting Love and Redemption because The Promise of Chang'an was the one that was first filmed.

You see, these two costume dramas shared the same production crew - both directed by Yin Tao with the scripts written by Liu Fang (who also wrote the script of Mysterious Lotus Casebook), and both starred by Cheng Yi

The Promise of Chang'an was filmed first, between September 2018 and January 2019, followed by Love and Redemption between March 2019 to August 2019. However, it was Love and Redemption that was aired first, in August 2020 via Youku and Mango. The Promise of Chang'an was aired in September 2020 on Tencent/WeTV.

Love and Redemption Chinese drama
Huang Yi as Ah Lan

Due to these circumstances, given the fact that both dramas were co-produced by H&R Century Pictures, it's not surprising that we saw familiar faces appearing in both dramas, albeit playing roles that have different connections to Cheng Yi's character. Except one. Huang Yi.

Cheng Yi and Huang Yi

Huang Yi appeared in Love and Redemption and The Promise of Chang'an playing a character that would fall in love with Cheng Yi's character. However, both characters end up heartbroken as Cheng Yi's character was meant for someone else.

I pitied Huang Yi. Why does she seem typecast in this role whenever she's paired with Cheng Yi? It sounds so strange to appear in two different dramas playing the same role of a rejected lover by the character played by the same actor haha! 

Love and Redemption Chinese drama

In Love and Redemption, Huang Yi plays Ah Lan (who fell in love with Si Feng (Cheng Yi) during their brief encounter but he has already the love of his life (Chu Xuanji played by Yuan Bingyan) and so Ah Lan ends up rejected.

Love and Redemption Chinese drama

Love and Redemption Chinese drama

In The Promise of Chang'an, Huang Yi plays Su Yuying, who fell in love with Chengxu (Cheng Yi) but because his love was only Mingyu (played by Zhao Yingzi who also appeared in Love and Redemption as Madam Dongfang), Yuying did not get any chance, though they ended up getting married, it was a disaster, and she ended up committing suicide after Chengxu died.

Love and Redemption Chinese drama

Love and Redemption Chinese drama

My God! Can we change their fate next time?😂So now, I wish Cheng Yi and Huang Yi could work again in another drama as the main leads and have a happy ending together. I could feel a CP vibe with them. They are a good match. 

Anyway, back to our review of Love and Redemption.

Love and Redemption Chinese drama

Plot Summary:

Some 1000 years ago, chaos between the three realms often occurred, King Bailing of the heavenly realm commissioned a fierce general, only known by the name, God of War, to wipe off the Asuras of the demon realm. The Asuras had a great warrior who was undefeated, Rahu Ketu, also known as the Star of Mosha. 

During the battle between the Celestials (heavenly realm) and the Asuras (demon tribe), it was implied that the Star of Mosha was finally defeated by the God of War. The Star of Mosha disappeared and his soul was sealed in a Jade cup, which was then sent to the mortal realm to be hidden to maintain peace within the three realms. However, the God of War, also mysteriously disappeared. 

Love and Redemption Chinese drama
Yuan Bingyan as Xuanji and Cheng Yi as Si Feng

It was then revealed that both souls were sent to the mortal world to undergo tribulation. But the demonic realm vowed to take revenge against the heavenly realm and planned to unseal the Jade cup to release the Star of Mosha.

One thousand years later, in the mortal realm, two children were born on the same date. Chu Xuanji (played by Yuan Bingyan) was born to the Shaoyang Sect leader, Chu Lei (played by He Zhonghua), and Yu Sifeng (played by Cheng Yi), was born to unknown parents. He later became a highly skilled disciple of the mysterious sect, the Lize Palace, whose members were forbidden to marry.

Chu Xuanji was born without her six senses, she could not sense or feel anything, while Yu Sifeng grew up cold and emotionless due to the rules of his sect prohibiting members from falling in love. 

However, one day, their unlikely world collided when the five sects in the mortal realm held an annual Flower Banquet at Shaoyang for a sparring tournament. 

In the course of their encounters, Si Feng and Xuanji form a close bond and fall in love which sets the tone for their impending sufferings and trials as they try to discover their real identities.

A turn of events forced Xuanji to train for four years under the guidance of Hao Chen (Liu Xueyi) while Si Feng was punished by Lize Palace for breaking the sect's rules with the Lover's Curse. 

He was then forced to wear a mask, which would bring him unimaginable suffering, and even death if removed. With the thought that Xuanji's feelings were aimed at someone else, Si Feng was determined to keep his distance from her. 

So when they met four years later, Si Feng tried hard to avoid her, but certain events drew them together. Eventually, they defied the rules and fell in love. 

They set on a mission to find shards of the mirror that could restore Xuanji's six senses. But the journey to set things right for their fate was riddled with secrets, deception, and treachery which were only deepened by the mysteries surrounding their past.

As Xuanji finally discovered that she was the reincarnation of the God of War, Si Feng also saw his previous nine lifetimes with Xuanji which all ended in tragedy due to her betrayal. He then realized the tribulations they underwent and needed to overcome to be together.

However, the secret of his real identity as a demon which Xuanji knew nothing about, became a deadly catalyst of their relationship, making them realize they were bound to clash and become fiercest enemies.

Love and Redemption Chinese drama
Yuan Bingyan and Cheng Yi

Our Review

Honestly, Love and Redemption is one fantasy drama that I find hard to watch due to the sufferings that the main characters went through. I thought it was only in The Promise of Chang'an that Cheng Yi's character would suffer a lot, but Love and Redemption was even more stressful and torturous as Cheng Yi's character, Si Feng, underwent so much physical and emotional torment and was designed to vomit blood every now and then.

