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First Episodes 1: 士兵突击, Soldier's Sortie


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A part of the Grand First Episode Project -- See this thread for more info.

2nd April: 士兵突击. The kid from 天下无贼,盲井 and 暗算 joins the army.

Emule (RMVB) - Torrent, rmvb - Youtube (1 of 5, see related videos for the others) - Youku.

See attachment for subtitles / transcript - .srt files can be opened in Notepad or similar.


Watched this last night. I quite enjoyed it, the first ten minutes were fairly well done but it wasn't too surprising when all the military equipment and explosions disappeared and were replaced with a much cheaper setting. The remaining half an hour I thought were fairly well done, some reasonable laughs from the villagers. The army recruiter guy did a decent job of being conflicted over accepting Xu Sanduo, and Wang Baoqiang is good in his role - which he should be, as it's the only one he ever plays.

I could quite happily watch a couple more episodes of this to see how it develops. If it manages to bring in a few decent characters and have some actual combat scenes, could be good. If it ends up just being Wang Baoqiang earnestly trying to do his best, it's likely to get pretty old pretty quickly.

As this is the first of this (hopefully) long running series of first episodes, I typed up some notes as I was watching on basically what's happening - might be useful for anyone who is stretching their language ability a bit and would like some help in figuring out what's going on. Nothing wonderful, but might help.

Anyone else?

0 minutes.doc




Edited by renzhe
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I also enjoyed the first episode, and have since watched a few more of the later ones.

The village scenes were good, and it's great to see that production companies are starting to produce shows that contain non-standard accents.

If it ends up just being Wang Baoqiang earnestly trying to do his best, it's likely to get pretty old pretty quickly.

It is a little bit like this, and actually his character reminds me in some ways of Forest Gump.
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Watched it just now. I guess I'd be willing to continue watching for 傻根's adorable accent. Also would be interesting to see what kind of show the whole of China is raving about.

On the downside, I'm not a fan of war movies (or series, for that matter), and I seem to recall someone saying the village scenes will be over after the first episode (imron, you've watched ahead already, little heads-up?). Also, it seems to be a little too cliche-serving at times, but I guess that shouldn't surprise me, as this is both a TV series and Chinese.

How about the rest? Did anybody else watch this? Come on guys and gals, this is not an admin-only activity :wink:

PS: roddy, did you doze off twice towards the end or did you watch a shorter episode then I did?

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Yep, after the first episode, the village scenes are over, and it's Army all the way, although not on a main Army base, because after basic training Xu Sanduo gets sent to a remote outpost where basically they send people to get them out of the way.

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I watched and found the first episode much more interesting than the other 5 or so random ones I've seen. So interesting in fact that I was tempted to keep watching it. Don't think that will happen though. (sh)

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Ok, well I've finished watching all of this now. Overall I quite enjoyed it, although there are parts that aren't so believable, like how Xu Sanduo becomes a crack troop, but in some ways is still so dense. I would've liked to see more of him growing/changing as a person, which although happens to some degree, didn't really happen enough.

I also have to say that ending absolutely was terrible, and personally I think it comes across as a bit of a cop-out.

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I watched episodes two and three yesterday, and just what makes Wang Baoqiang adorable in 天下无贼 makes him a bit annoying in this show, I find. Overall, it's OK to pass the time, but nothing I feel compelled to keep watching.

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I'm a bit late to this, but better late than never.

It was ok, well done, but didn't really pique my interest enough to keep watching it. I may watch another couple of episodes, but unless they blow me away, I don't think I'll invest the time to see all of it.

The language level was ok, I was struggling at times, but could figure out what is happening, which is in line with my ability to follow other shows at the moment. The villager accent had me reading the subtitles often, though.

EDIT: Great work on the notes, roddy. I read them after watching, but they did fill out the few spots that were unclear. I for one really appreciate the effort.

