I’ll start off with a note that I found this movie through Song Wei Long (宋威龙). There are a few actors/actresses that I like and I’ll check back on their dramalist page every few months or so to see if they have any new works. If the sypnosis interests me, I’ll go ahead and watch the drama/movie.
Firstly, let’s take a look at the movie poster. Our long long is right at the top with a really cool pose of his side profile. 好帅哦!
The female lead is on his right. I’ve never seen her before and my first thoughts are that she looks young but I had a feeling that she was way older than him. I only checked out the rest of the cast and watched the interviews after watching the movie and realised that I was right. She’s 25 while Wei Long is 19.
Secondly, I first watched it on youtube at 480p (with a chinese title) but while typing this, I googled and realised that it’s on youtube with 1080p (with an english title). *facepalm*
This movie is set in a hologram game world (全息游戏) called ‘Souldream’ (万梦千魂) that was created by the female lead’s father before his death. One day, on his death anniversary, she visited her old home, Native Apartment (which is now an abandoned building). There, she bumped into the male lead and antagonist, sparking the subsequent events that happen in the game world. Souldream is a virtual reality, player vs player game. Whenever players enter a fight zone, they’ll get points and they’ll earn more points if they win a fight. With more points, they’ll be able to get better weapons and gain access to different zones. Most player’s goal is to collect 50 million points and meet Cassandra, the game’s prophecy goddess. To achieve that, some players do it by either going after fugitive players or illegally capturing other players and cutting off their hands to sell for points. Collected points are recorded by a button on their wrist that also serves as their logout button. Players that enter the game illegally won’t have a button and if they die in the game, they die in real life. That’s an important note because the main leads are in the game illegally, making the fight scenes 10 times more anxiety inducing. After some investigations, they found out the game’s secret after meeting the remnants. That is, that 15 years ago, 15 pro gamers were invited for a trial of the game at the basement of the Native Apartment. After entering the game, they realised that there wasn’t any exits and have been stuck there ever since, becoming known as ‘the remnants’.
On to the characters.
First off, we have Nan Ji (南极), portrayed by Song Wei Long (宋威龙). His dead uncle’s (Nan Yan) company was hacked and upon investigation, he found out that the funds were diverted to this game so he entered to find out the truth. He first met the female lead when he went to Native Apartment to investigate. Later, he saved her from a group of guys that had captured her for the bounty points. After that, due to his association with the wanted girl, his player ID was deleted so he re-entered the game illegally to continue his investigations. I’d describe his character to be cool and suave with a hidden childish side. He also has a greater-than-thou attitude sometimes, which I’m totally digging. Twice in the movie, he covers his nose and mouth with a handkerchief when someone spoke with their face too close to his, showing no regard for what the other party thought of him.
Next, we have the female lead, Jiang Han (江涵), portrayed by Chen Du Ling (陈都灵). Jiang Han is a computer science student who’s a loner in school. When she went to the Native Apartment to commemorate her father’s death anniversary, she found a recording her father left behind, asking her to find him in Souldream because there’s a problem with the world that he created. Following his instructions that the Native Apartment is the world’s origin point, she went back and accidentally entered Souldream. Upon arrival, she was chased by several people because there’s a fugitive arrest warrant out for her. Nan Ji saved her and they continued on their journey, meeting Sushi along the way. I’d describe Jiang Han to be foolish and weak but extremely kind, compassionate and determined. When she’d first been captured by a group of people, she’d helped a young boy to escape, disregarding her own safety. Later, in order to meet Cassandra and find a way to save all the illegal players, she learned to fight and got a counterfeit button attached to her wrist.
