Drama Review: Romance in the Rain (1986 Version)
Here's a sadder review of Romance in the Rain for the 1986 version. I have seen the 2001 version and there's some differences here. One might consider the setting is in Taiwan rather than China, it's probably post-Japanese war since none of the China vs. Japan plot ever exists here. Instead we have Lu Zhenhua as a retired general who had multiple divorces, left with one ex-wife Wenpei and the current wife Xueqin. For starters, I'm only more familiar with Liu Xue Hua and Qin Han because they are still active, but for the rest who are these people? I can't really critique much except the sadness of this story.
So we have the whip plots, Du Fei being the idiotic one (Alec Su's version is better) and I thought it was a low budget Qiong Yao, what do you expect from the 80s? But if anybody really stands out here is Qin Han really, really beats Leo Ku's rather shallow acting. Qin Han as Shuhuan is well what I'd call passionate and debonair but why in the world does he have the nasty habit of lifting Yiping up and holding her against a wall? Really, the whole thing is, why can't Yiping break up with Shuhuan like she did in the novel? For one, Qin Han's performance as Shuhuan compared to Leo Ku's makes me want to call him "Jerry Yan Sr." considering his passionate acting, romantic leads and well, you might want to compare Liu Xue Hua to Barbie Xu's version of Makino Tsukushi aka Shan Tsai... her version of Yiping is almost as strong as Barbie Xu's Shan Tsai was in Meteor Garden! I mean, if Jerry Yan and Barbie Xu were cast instead of Leo Ku and Vicki Zhao, it could have been more passionate! Pretty much, Liu Xue Hua would be the Barbie Xu of the 80s and Qin Han would be the Jerry Yan of the 70s-80s for me though I am yet to see more of them since I've only seen them play in modern drama. The relationship between Shuhuan and Yiping almost felt like it could have been replayed by Jerry Yan and Barbie Xu!
Compared to the 2001 version, I thought that it was a little more concise. I mean we don't have that old lady and the cat scene (that was pretty dragging) or some extended scenes. We do still have Mengping getting raped and preggers then abortion, the love triangle between the girls Yiping and Ruping, and we have an earlier glimpse of Zhenhua's past compared to the 2001 version, we still have Xueqin's infamous affair with Wei Guangxiong which gave birth to Erjie and the loss of the Lu family's wealth. On the other hand, one can think of the bigger differences that make this a rather sad story, too sad that some who prefer a lighter story would pick the 2001 version instead. My problem with this one is how character development is hardly present with the other Lus. In the 2001 version, Mengping started to get better with Yiping after her abortion incident while in the 1986 she kind of remained mean especially when she blamed the latter and Shuhuan for some tragedy that I'll explain later.
For acting I thought most of the 2001 version did better. For example Gu Yin (the actress who acts as Xueqin) isn't all that good compared to Wang Lin when it comes to being Xueqin. I even felt that the 2001 version of Guangxiong or the 2001 version of Mengping, Erjie or even Zhenhua were more passionate with their roles. The Late Li Yu was also a better Fang Yu for me. If anybody else from the cast caught my attention was Zhao Yongshing who I just heard of from this old drama. I mean I knew Liu Xue Hua and Qin Han through them acting as parental roles to either the leading guy or lady, Zhao Yong Hsing is pretty anonymous. I think Zhao Yonghsing beats Ruby Lin's Ruping in terms of acting. For Gou Feng (Zhenhua) vs. Kou Zhenhai, I think Kou Zhenhai beats Gou Feng in portraying Lu Zhenhua. Kou Zhenhai didn't need to strike the whip a couple more times to show he was really furious especially when he learned that Xueqin cheated on him and karma hit him hard. Gou Feng can act but Kou Zhenhai's version of Zhenhua is more badass.
Now all about the tragic parts- I thought that this version's Ruping was really dumber than the 2001 version. After all, the novel portrays Ruping to be pretty dull herself. While the 2001 version gave Ruping some character development, this one didn't. I mean, freaking stupid she shot herself after the incident when Guangxiong stole the life savings of Zhenhua from the safe. Poor Dufei really was hurt. If there was anything quite better for a little bit was that, one can see Erhao, Erjie and Mengping visit their mom in prison after she was arrested or the part where Xueqin gets drunk over the fact knowing Ruping killed herself. I just thought though the scene where Erjie refuses to acknowledge his real father Guangxiong as his father was still better in the 2001 version. I was thinking letting Ruping kill herself may have caused those who hated Ruby Lin's version want it to happen in 2001 instead of 1986. I may not like Ruby Lin's performance at all as Ruping but hey, her character got better. Not only does she realize that killing herself wasn't going to do anything, if she was to die, DIE HONORABLY! But this version continued to carry on the idiot Ruping was in the novel which for me is just too sad. I mean she annoyed me with her naiveness but come on, letting her die like that is too much!
For Zhenhua's death, I just thought that the scene of him dying in the hospital was also teary eyed but I had more tears during the 2001 version when he died trying to protect Yiping and Shuhuan. I mean, Zhenhua was a panther who would rather die in battle than of sickness. Well the Sino-Japanese war didn't exist here so don't expect it... it was the 2001 version which I thought gladly tried to balance the seriousness and lightness compared to this one.
My verdict? 7/0. I would probably think that this version was too sad, so sad.