When A Snail Falls In Love 如果蜗牛有爱情 had me within the first five minutes of seeing Wang Kai in all his glory and the rest of the episode does not disappoint, telling a story that is refreshing, entertaining and well-paced. It is surprisingly short at thirty minutes per episode (only?) so I'm off to the next one after this.
Episode 1 begins with a cute guy on a train (Wang Kai) minding his own business until he witnesses two people getting mugged in broad daylight.
The cute guy stands up, walks casually towards the commotion and beats everyone into a pulp with nary a scratch on himself. If this were the Train to Busan, then he would have owned the zombies ten to one. He whips out his badge and says, "Chinese Police, Ji Bai."
Traveling alone in the streets of Myanmar, Ji Bai dumps the straw hat and jeans for a matching suit and tie. He meets with the owner of a nondescript shop to acquire an antique pipe. With his mission accomplished, Ji Bai leaves but not before noticing a man being dragged through a dark hallway.
Ji Bai seemingly walks away only to return after taking off his suit and rolling up his sleeves to gear up for another fight since the man in danger is no stranger after all.
He is Ji Bai's contact who is supposed to take him to see another person. The person never shows and only leaves a note that says, "Lang is gone, the past is not over. The golden python stirs in Myanmar, the cobra wakes in Lin City." Ji Bai is visibly perturbed or probably just confused at the very cryptic message that he received.
Back in China, Ji Bai orders Zhao Han (Yu Heng) to get rid of the intern that failed the fitness exam. Zhao Han walks into a room and he welcomes Yao Meng (Xu Yue) who is the top of her class. His gaze falls upon a frail-looking girl (Olivia Wang) at the corner of the room and he declares, "You must be Xu Xu," also known as the girl who failed the fitness exam.
Zhao Han initially scoffs at Xu Xu's animal cartoons that seem a feeble attempt at psychological profiling but it soon becomes apparent that her drawings are spot on, impressing everyone including Zhao Han. Nonetheless, Xu Xu knows that it is Ji Bai whom she must win over in order to stay in the Violent Crimes Division.
Elsewhere, Ji Bai meets with Ye Zi (Wu Xiao Yu) and he gives her the antique pipe as a gift. She appreciates his efforts to find her late father's personal belongings, yet she seems unable to let go of the past as she reiterates her belief regarding her uncle's involvement in her father's death.
First Impressions: The cinematography is no joke, comparable to the k-dramas that I'm so used to watching. It shouldn't amaze me anymore but it does because it's miles apart from what I expect c-dramas to be.
If the intended effect is to heat up the screen then it's absolutely working. Every frame is literally fan service featuring Wang Kai in jeans, Wang Kai in a suit, Wang Kai unclothing and Wang Kai in action. I ain't complaining, really.
For a crime action story, it is slick with the kind of shots that you'd see in a movie yet what I like the most is the good-natured tone that is pleasantly beguiling for such a serious premise. In a span of a few minutes, I got to know the team thanks to Xu Xu's drawings and I want to get to know everyone in the team a little bit more, even Ye Zi who seems like she'd cause trouble down the line.
Xu Xu is obviously the weakest link physically but a genius in her own right and I think Olivia Wang does her character justice by retaining a charm that is unique to her otherwise awkward and mousy appearance. Ji Bai is the obvious creme of the crop and if you have seen Disguiser, you'd know that Wang Kai is made for such roles. I honestly cannot wait for them to meet or clash especially because Ji Bai seems hellbent on getting rid of Xu Xu. If you ask me, my bet is on her.