After a meteor fall, some individuals start developing supernatural powers. At first, the government makes use of those now known as the Jizhong and their extraordinary abilities. But soon, they grow scared and order their eradication. A special force is created to deal with the Jizhong, called the Chong Ming Wei. When humble pleasure house waiter Xu He Qiao (Li Chuan), is recruited on personal recommendation from the king, he and his partners Duan Rong (Yu Yue) and Duan Jing (Chen Ye Lin) investigate an assassination attempt on the crown prince.
Three years! I’d honestly given up on ever getting subtitles for this show, and here comes Viki last week, dropping the entire thing on us without warning. (Without episode 18, for some reason, but beggars can’t be chosers and all that.)
A Dubious Start
When I started Chong Ming Wei, I didn’t really know what to expect, and the first couple of episodes didn’t help at all. Or rather, it gave me a rather unfavorable opinion of it, and especially of its female lead. She seemed, in fact, to be the sort of girl that detective drama writers seem to be fond of: the “tough” sort who victimizes the male lead, insisting that he’s the culprit and bullying him throughout their “partnership” until they fall in love out of nowhere.
Additionally, the costumes and production values were… not horrible, but certainly not good. One of the characters, at least, has a costume which will probably raise eyebrows.
Yet, I was pleasantly surprised by the protagonist, whose apparent goofiness hid a sharp mind and a lot of resourcefulness, while Duan Rong, if she wasn’t the cleverest, thankfully wasn’t what I feared and won me over quickly. Duan Jin, for his part, was fairly unremarkable: supportive and, well, there most of the time.
Short but Punchy
Chong Ming Wei is a short show (24 episodes of 25 minutes each), but that didn’t stop it from packing quite a bit of intensity through its general themes, but also some of the cases. I did not, in fact, expect it to get this dark, but enjoyed it immensely, and the last few episodes were a lot of fun.
The main highlight of the drama, however, was undoubtedly Li Chuan, whose lively performance spiced up every episode. His character was multi-faceted and very well-acted, with consistent mimics throughout, and never failed to make me smile at his antics.
Please Let Me Breathe
In the end, my main issue with this show lies with—I’m not quite sure, either the editing or the camera work, but something went wrong somewhere…
The framing, in particular, almost managed to give me claustrophobia. The camera was always so close to everything, there were no visual cues to be had for me as an audience, no breathing room. I felt like somebody was holding my head right next to everything. Plus, sometimes it simply didn’t make any sense (like one scene which had a character noticing a pendant that wasn’t even in the frame, it was completely bizarre).
All in All…
Chong Ming Wei is a fun drama which doesn’t take itself seriously, with a discreet romance, interesting cases (although sometimes a bit predictable) and a lively performance from Li Chuan. It’s also augmented by fun little extras at the end of each episode—some in the form of a funny sketch, others as an addendum to the actual story. And as an added bonus, the episodes are short, so it’s easy to binge. I’m hoping we do get the second season they alluded to, even though it’s been three years already.
Title: Chong Ming Wei
Starring: Li Chuan, Yu Yue, Chen Ye Lin
Aired: 12/11/2018 to 01/09/2019
Number of episodes: 24
Genres: Mystery, Friendship
My Rating: ★★★★☆