The other male lead is an NPC security guard, Serial No. N-GRL7-SO-X also known as SO-X or Sushi (寿司), portrayed by Zhang You Hao (张宥浩). He’d previously acted in Eternal Love as Mi Gu (Bai Qian’s…housekeeper?) and I really liked his role and had looked him up but he didn’t have any other works at that time. So now I get to see him again yayyy. In his first scene, he appears with a slight cowboy vibe to issue Nan Ji and Jiang Han a notice of fine because they had been standing on the roof earlier, a violation of the game rules. Contrary to his initial impression, there’s a quirky vibe to him once he starts speaking and as the movie progress, we’ll see his dorky side come out a lot. His fellow NPC guards refer to him as a defect because he’s weaker than the rest and has a blue right eye, due to a short-circuit when he was ‘born’. I’m pretty sure that he falls for Jiang Han a few minutes into their first encounter because Nan Ji had ripped the bottom frill of her dress to use it as a lasso to lasso Sushi’s gun and instead of concentrating on the fight with Nan Ji, Sushi was staring starry-eyed at Jiang Han as she spun a few times, an after effect from getting her dress ripped. ~ (spoiler!) ~ After meeting Cassandra, Jiang Han finds out that the only way to save all the remnants and leave the game was to turn it off, meaning that Sushi would ‘die’ as he’s an NPC. It was then that Sushi realised what love was, and because he loved Jiang Han, he was willing to give up everything for her, aka his life.
Portrayed by Gai Cass (盖玥希), Zhora is a bounty killer that keeps trying to kill Nan Ji, later adding Jiang Han, Sushi and the remnants to her hit list. Nanami is Zhora’s other identity, a celebrity in Souldream. I don’t have much to say about Zhora other than that she’s paid by the mastermind to eliminate them.
One thing I found funny was that nearing the end, they kept repeating a line that Jiang Han’s father had told her before “Seeing isn’t believing, love is the source of all”. Jiang Han even said it as she rejected the game’s attempt to change her mind about shutting it off. It looked cool though it felt to me like the writer’s were trying to force a ‘moral of the story’ moment.
In one scene, after Nan Ji rescued Jiang Han from the other players that had captured her for the bounty points, he brought her to his ‘apartment’. The scene then cuts to Jiang Han looking at Nan Yan’s portrait while Nan Ji is swimming in the background. Let’s just say that this scene made me chuckle because Nan Ji looks like he’s just walking in the the water while swinging his arms. Why is this so? Firstly, his body is wayy too vertical to be actually swimming. Secondly, too much of his upper body is out of the water. Thirdly, I’m pretty sure they added that so that they could include a shot of Nan Ji coming out of the water. Hehehe.
When Jiang Han and Nan Ji first met Sushi, Jiang Han’s dress had a little white blob (it can be seen in the screenshot for Jiang Han’s character intro above) that she dropped during the fight. When they set out for their final ‘mission’, the white blob can be seen on Sushi. Firstly, this means that he kept it from their first meeting, increasing the likelihood of the narrative that he liked her since then. Secondly, in an earlier scene, before he wore the blob, he could be seen combing it. Adorable! Thirdly, wearing it on their final showdown just speaks so much. I can’t put it into words but…that action alone just conveys so much emotion! Does it not?!
One part I enjoyed was the fight scenes. I usually prefer the kind set in ancient china with flying, swords and magical forces that they manipulate with their hands (whatever that is called) but this movie did pretty good. It was exciting and the choreography was pretty, with fists, guns, knifes and swords. ~ (spoiler!) ~ Couldn’t find a nice screenshot of a fight scene so here’s a look at Nan Ji being upset after accidentally killing Nan Yan (his uncle who was supposed to be dead) who ends up being the mastermind.
Besides the fight scenes, another part I really enjoyed watching was the bromance between Nan Ji and Sushi. They start off as rivals, with Nan Ji being more passive and Sushi being more expressive but as the story progresses, Sushi really brings out Nan Ji’s childish side. In one scene, they’re at a sushi restaurant and Sushi calls Nan Ji a pig so Nan Ji makes a comment about hating sushi, picking it up with a pair of chopsticks before flinging it behind him. Offended, Sushi picks a ‘fight’ with him and the both end up fighting with chopsticks, Sushi looking visibly agitated and Nan Ji looking bored, both of them ignoring Jiang Han’s attempt to stop them. All of this is happening as the people at the restaurant are realising that they’re fugitives and preparing to capture them. Later in the movie, just before they went on their final dangerous mission, they make peace with each other, Nan Ji saying: “Maybe Sushi isn’t so disgusting after all, I’ll try it if I get the chance to.”