CCTV: Lang Yan [狼烟]/Smoke Signal

Lang Yan 狼烟 Photo source: Sina

Finally after waiting almost 2 years, I am able to watch this CCTV production. While I generally like military theme drama serial, I have to admit that the other big reason for me to watch the production is Gallen Lo :D. The storyline itself is actually quite interesting and make you understand more how PLA (People Liberation Army) operates.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD (Please highlight below for the text. Otherwise, skip to the bottom of the page for video of the theme song.)

The entire series focused on City of Ninghai and how to build a defense system for the city. The reason to build thr defense unit has something to do with Ninghai’s history of falling to the enemy twice in the past wars. The current Mayor of Ninghai, Zhu Beiyang requested Central government to build a reserve army unit for Ninghai to prevent history from repeating itself. The one person that Mayor Zhu saw fit to lead such a unit is Senior Colonel Gao Da (Gallen’s character). Demotic Reservist Unit (DR Unit) is a reservist unit with the main function as – just the name implied – a reserved unit in the time of war. Apparently Zhu Beiyang isn’t the only person who eyes Gao Da as the chosen commander for DR Unit. General Chong Yuan Nian – their superior and a two stars  – also has the same person in his mind for the position.

Gao Da is the Acting-Commander of an army unit named “DA unit”. D.A is an active army unit where its soldiers are combat ready for war. The unit can be argue to be the best unit in the army and be able to lead DA unit is the dream of all career military officers. Gao Da is not an exception. His dream is one day to be able to get rid of the word “Acting” in front of his title, become the true Commander of DA unit, and eventually promoted to the rank of General. The assignment to lead a reserve unit nearly crushed him.

The task to lead DR Unit is anything but easy since the unit need to build from scratch. The commander for the unit need to be someone that is stubborn, strong-headed, and yet determined and confident. The qualities that both General Chong and Mayor Zhu see in Gao Da. For Gao Da, however, he sees DR Unit as career dead-end. While he finally able to get rid of “Acting” word and become a true Commander, he is now dealing with a unit in which its soldiers are never combat trained. To make it worse, most of the DR’s soldiers have the stamina worse than new army recruits. Gao Da is suddenly being throw into mid-life career crisis and even at one point, he considers to resign his commission. Fortunately, he quickly got passed his initial resentment toward DR Unit and determine to build  a DR Unit that will be as strong as his former DA Unit. Being the strong headed person as he is, Gao Da often hit head to head with General Chong and Mayor Zhu to get his way – very much to their dismay. However, at the same time, they also admire his determination and strong will to properly build the DR Unit. Started with a wrong foot with Zhu Beiyang, Gao Da gradually warms up  to Zhu’s dream of DR Unit and works hand in hand with the latter to build DR Unit. Through all their ups and downs, Zhu Beiyang firmly believe that he didn’t choose the wrong man to lead DR Unit.

My thought:

I really think that “Lang Yan” makes an interesting series to watch. At least, it is for me as I like military theme in general. My apologize in advance as I am totally not familiar with the entire cast assembly (well, except Gallen Lo and Flora Chan), I won’t give an elaborate comments on their performances.

I’m very sure I said it before 🙂 , I was looking forward to this series mainly because one of the lead is Gallen Lo Ka Leung. It had been mentioned several times in media that he is the first Hongkong actor to potray such a high ranking PLA officer (or any PLA officers). That is certainly add the sense of expectation of “Lang Yan”. When Flora Chan was also confirmed to be in the series,  I pretty much hoping to see at the very least some shadows of Tim/Helen relationship in ATE ( At the Threshold of an Era) – blame me for being a huge fans for ATE. 😛 Alas, there wasn’t the case. Flora Chan’s character, Han Ye, was paired with Zhu Beiyang and Gao Da was one of her acquintance and later, one of her friends. Meanwhile, quite the charming officer, Gao Da was surrounded by 3 women: his ex-wife, his colleague/subordinate, and Zhu Beiyang’s niece. For a career-minded Gao Da, he might be a successful and well-respected senior colonel but when it comes to the affair of heart, he is quite a clueless man. In this aspect, “Gao Da” is quiet similar with Gallen’s characters in ATE or Golden Faith.

Stir away from the casts, the main purpose of this serial titled “Lang Yan” is to celebrate People Liberation Army’s 80th Anniversary and to introduce PLA to general public, who more or less unaware of its function in the time of peace. Through “Lang Yan”, I assume that the military tries to emphasis the concept of “国防不是军防” – the responsibility of national defense is not solely a military defense, but rather is also the responsibility of every citizen of that nation.

Last but not least:

If you like military theme in general, you’ll enjoy watching “Lang Yan”. If you one of many fans of Gallen Lo, you don’t want to miss “Lang Yan” 🙂 Meanwhile, do enjoy “Lang Yan” ending theme, “Hero”, sung by Gallen Lo and Qian Lian. The video is courtesy of fellow Gallen’s fans, Mimosa at Gallen Harbor.

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