EDIT2: And here's a wordlist I put together from the transcript:

阴晦 yīn huì - dark / gloomy

攻击 gōng jī - to attack

防线 fáng xiàn - defensive line or perimeter

撕碎 sī suì - to tear apart

鲜血 xiān xuè - blood

主力 zhǔ lì - main force / main strength of an army

集团军 jí tuán jūn - army grouping

集结 jí jié - to accumulate / to mass

洪水 hóng shuǐ - flood

堤坝 dī bà - dam

吞噬 tūn shì - to swallow / to engulf

难以 nán yǐ - hard to

区域 qū yù - area

潜伏 qián fú - to hide / to cover up

引导 yǐn dǎo - to guide / to lead

暴露 bào lù - expose

操作 cāo zuò - to work / to operate

掩护 yǎn hù - screen / shield / cover

呼救 hū jiù - to call for help

投降 tóu xiáng - surrender

出息 chū xī - future prospects

城镇 chéng zhèn - cities and towns

户口 hù kǒu - population

体检 tǐ jiǎn - physical check-up

撅 juē - break off / stick up (as a tail

伺候 cì hòu - to serve

庄稼 zhuāng jia - farm crop

糟蹋 zāo tà - to wreck / to insult / to slander

龟儿子 guī ér zi - son of a turtle, turtle son

指挥 zhǐ huī - to conduct / to command

当成 dàng chéng - to consider as / take to be

越野 yuè yě - cross country

汇合 huì hé - to converge / to join

坦克 tǎn kè - tank (military vehicle)

解放军 jiě fàng jūn - People's Liberation Army

同志 tóng zhì - comrade

荣幸 róng xìng - honored

嘀咕 dí gu - to whisper

觉悟 jué wù - consciousness / awareness

凳子 dèng zǐ - stool

功底 gōng dǐ - having good foundational training / a solid background

加速 jiā sù - accelerate

素质 sù zhì - inner quality / basic essence

情谊 qíng yì - friendship / camaraderie

吓唬 xià hu - to threaten

戳 chuō - to pierce / to puncture

复员 fù yuán - mobilization

笤帚 tiáo zhǒu - broom

疙瘩 gē da - swelling or lump on skin / pimple / problem

絮叨 xù dao - long-winded / to talk endlessly without getting to the point

Edited by renzhe
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I enjoyed the first 3/4 for the most part, although the last part kinda lost me when the recruiter spazzed out over how to handle Xu Sanduo and his dad. I understand this isn't a documentary, but the whole thing struck me as a bit too absurd, especially when the recruiter decides "OKAY, I will take this kid after all b/c his Dad pisses me off."

I'll probably keep watching a few more episodes to get a better idea of what all the hype is about and work on language. Also, I'm kinda curious who the hell the enemy is in the war to come...

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  • 4 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 years later...

Just started watching this series, looks like one I can stick out till the end.

Btw there's one on youtube with English subtitles (

). I'm not sure whether to watch with English or Chinese subs, I guess Chinese subs is more useful as a language practice but for me that's still quite hard to keep up with. Or first study a transcript and then try to follow with Chinese subs?
  • Like 1
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  • 7 months later...

Some notes:

The Chinese subtitles on the youtube version are very much out of sync with the dialog. The Chinese subtitles disappear from the screen before the actual text is said. I found that highly annoying. I am used to Taiwanese Mandarin accents, and the Mandarin is spoken much differently in this drama in relation to what I am used to. I really need the Chinese subtitles to figure out what is being said. But because the subtitles are too early, I really cannot recommend the youtube videos for language study. I'm going to find something with a better scene/voice sync.

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  • 1 year later...

After watching this TV show back in 2009 or so, I'm now (finally!) reading the book.

I think it's a great book, and it was easier to read having watched the TV show.


However, reading is slow, so the other night I took a break and watched 3 episodes of the show.


I think this is a great TV show.


Yes, the accents can make it difficult to understand at time.

Yes, there is plenty of propaganda.

Yes, there are some plot holes.

Yes, the ending kinda sucks (something I've noticed in a number of TV serials...most seem to get really slow over their last 5-10 episodes, really drag, and have a lame ending.  It's almost like the mainland Chinese are great at setting up situations and characters, and lousy about knowing where to stop).


All that aside, the characters are distinct, and very enjoyable. The casting for the show was superb, based on the book.  The director did an outstanding job remaining faithful to the book. He has added some dialogue, but the few times he did, it usually increased the depth or filled a gap when a filmed visual wasn't as good as the original written narrative.


This should be a must-watch, if for no other reason, because it was a hit show on the mainland, and watching it will help you understand Chinese people more. (although obviously not the ONLY way to get this information).

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