The Great Adventurer


Reviewed by: sukting

July 07, 2009

Rating: two-point-five

How long
35 episodes

Foreword

This is a drama shot in China but collaborated by ATV and China television station. Two men unfold a story about triad power struggle, in which people have no choice but to be drawn into violence. It spans from the 70s to the 90s.
It includes golden horse award winning actor, Ng Chun Yu and Chan Wai Shan who have left TVB. The famous comedian Wong Chi Wah is also included. Can they communicate well with their China and Taiwanese co-stars?

Story/ Introduction on characters

1. Fan Shou Wang – Ng Chun Yu
He is an ordinary young man who is talented. Within 5 years, Shou Wang uses his luck to bring his whole family out of the poor neighbourhood. He uses Ji Guang’s information to go into the stock market. Ji Guang’s business fails and gets Shou Wang into trouble.

The market crash kills all his hopes and makes Shou Wang’s neighbours lose lots of money too. He has to go into hiding in China. He then befriends Huo. .However, he fails to resist the temptation of wealth and power to join the triads. Jia Ming is dead, Yun Zi leaves him to marry a man for another country and Shou Wang learns from Ji Guang to be ruthless in doing business. But this process causes the death of his slow-witted friend, Xiao Qiang so he decides to stop being too unscrupulous.

Upon knowing that his hometown, De and Xiao Qiang’s death are caused by Ji Guang, Mei informs him. Shou Wang suffers badly as so many people wronged him. Knowing that he can’t give up, he retaliates and starts to miss Huo.

Shou Wang’s fellow triad members get arrested. Shou Wang decides to turn away from all the illegal activities. He uses his talents in gambling and the stock market. However, he can no longer determine his fate once he has stepped into the power struggle. Shou Wang had never forgotten Yun Zi even after she is married. Even after her death, he keeps a distance from Cheng.

After his final win over Ji Guang, Shou Wang realises that he can’t live without Cheng. Cheng is the person who is hesitant this time. Has she gotten true love? He gives her time to think over. So he returns to Guang Zhou to build new premises and schools. He tells his past to the pupils and wish that they can be firm as him to have their own dreams and smiles.

2. Bai Huo – Wong Chi Wah
He is autistic and dares to dream. He has the guts to try out anything which is new. He is a Maths genius who can speculate stocks correctly. Show Wang uses 6 months to get close to him. He has a good memory. Although he doesn’t know English, he is able to remember a 1000 word essay within 5 minutes. The two guys get along well and are as close as brothers.

Shou Wang brings him to Hong Kong. Both create miracles and their wishes come true. Li Juan causes both to end their partnership and he becomes independent. He is then groomed by her to be a stock genius. Later, he discovers that he has been used by her all along to cause Shou Wang to be defeated by Ji Guang. He wakes up and realizes that he loves the wrong person.

He also regrets breaking his brother ties with Shou Wang. He starts to lose his focus. Huo is relieved that Shou Wang forgives him. He gets close to Li Juan and plans to tobble Ji Guang. There is a buying of resort houses for development and Shou Wang plans to build a Wonderland at Lantau island. This is the promise that he has made to his friends in the past.

Huo pretends to contest against Shou Wang to cause Ji Guang to build Wonderland in Thailand. He feels that Thailand is a better place. Although both join forces, he is also keen to challenge Shou Wang. Shou Wang wins the project to build at Lantau island. His career reaches the peak but Huo suddenly retires as he wants to lead his own life.

3. Tao Li Juan – Chan Wai Shan
She is Ji Guang’s assistant who can stop at nothing just to achieve success. Ji Guang uses her to stop Shou Wang’s investment in Guang Zhou. She causes the whole village to burn down. Huo has treated this place as his hometown and Kai Xin is also upset towards this. Both people ignore Shou Wang after that, thinking that he is the culprit. Through this process, Huo loves Li Juan but she likes Shou Wang.

She hates Shou Wang for rejecting her so she breaks his partnership with Huo. She wants both men to compete against each other. She later realizes that she now longs for a stable relationship. She is raped by Ji Guang and doesn’t know how to face Huo after that so she avoids him.

4. Fan Gen – Tsang Kong
He is a Chinese physician and brings Shou Wang to Hong Kong when he is young. He is kindhearted and wins respect from the neighbourhood. This makes Shou Wang believe that there is hope everywhere. To exchange for US$40,000 as to pay off Gen’s debts, Shou Wang goes to Vietnam to pretend to marry Ji Guang’s daughter, Cheng. This is just a ploy to get her out of Vietnam. But his hard work isn’t repaired when Gen dies.

5. Ye Mei - Zhang Ting
She was formerly a triad leader’s wife but falls in love with Shou Wang after becoming a widow. Knowing that Shou Wang doesn’t dare to kill Jia Ming, she helps him in that.

6. Chen Jia Ming – Hoi Chun Kit
He is Shou Wang’s neighbour who introduces him to Ji Guang. After two brushes with death, he doesn’t sink in despair. With Jia Ming’s help, he gets to work for Ji Guang. He intends to start from scratch but fate doesn’t leave him an ordinary path. Ji Guang wants Shou Wang to kill the accountant Jia Ming to escape from ICAC. He is killed with Mei’s help.

