Our First Impression on the Burning Flames Chinese Drama 2024

 Burning Flames Chinese drama

So how's your verdict on the first six episodes of Burning Flames? We've read comments from fans on Weibo about their dissatisfaction with the drama. But we can't judge a series by just watching six episodes. 

The drama dropped the first six episodes last night, so it's unfair to roast it immediately. The good thing is that Ren Jialun and Xing Fei are using their own voice to dub their characters, which means we won't be watching Bai Cai and A Gou as if someone enters their souls. 😂

Here's our first impression.

Burning Flames Chinese drama
Ren Jialun as Prince Wu Geng

We just found out this is a fantasy drama (but not a mainstream xianxia, although elements of the three realms are present) rather than anything else. 

It's easy to say that the production poured out a large chunk of its budget on the visual effects and CGIs (computer-generated images), judging from the first two episodes. 

But why they're giving us a 1990s vibe? 😂 

Burning Flames Chinese drama
Jiang Xin as Xin Yue Kui
Burning Flames Chinese drama
Peter Ho as Xin King

Personally, it feels like I'm watching the Japanese anime series in the late 1990s with the kind of visual effects applied in the war scenes between the Xin King (Peter Ho) and the immortal Hei Long (Jeremy Tsui). 

From what we heard, the production wanted to make this drama closer to the donghua/anime source, so they're building a world that has some anime vibe.

Burning Flames Chinese drama
CGI in Burning Flames

But this attempt actually is not good for the live-action version because it looks tacky. It's hard to watch the scenes with real people from the cartoon's perspective. Since this is a live-action adaptation, we wanted to see a more realistic environment and aesthetics.

Burning Flames Chinese drama
Ren Jialun takes the dual role of Wu Geng and A Gou

Ren Jialun is more suited to his role as A Gou than as Prince Wu Geng. I just find his facial expression a bit stony as Wu Geng. When it comes to delivery (facial expression, angles, interpretation of role, mouthed words), he is more effective as A Gou.

Burning Flames Chinese drama

I also find it weird that Wu Geng saw his doppelganger, A Gou, in person and seems not surprised (he did not chase him or wonder why it seems he has a twin brother). From the perspective of the doppelganger myth, the original and the doppelganger do not meet in person.

But what is more surprising is that Wu Geng did not even wonder why he seemed to have a copycat somewhere. He was not curious or interested to know this commoner who is his exact version. 

Burning Flames Chinese drama
Find it weird that Wu Geng meets the shred of his spirit. A Gou

Burning Flames Chinese drama

Only Bai Cai seemed shocked to see two look-alikes. But that scene where she was curious and asked why the prince looked so much like A Gou was just "killed", meaning no follow-up scene or interaction. 

Sounds like a "mess" in the script. It was a useless scene and they could have just omitted it in the screenplay. Perhaps, it was a fault in film editing. 

In the 3rd episode we know that A Gou is a shred of Wu Geng's spirit created by his immortal mother (in other words, she makes a photocopy of her son lol!) to save him from the wrath of the immortals after his father challenged them to war.

Wu Geng's mother already knew the outcome of the war so she made sure her son would survive by creating his "duplicate" in advance. 

Not sure what's in the donghua version of this drama, but it looks like the production was trying to avoid the reincarnation trope so they created this concept in the screenplay.

Burning Flames Chinese drama
Ren Jialun as A Gou

Oh, yes the short pants of Bai Cai 😄It's weird to see an ancient girl character wearing short pants, like, OMG what's that! 😂 Have not seen a major character in a fantasy drama wear short pants. 

But Xing Fei as Bai Cai is soooo good! Love her portrayal, she puts so much energy (never mind her shrieking voice in the first three episodes) into the character. 

She's bubbly and full of vitality, and what's lacking in Ren Jialun's portrayal (there are scenes where he seems spiritless and languid), Xing Fei covered it up.

Burning Flames Chinese drama
Xing Fei as Bai Cai

We heard that Bai Cai was originally given to Li Yitong but her management pulled her out of this drama due to some disagreements with the production, so the role was given to Xing Fei, which is a good decision.

Bai Cai is still very young and has a vivacious temperament, more like a teenager, which seems to be out of the league with Li Yitong's personality. Xing Fei is a better choice than her.

Burning Flames Chinese drama

The plot thickens from episode 3 and we can see Ren Jialun's presence picking up some energy as he battles out several antagonists. There's a sense of fierceness in his portrayal and his delivery improves from episode 5.

I love the fact that this drama did not use excessive face filters unlike in The Blue Whisper. They seem to be just using the real skin color of the performers, except for the immortal characters. 

Burning Flames Chinese drama
Merxat Yalkun as Shi Xing and Jiang Xin as Xin Yue Kui

Although a little bit bland in texture and lacks cinematic appeal (Judge Dee's Mystery so far has better visual effects and fight scenes with cinematic appeal among costume drama releases early this year), the screenplay is interesting, the story progresses fast, and there's a "hook" at every episode, which helps energize the drama. 

Among all the costume drama releases this year, Burning Flames offers a better storyline with episodes that attract interest. Never mind the CGI and visual effects lol!  

In addition...I don't understand with other fans complain about Ren Jialun not having kissing scenes in his drama. You need to focus on the story not on extras! An actor's ability to deliver a good performance is not based on whether he has a kissing scene or not.

Perhaps these fans are still teenagers who are always looking for smooching in the drama, young fans whose minds are too preoccupied with the idea of romance and intimate scenes and not with the essence of the story. 

I am not comfortable with kissing scenes in any drama, that's why I avoided the mainstream romance genre. I am more particular about the screenplay and the logical plot development. I want to watch how the story progresses, so in this situation, I am for Ren Jialun who has zero kissing scenes. 

The kissing scene is just a prop that has been added to the romance arc of the story but does not totally add substance to the plot development. Even if you remove it, the drama is still fine.

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