Thai Drama Review: Ruk Mai Mee Wun Tay
My introduction to the world of Asian dramas was the Japanese live action of Hana Yori Dango. From there, I discovered the Korean version and the Taiwanese version of the drama and I started watching dramas from Malaysia, Singapore, and China as well. But until now, I had never tried watching Thai dramas, aka lakorns. I am currently in the middle of Kaew Lom Phet, but when the plot took a rather predictable turn, I put that on hold. Next thing I knew I started watching RMMWT and didn’t stop until I completed it.
So, what can I say? In the grand scheme of things, Thai dramas aren’t too different than other Asian dramas (or even American) in regards to plot lines, they just add their own spicing and flavor and culture. Ruk Mai Mee Wun Tay aka Love Never Dies wasn’t perfect by any means, but on the whole, I found it enjoyable.
So what is this drama about? Vampires. An ancient Chinese curse relating to the Ming dynasty, bats, and antiques. A poor young woman who searches for work in the antique world to earn the money for her mother’s eye surgery. Yeah. That about sums it up. Oh, and lets not forget friendship, revenge, jealousy, betrayal, and romance.
I won’t lie, I’m a sucker for a good vampire show. I’ve grown up with Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and we can’t forget the badly written Twilight series. Yes, I say badly written. You won’t get me to change my opinion on that. I just did not like the book series and the movie series…could have done with some better acting. Anywho, off topic. Thus, I decided to give this drama a shot. It was not overly cheesy and the vampire plot was not slapstick, which is good. I will admit to being confused on how one is made into a vampire, but that’s okay I guess.
Plaichat [Ploy Chermarn Boonyasak] is a young woman who attends auctions and offers her services to transport and preserve the antiques that people buy. This puts her into contact with the cold and aloof Traipoom [Dome Pakorn Lum] who bought several Ming dynasty items at the latest auction, but who refuses to hire Plaichat on. Of course, our heroine will stop at nothing to get the job so that she can earn the money to restore sight to her blind mother’s eyes. Apparently the doctor says if she doesn’t have the surgery now, she’ll never be able to see again.
So, Plaichat stalks Traipoom and even goes so far as to break into his home twice in order to beg him for work. Traipoom always turns her down, but he finds himself quickly becoming amused by this girl’s antics (and sometimes clumsiness). However, he still can’t bring himself to hire her because he has a very big secret—he’s a vampire! He’s a vampire on a mission to find the 117 Ming dynasty items from the Dragon Cave. Why? 400 years ago his father and uncle went to the cave to excavate the treasures not knowing there was a curse that would turn whoever took the treasure into vampires (well…you also had to be bitten by the bats in the cave). Doesn’t that kind of sound like the curse of the gold from Pirates of the Caribbean?
Anywho, Traipoom’s father did not want to live under the curse and tried to find all the items that were scattered and sold. But his younger brother Jit [Poo Anuwat Niwatwaong] had other ideas. He liked eternal life and the powers that came with being a vampire. Thus, he hunts down his brother, Traipoom’s father. Knowing his time is limited, Traipoom’s father passes on the curse to his son in order for Traipoom to break the curse by reuniting all 117 items at the cave.
When Traipoom’s cousin and goons show up in Thailand, Traipoom’s follower Ein encourages Traipoom to take Plaichat up on her offer to help find the missing items from the cave since Ein and Traipoom used to work with her famous father who helped them find many of the missing pieces. Thus Traipoom uses Plaichat as a decoy to keep his cousin and fellow vampire Ram [Gun Kantathaworn] from discovering that he hasn’t given up the hunt for the items.
With Plaichat close by, Traipoom slowly starts to open himself up and fall in love and she also falls for him, much to the disappointment of her best friend Singha [Charlie Trairat] who has been in love with her forever (not that Plai’s ever noticed this). Singha is a police officer in charge of investigating odd cases—like foreign prostitutes turning up dead at clubs with what looks like fang marks in their necks.
Of course, Ram isn’t 100% stupid and figures out that Plaichat is working for Traipoom. I must say that here is a part of the plot that made no sense. Ram was really good at doing nothing. In order to get to Plaichat to get to Traipoom, he takes a very long and roundabout way using Ar No (Sing’s little sister). Of course, this makes Ram’s 100-year-old girlfriend Maya [Amy Amika Bouher] upset, which only complicates matters worse. So really, Ram is such an ineffective character that really didn’t seem to do anything. No offense as Gun is a good actor, it’s just that the writer really didn’t do much by the whole bad vampire clan. It was ridiculous.