7. Yu Cheng – Xiang Xiao Qiao
She is Ji Guang’s 16 year old daughter who stays in Vietnam all along. She is grateful to Shou Wang for taking out from the chaotic place. This starts the complicated relationship between Shou Wang and Ji Guang. She is actually the person who finances Shou Wang’s business all along instead of Yun Zi. She has been Yun Zi’s good friend when both are in U.S.

She is touched after listening to her love story but doesn’t expect the man in the story to be Shou Wang. She has seen how her mother suffered. She has also witnessed how Yun Zi sacrifices for Shou Wang. She wants to know what love is. She becomes Shou Wang’s personal secretary in order to know him better. Love blossoms between them unknowingly.

But she asks herself if she has planned for herself. She finds that she needs some time to think over it and leaves him for a while.

8. Li De – Cui Peng
He is Shou Wang’s good friend. Both guys get drunk over Gen’s death. They end up destroying many imitation goods and the triads go after them. This sets Shou Wang to return to Vietnam to settle this crisis. De decides to be a good man and becomes the undercover for ICAC. He works in Ji Guang’s company to gather the evidence and informs Shou Wang that Ji Guang wants to harm him. But Ji Guang finds out his identity and kills him.

9. Fan Kai Xin – Zhao Rong
Shou Wang’s return to Guang Zhou makes him reunited with his half-sister, Kai Xin. They have the same father but different mothers. She gives him hope and he starts to venture into something new.

10. Ke Yun Zi – Zhou Qiao
She is Shou Wang’s girlfriend. Ji Guang returns from Taiwan and eyes on her family fortune. This causes Shou Wang to lose his first pot of gold and Yun Zi mistakens him to conspire with Ji Guang to cheat her father. She gets very upset and marries a foreign prince to become his princess. She suddenly reappears to assist Shou Wang in his career. Her marriage has failed so Shou Wang hopes to be with her again. However, she is killed in a car accident when she pushes Shou Wang aside to prevent getting hurt.

11. Yu Ji Guang – Li Qiang
He is a rich but merciless businessman. Seeing Shou Wang and Huo keep on getting success, he becomes jealous. He has a love hate relationship with Cheng. His wife is killed due to him as he abandons her. Cheng wishes to get along better with him but he hates her for giving away her mother’s 2 billion savings to Shou Wang to help him instead.

He wants to destroy Shou Wang’s business in Shen Zhen but Cheng ruins his chance again. Both manage to improve their ties and she returns to stay with him.

Favourite character
Shou Wang, although he has made some mistakes, he tries his best to correct them and do not want others to follow his footsteps.

Most hated character
Ji Guang, his evil deeds come continuously till I grow sick of him.

Interesting facts

It was shot in Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand. It was done by the shooting crew of ‘At the threshold of an era’. When shown over ATV, it garnered more than 10 points. It pitted against ‘Life Made Simple’ and ‘When Rules Turn Loose’.

Chun Yu took up this role as it was like a Hong Kong drama. He liked to be rich and adventurous. There were many crying scenes. Now many Hong Kong dramas were not like Hong Kong productions anymore.

Zhang Ting was delighted to clinch a modern role after acting in so many period dramas. She found it a pity that a supposedly bed scene with Chun Yu became a kissing scene due to the conservative China setting. Chun Yu overheard her and joked – bed? The studio had plenty in number as many needed them to sleep on when tired.

Chi Wah thought his role wasn’t as stupid as his previous dramas. But Huo’s love is too overwhelming till many cannot take it. He was evasive initially as he was afraid to change his acting style but he hoped to work well with his China co-stars.

This was the first drama that Wai Shan needed to wear low cut clothes as her role needed to seduce her superior to achieve her ambition. Her health had not recovered since after ‘At the threshold of an era’ so she looked quite haggard in this drama.

After leaving TVB, she shot dramas for TCS and China television stations. She wanted more choices for herself. She grew up in the U.S. and stayed in Hong Kong for 10 years. Shooting in different countries gave her more experiences. She worked well with Chun Yu after ‘Triumph to the skies’ and joked that she would create chances to work with him again even if there wasn’t any as both never rumoured to be a couple.

That drama was considered as Chun Yu’s best work. Chun Yu did not want to shoot any more dramas for TVB again as he had to spend at least 6 months and this time could be spent on shooting 6 movies. He didn’t like the script writer to make Shou Wang too nice an perfect. No businessman will behave like this in real life. he was just too normal.

Normal? Does that mean that he is abnormal? Chun Yu explains that directors had the wrong impression that he liked playing a psycho and he must be a psycho in real life. He is always a hardworking actor. But acting in too many roles like this also make him grow sick of them.

Conclusion

You will know why the three women love Shou Wang so much as he is such a real gentleman. He is just unlucky to go through such a bad patch in life. Huo is very irritating while Li Juan is not scheming enough. I feel that all of them have no breakthrough in this drama. Many look so tired and there is no chemistry of them with their China counterparts.

They might find it hard to work with their China co-stars as the acting styles are entirely different. They lose the glow that they have in TVB. The colour for the set seems dull and many scenes are very dark. It seems that all of them are involved in unlawful activities. Although Chun Yu claims it to be like a Hong Kong production, I still find it more like a China work.

The battle between Shou Wang and Ji Guang is simply too long. It is like playing table tennis – it seems never ending but all of us are impatient over their countless conflicts. 35 episodes is too long. 20 is a better number. Even though ‘At the threshold of an era’ shooting crew is behind this, they fail to make it into another era although it also follows 20 years down the memory lane.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

On story : **1/2 (Scale of 5)



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