Positive points:

I love how the directors (Yin Tao and Mai Guanzhi) set up the screenplay and guided the characters and the whole drama. It was so compelling and captivating with several scenes keeping me on the edge. 

Several times I could not wait to watch the next episodes because of the intriguing ideas they put into the scenes which enticed me to chase the story.

The CGIs were impressive! I was in awe the whole time as the scenes where characters performed magic and tricks and transformed into mythical figures were spellbinding, one of the best visuals ever shown in a Chinese fantasy drama.

The fight scenes were well-choreographed, one of the best martial arts action sequences in a Chinese drama. It was not done in a slow-motion technique so you could see how the characters performed their moves convincingly.

I love the acting skills of most of the cast! They were superb in their delivery which made Love and Redemption one of the best xianxia dramas to watch. 

The performances that I believe are the strongest in this drama were from Cheng Yi (as Si Feng), Yuan Bingyan (as Chu Xuanji/God of War), Liu Xueyi (as Hao Chen/King Bailing), Zhu Zixiao (as Yuan Lang), Han Chengyu as Liu Yihuan, and Bai Shu as the flying snake. 

Cheng Yi and Yuan Bingyan delivered two of the best performances from the main leads in a Chinese drama. They were engrossing in Love and Redemption.

I am often annoyed with the unbalanced pairing of two main cast in a drama due to the acting discrepancies, but in Love and Redemption, Cheng Yi, who has a drama degree from China's top acting school - Central Academy of Drama, and Yuan Bingyan, who also obtained an acting degree from Shanghai Theater Academy, strongly delivered.

Negative points:

In every drama, no matter how perfect the direction is, there's always a negative point, although in other critically-acclaimed dramas, cons are rarely noticed, in Love and Redemption, some unpolished aspects were noticeable. Some, in fact were irritating.

I don't like how Liu Fang wrote the script, just like in The Promise of Chang'an, she made the main character the "punching bag" in the story. Si Feng was badly tormented in this drama in almost all 59 episodes. I rarely saw him not in the blood-spitting rampage my goodness!

Although the main characters were bound to undergo 10 lifetimes of suffering, I felt the flow of the script was a bit weak, especially how Si Feng and Xuanji progressed in the story. 

The writer seemed did not allow the story to flow according to the narrative but according to how people might feel about the characters.

Instead of progressing based on the narrative, Si Feng and Xuanji were stuck in their childish reveries of trying to be together even if they sounded already irrational. Some sequences were completely illogical.

One day, they were fighting for their feelings, the next day, they were killing each other. Then back to declaring their intention to be together, then back to the killing fields piercing swords at each other. Like what the hell!

This kind of development is somewhat forced because the script hampered the characters to move forward according to the flow of the story. It just kept tossing back and forth, which made it very annoying. 

Although I understand that the story is just trying to show the idea of how Si Feng and Xuanji must undergo several tormenting trials to prove their genuine love and how they must overcome the roadblocks to be together in the end, I felt that the way the script designed the progress of plot is somewhat chaotic, inconceivable beyond logic, and lacked conviction. 

The script was trying to give us the idea of Si Feng and Xuanji being two stubborn characters capable of defying rules and making unreasonable and irrational decisions in life just to realize their love. 

In many instances, they acted like two immature characters doing stupid things just to prove they love each other. I wonder if the flaw was in the way the film was edited because it seemed to me not connecting and there was a huge gap of logic.

The flow of Xuanji's character can be compared to a drunk man walking in the street. One step forward, then two steps backward. One day, she would vow to hate and kill Si Feng. The next day, she would cry a river because she missed Si Feng. As though Xuanji has bipolar disorder. 

Although they were just pushed to hate each other or even pushed to battle each other due to deception and treachery by the people around them, I still find the circumstances irrational and flawed. 

If that was the kind of flow that the script wanted to show, then one of them could have died during one of their fiercest battles where both of them unleashed their deadly power, instead of keeping them both alive in the end, having a happy ending. It made the development of the story very senseless. 

All throughout the episodes, to be honest, I was not rooting for Si Feng and Xuanji to end up together lol! Because I was irritated by how the circumstances of their encounters were written. I was rooting for Hao Chen and Xuanji hahaha! I was always celebrating when Hao Chen made things worse for Si Feng and Xuanji 😂

Although later it was revealed that Hao Chen as King Bailing was the major antagonist in the story, the script builds Hao Chen's character in a way that could draw the audience's sympathy, especially in the first 40 episodes.

Love and Redemption Chinese drama
Liu Xueyi as Hao Chen/King Bailing

Overall Thoughts

But whatever flaw that Love and Redemption had, it was "redeemed" by the awesome direction of Yin Tao and Mi Guanzhi and of course the strong performances of the cast members and impressive visuals. So overall, Love and Redemption is a fantastic xianxia drama to watch, highly entertaining, and one that is worthy to be recommended.

Cheng Yi and Yuan Bingyan are two of the most talented actors in the Chinese entertainment industry. The way they performed in dramas is topnotch, engrossing and captivating, you could easily understand what type of emotion they were trying to convey. They performed their roles with conviction. 

Another worthy to be praised is Liu Xueyi, he was so awesome in his performance as the righteous and cunning Hao Chen and King Bailing. 

Again, this is one of the many dramas from mainland China in recent years where both main leads delivered strong performances. 

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