The Imperial Wanderer


Reviewed by: Ngoc_reviewer

April 14, 2008

Rating: four

The Cast
Felix Wong Yat Wah - Doan Khang
Kathy Chow - Nhu
Jacqueline Law Wai Kuen- Tieu Bao
(note: the characters' name are listed in Vietnamese)

General Comments
The eternal and unconditional love among Kathy-Felix-Jacqueline would make you use a couple boxes of tissue papers! I was surprised that this was a Taiwanese production since all four leading roles were played by Hong Kong stars. A sad but excellent storyline, and be patient because the series was quite long (some unnecessary parts were dragged, and obviously, the main purpose was to burn your pocket) :-)

The Plot
The story revolved around two love birds (Doan Khang) and (Nhu), who did nothing wrong except falling too deep into the love net. Doan Khang came from a very wealthy family; he got a loving mother and younger sister, and he never had to worry about anything until he was crazy in love with the daughter of a royal family (Nhu). Nhu felt like a bird in an iron cage, so she decided to dress up like a maid and sneaked out the house. They met, and love was in the air. Doan Khang did not know that she was from a royal family until the day he came to the royal family and asked to marry to one of the "maids!" Of course, Nhu's parents were completely furious: first, they did not expect their daughter to pretend like a maid; second, they could not accept the idea that she "arranged" her own love interest; and last, Doan Khang was not from a royal family (rich is not enough!).

This is an interesting point: I don't recall ever seeing a series when the rich people were discriminated!

Back to the series, the couple planned to run away, and they managed to leave the village. Unfortunately, a revolution broke out on the same night, Doan Khang and Nhu were separated in the flood of people. Waking up, Nhu found herself in Du Th? Suong's house. Her mother got really sick, so she faked the engagement with him to comfort her. (Note: since the revolution, and the government was overthrown, both of Doan Khang and Nhu's families lost everything; they were no longer well off). During this time, Doan Khang never stopped looking for her, not knowing that his new friend (Tieu Bao) was madly in love with him.

Months later, Doan Khang finally found Nhu, but Du Th? Suong framed him with illegal drugs. In exchange for Doan Khang's freedom, Nhu agreed to marry to Du Th? Suong. Doan Khang was later released from jail but with a broken heart. He fought so hard to resume a normal life, but Du Th? Suong did not leave him alone. Du Th? Suong mistreated Nhu because he could never find love in her. Duh, why would she love him since he basically destroyed her happiness? Come on, reality check! Unable to handle the stress of Nhu's misery, Doan Khang convinced her to run away again since they never stopped loving each other. Du Th? Suong chased them to the train station, and coincidentally, Tieu Bao was stuck on the run as well. The three managed to get in a rolling train, but Nhu was ill-fatedly shot by Du Th? Suong. Due to her serious wounds, the group had to stop in the middle of the forest. However, Du Th? Suong still followed right behind them. Under his scrupulous hunt, Nhu left a suicide note in the middle of the night advising Doan Khang and Tieu Bao to stop searching for her. They later found pieces of her clothes near the animal's paw steps. Doan Khang hand-made a grave for her, and he later jumped off the cliff to avoid Du Th? Suong gunshots.

While he was missing, his younger sister (Doan Min) worked in a parlor to support the mother. She then fell in love with Du Th? Suong unaware of the loathing between him and her brother. To make the long story short, a gentleman rescued Doan Khang, so he could come back in town with some power, and his enemy could not harm him. Well, Du Th? Suong found a different way to torture Doan Khang: he intentionally get married to Doan Min to split the bro-sis relationship. This irated Doan Khang, but he could not persuade his sister that her husband was no good at all because love is blind!

Five years passed, Doan Khang still missed Nhu although he knew Tieu Bao's feelings the whole time. During an instance that Du Th? Suong's gang attempted to kill Doan Khang, Tieu Bao was shot instead. By her death bed, he promised to marry her if she could recover. Miraculously, she survived, so they happily planned the wedding. They came to a restaurant to celebrate, and the on-stage singer looked exactly like Nhu. Everybody was so shocked, but the singer informed them that she was not Nhu. She became the couple's friend afterwards and even attended their wedding.

During a calendar photo shoot, Tieu Bao discovered that the singer was truly Nhu due to the bullet scar on the shoulder, so she must tell Doan Khang the "singer"'s real identity. He was completely torn because he already married to Tieu Bao. Also, Du Th? Suong was extremely angry that Nhu was still alive!

So, what's the ending? I don't feel like revealing it.

The Characters

Felix as Doan Khang:
What can I say? They chose the right guy for this role! Felix has the reputation of playing honest, heroic and sincere character. I fall in love so much with Doan Khang because this man is so faithful, and he makes you believe that love is the most wonderful thing on earth.

Felix clearly demonstrated his talents by successfully showing Doan Khang's gradual maturity: from a carefree rich guy, to a crazy lover, then to somebody who can put aside his personal love and devote all his energy to help the country.

Kathy as Nhu:
Kathy was one of very few actresses who still looked pretty while crying. She cried so much in this series because Nhu was such an unfortunate character. Her royal family collapsed along with the Thanh dynasty. She sacrificed so much for Doan Khang's sake. Let's list a few: left her family behind to run away with him; got married to the enemy to get him out of jail; ran away with him again then got shot; left him in the middle of the forest, so she would not be a burden on him; lucky to be alive but chose to not recognize him, so he could move on with his normal life, etc.... I admired her decision to deny her identity upon the return in town: it took a lot of nerves to "ignore" the only man you loved. I don't think I can do that.

Jacqueline as Tieu Bao:
Jacqueline delivered a brilliant performance as the tom-boy Tieu Bao. She grew up in the parlor, and her mother was a prostitute, so she never trusted and/or liked men. She was attracted to Doan Khang due to his faithfulness to Nhu (Who wouldn't?). Her life had so many twists as well: she acted like a boy, talked like a boy and ate like a boy; she got married to a "thi gim" to repay her mother's debt (he later divorced her); although she loved Doan Khang 100%, she never got his heart; she knew that Nhu was the only woman he loved, but she was still willing to die for him. She later got married to him, but that happy moment did not last long upon the discovering of Nhu's true identity. She lost his man again, and she made a huge mistake after being drunk. Near the end, she rescued everybody from the fire; half of the face was burned, so she spent the rest of her life with.....

Du Th? Suong:
I forgot this actor's name, but he was in quite a few Hong Kong movies since the early 80's, and he did a fairly good job as a villain. I pitied this character's life a little bit: his mother was crazy, and he worked hard all of his life to get what he wanted. However, he did not understand that love is a mutual relationship, and he could not force Nhu to love him although she got married to him. I do believe that he loved Doan Min at the end because he finally appreciated all of the things that she did for him.

Since this is a dramatic and long series, many scenes are memorable, especially most of the ones with Nhu and Doan Khang. My favorite part would be when the singer appeared, the audience was not sure whether she was really Nhu or a totally different character. Also, because she passed so many tests/traps that everybody arranged to prove her identity. It would be interesting if she was a different character indeed. Would Doan Khang be able to fall in love all over again with her? We all know that this man would never forget his first love!

One thing I don't like about the series:
With such a length, the part that Du Th? Suong lost everything was so abrupt; I could hardly understand or remember what ruined his life/wealth. It seems like "OK, the series was long enough; we needed to end it soon, let's take the villain down!"


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