Dominator of Martial Gods

Betrayed by his lover and his best friend, God of War Qin Chen (Zhan Yu) dies and reincarnates into the body of the illegitimate son of one of the kingdom’s noblest families. Set on getting vengeance, he must first cultivate to the peak once more.

Qin Chen!

Dominator of Martial Gods

I never thought I’d say this one day, but I’ve found the very embodiment of the expression “It’s so bad it’s good”. Yes, truly, I don’t think there’s a better way to describe the absolute disaster that is Dominator of Martial Gods… which I gobbled up in barely three days.

Zhan Yu as Qin Chen in 2023 CDrama "Dominator of Martial Gods"
© Youku

Soup, anyone?

What struck me right away with Dominator of Martial Gods is the mush of special effects the characters are constantly bathed in. Everything is digital, everything. The floor (through which you can see swords sink from time to time), the walls, the sets… Apart from the Qin family residence and Qin Chen’s house, I’m not sure I’ve seen a single natural decor. It’s even worse when it comes to the fight scenes, because there are no actual martial arts to see there, only magic, i.e. turbid CGI clashing with gunshot-like sounds (my dog is terrified of those and legit jumped hearing them).

This makes for some of the dullest “action” scenes I’ve ever seen, as the fighters simply stand there and wave their arms, occasionally rising into the air. I’ll give it to them, though: the cast did put in some work into their arm gestures, Zhan Yu especially.

CGI soup in 2023 CDrama "Dominator of Martial Gods"
© Youku

Sir Grimace

And while the lead actor isn’t particularly expressive (which, as I understand it, does match the character’s personality in the original work), I think we can award Dominator of Martial Gods the Oscar for the highest number of terrible actors ever gathered on the same set. No, really, I’ve rarely seen so much grimacing and overacting in my life. Maybe that’s also why I watched it so fast (almost without fast-forwarding, too): it made me laugh a lot.

Liu Guang in 2023 CDrama "Dominator of Martial Gods"
© Youku

“Kill him!”

On top of that, the absolute lack of credibility in the characters’ behavior and the abysmal quality of the writing oscillate between delightfully distressing and positively hilarious. Nothing makes sense, the main character is perfect and untouchable, all the women want him even when he’s at best indifferent and at worst downright rude, martial arts masters admire him and ask him for advice, and the bad guys plot against him with such stupidity that it’s easy to laugh.

In truth, Qin Chen can be forgiven for being a little too perfect, given that he’s a god reincarnated after all, but for the rest, it’s hard to find excuses.

Zhan Yu God of War Qin Chen in 2023 CDrama "Dominator of Martial Gods"
© Youku

All in All…

It’s an absolute disaster, but one I’m quite fond of, as Dominator of Martial Gods nonetheless manages to be highly entertaining. I laughed a lot during my viewing, and it was ultimately quite relaxing not to worry about the hero and know that whatever happened, he’d get through without a scratch. This kind of story can be very enjoyable to watch, especially as I have a weakness for the concept of a betrayed character who returns and plots his revenge. Another point in its favor is that the series clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously (unlike Snow Eagle Lord, for example, which really has no excuses), and knows full well that it won’t be able to do much with so little budget. I wouldn’t say no to a season 2.

Chen Yi Ying as Zhao Ling Shan in 2023 CDrama "Dominator of Martial Gods"
© Youku

Title: Dominator of Martial Gods

Country: China

Starring: Zhan Yu, Chen Yi Ying, Luan Lei Ying

Aired: 06/14/2023 to 07/04/2023

Number of episodes: 30

Genres: Xianxia, Action and Adventure, Martial Arts, Romance

My Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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