There’s no to die for abs nor is he the eye candy idol type. But he IS handsome, the quiet type of handsome, with an air that oozes the perfect trifecta of confidence, intrigue and intelligence.
The first time I saw Jin Dong was in Ode to Joy. His was but a supporting role, a love interest that was not to be. But his character stood out and endeared himself more than An Di’s other two leading men. To me and many others, Zong Min was the best match for An Di: the perfect boss, a true friend, her only confidante and her secret admirer.
One year has passed since my intro to the perfection of Jin Dong. Translation… one year marathoning dramas in his repertoire. Thank goodness, there are plenty and the majority of his characters are of the right blend for my taste.
But alas, cdramas are subbed less than kdramas, and English bloggers are far and few in between (at least that’s what my search engine says). Despite having watched the majority of these shows raw, and, missing out on the deep conversations and their subtle meanings, I was gleefully able to connect the dots; enough to enjoy both Jin Dong’s superb acting and the accompanying stories.
So, let’s take a journey through a selection of Jin Dong treasure trove.
The show that defined Jin Dong as the maestro that he is. I stayed away for a while, hesitating to indulge into a war drama depicting Japanese occupation of China. But the Jin Dong pull was too strong. I caved. As Ming Lou, triple agent extraordinaire, he lives a life of disguise for the patriotic love of his country, his family and his home. As Chief Economic Advisor, his day job is but a decoy. Behind the scenes, unbeknownst to others, he controls the chess pieces, always one step ahead of the Japanese despite being surrounded by danger, threats and suspicions.
With the exception of Ming Cheng (Wang Kai), even his closest relations had no idea of the masks he wear. Is he traitor, or is he a Chinese spy? A Nationalist or a Communist? All those layers communicated through nuances in his speech, his facial expressions, the command of his emotions, and the control of his heart. Simply spectacular!
Suspense, action-packed, cliffhangers, and chemistry. If you are a fan of Nirvana in Fire I’m sure this one will delight you with the trio of Hu Ge, Wang Kai and Jin Dong (9.5/10)
I’m a fan of Korean medical dramas and have watched my fair share. So, what’s not to like? Jin Dong + Medical Drama = Drama Bliss.
Zhuang Shu, an established and brilliant surgeon returned from the US after 30 years of self-exile to Ren He Hospital as a visiting Professor. His motive? To expose the culprits behind his mother’s death and search for his long-lost sister. Framed for a malpractice at Ren He, the incident took a toll on Zhuang Shu’s mother. She took her own life, leaving behind seven year-old Zhuang Shu and his kid sister, whom he lost under his care.
The present day story starts with his encounter with Dr. Lu Chen Xi, another superstar surgeon at Ren He: strong-willed, proud, arrogant but righteous to a fault. She takes her doctor’s oath to save lives literally, not afraid to step on those that put politics or business first. These two start off on the wrong foot but circumstances throw them together. She learns to love him and despite his reluctance he falls for her despite the tragic event that ties the two of them together.
You could say it’s a show about revenge and the balance between finding justice and doing right. But it is also about the struggle between love, greed, and forgiveness and the deep desire to seek the truth.
As a medical drama, the technical production of surgical precision in the operating room lacks the reality and pizzazz of kdramas but the substance in this story wins me over. The stellar supporting cast more than holds their own. Yang Yu is the most courageous character on the show. She reminds me of Nurse Oh of Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim, tough as a nail but compassionate.
Veteran actor Liu Yi Jun adds depth to Yang Fan’s character as he walks the fine line between ambition, self-perseverance and doing good.
The many sub-plots converge into the ultimate reveal, tying up all loose ends but not in a predictable fashion. Got my vote for sure! (9/10)
For My Love
A departure from Jin Dong’s usual portrayal of the ultimate good guy alpha male, Guang Ming is loving, gentle and always believe in the good of others. His noble intentions and philosophical outlook lead to misunderstandings with his beautiful wife and ultimately caused the break down of his marriage.
This is a family drama full of touching relationships and matters of the heart, transforming human connections from foes to friends, from lovers to enemies and vice versa. It centres around the lives and tribulations of one family which includes the protective and loyal Grandma Qi and her grand-daughter Ting Ting. Pan Hong in the role of Grandma Qi is exceptional and steals the show with her relentless pursuit of family unity and her unconditional love for Ting Ting.
Tong Lei as the fiesty, clueless and impetuous wife is fitting. A classic case of opposites attract but it is the story of Guang Ming and Ding Xue’s journey that will bring tears to your eyes. It may be a touch melancholic but it doesn’t drown you in sadness. Yes, there are villains and antagonists but you come to understand their actions and for the most part, you forgive them.
I started the show because of Jin Dong and left with an appreciation for the veteran actors in the show. The acting was superb and will leave you wanting more. Keep your tissue box around for this one. (9/10)
The First Half of My Life
Love it or hate it but there’s no denying this one ranks up there as one of the best 2017 cdrama. The subject matter is controversial and I actually put the series on hold for a few weeks because I cannot get myself to support “the” relationship.
It feels so raw, so real and it is a testament to Jin Dong’s awesomeness as an actor that he can pull off He Han and made me dislike him for falling in love with the best friend. Though there are similarities to his other characters, as He Han Jin Dong shows us an arrogance that is borderline cocky.
We meet two best friends, one blissfully but delusionally happy as wife and mother. The other, a career woman racing to become “the best” forsaking family and love but whose boyfriend of ten years is the most eligible bachelor in town.
And then everything changes. Zi Jun’s marriage falls apart, Tang Jing seeks He Han’s help to pull her best friend out from her hell-hole. With He Han’s expert coaching, Zi Jun blossoms into an independent single mother but the unimaginable happens. He falls for the best friend.
A story of awakening, it captures life in all its gloriest and darkest relationship moments. An entirely character-driven drama, the acting was nothing but top-notch from all its leads including Chen Daoming as the Japanese restaurant owner whose witty and philosophical advice he dishes on human relationships is simply mesmerizing.
What’s also outstanding about this show is its sharp dialogues and character development of not just one but all of its characters.
Quiet with a touch of melo but very adult, very intellectual with all round superb acting. A beautiful story with the right kind of direction. Very much a must see! (9.0/10)
Jin Dong may not be that dreamy guy with a trail of screaming fangirls but he’s a mix of brash and bashful — with just the right touch of charisma to cap off his enormous talent.