You know what was also ridiculous? The horrendous amount of time spent with Traipoom and Plaichat just staring at each other with longing in their eyes. Even though this series was relatively short, there is a great amount of nothing going on in episodes with Traipoom tap dancing around his burgeoning feelings for Plai and vice versa. I mean…did the two really need to go to Japan 4 days before an auction just to run around and date essentially? Oddly enough, though, even though there was all this more boring or rather typical filler scenes, I wasn’t ever bored and the pacing actually wasn’t affected too much.
So…what did I like? The actors. The acting really wasn’t that bad. Plaichat’s uncles Ching and Maha added some great comedic relief to more of heavier moments. Plus, you could really believe the connection and feelings between Plaichat and Traipoom (which could also be due to the fact apparently that they were once a real life couple, but aren’t any more). Gun did a great job in his villain role even though, like I said earlier, the writers did a horrible job with that part of the plot. Traipoom’s constant teasing of Plaichat was really cute because he’s such a straight character. Whenever Plaichat tries to get certain answers out of him, he has his straight face and says something completely opposite or mundane that flusters her and is very amusing. I also liked Plaichat’s stronger character. She wasn’t one to give up and expect a prince to come riding to her rescue.
What didn’t I like? Crazy Maya and her obsession with Ram. Such a jealous woman. Every time she thought she was helping him, she actually just ended up causing more trouble. Crazy Ar No. While I do sympathize with her plight of really having no one but her brother, and Sing was always obsessing over Plaichat, she should never have done what she did. Sigh. Oh well. The confusing vampire plot. Let’s face it, they never really explained matters all that well. Sure, those who were changed by the original two inherited the power to create other vampires, thus Ein, Traipoom, and Ram (besides Jit) were the only ones able to make new vampires. But they don’t exactly tell you how that is possible. Is it only biting a person and not draining them dry? Is there a blood exchange? Who knows? They don’t tell.
While I understood why secrets needed to be kept, I think they were a little extreme, especially when Ar No made her choice to be Ram’s slave. Plaichat really should have sat down and told every one the truth then—what could it have hurt? Also, there was the ending. Oh, sure, it was a happy end with our OTP hooking up, but we are left hanging about the curse. Isn’t putting the 117 items back in the cave supposed to break the curse? So why is Traipoom still a vampire at the end of the series?
Oh, and the final fight scene. I said earlier that I liked Plaichat’s strong character, but she keeps yelling for Sing to save her and then stands and watches as her best friend gets his butt kicked for her. Sigh. Why ruin a good character like that? I won’t go into both their stupidity in going out to defeat 4 vampires by themselves. That was just too stupid. And this is after Traipoom told her that he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself if she did something stupid and got hurt. So what does she do? She goes and does something stupid. LOL.
It may sound like I have more complaints than anything else, but I really don’t. Like all dramas, there are things not written as well as they could be or explained as well as they could be. There was enough good in this drama to keep me watching. And I was really invested in the characters. Especially Traipoom’s followers Ein, Korn, and Gun. I was yelling at my computer screen in the final episodes and I so almost needed a tissue. It was sad.
I did like how this drama explored fate and karma. It’s not coincidence that Plaichat gets tangled up in Traipoom’s problem. It’s essentially her destiny thanks to the karma of an ancestor’s deed. It was rather interesting when that all came to light at the end of the series. This drama also showcases prejudice and acceptance. Everyone else was prejudiced against the different and seemingly dangerous Traipoom, but Plaichat saw him for who he really was and accepted everything about him. It’s a rather endearing story in that light.
While I said earlier that I was happy that the vampire plot wasn’t too cheesy or over the top, it did have its problems. The special effects they used to showcase their healing powers? They were so fake that it wasn’t funny. And the baring of teeth and roaring/hissing does get a little old after awhile. There was also very cheesy weather effects. Whenever something bad was going to happen there would be cloudy and dark skies or sometimes even thunderstorms. There could have been less, but I’m watching another Thai drama where they do that as well. It’s not subtle at all and can get old fast when used in nearly every episode.
Oh, and the music for the drama? Really nice. Dome Pakorn Lum is also a singer and is responsible for the theme song and ending song. They are both awesome and the instrumentals work well in the drama, too.
Overall, this is definitely a drama I would recommend and one I will keep for my library, even if I do find the ending a tad annoying.