It really took me a lot of time to finish The Great Adventurer (ATV/Mainland, 35 episodes) not because it’s bad but because I really have no time lately…
The Great Adventurer Synopsis (from Yesasia)
Great Adventurer is a 35-episode action drama, starring award-winning actor Francis Ng (The Mission), famous comedian Dayo Wong, and also charismatic TV actress Flora Chan. Joined by popular Mainland actors, they unfold a story about triad power struggle, in which people have no choice but to be drawn into a whirlpool of violence! Francis Ng is Fan Shouwang, an ordinary young man who fails to resist the temptation of wealth and power to join the triads. Not before long his best friend vanishes in the thin air, his beloved woman leaves him for another country, his fellow triad members get arrested... At this point, Fan Shouwang decides to turn away from all the illegal activities he has been engaged in before and utilizes his talents in gambling and the stock market. However, he can no longer determine his fate once he has stepped into the power struggle... Shot in Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand, the TV series presents a thrilling adventure in the underground world of the triads.
Francis Ng as Fan Sau Mong
Flora Chan as Tao Lei Guen (Sharon)
Dayo Wong as Bak Woot
Zhang Ting as Yip Mei
First, the synopsis from above is not really accurate but I’m too lazy to write my own so bear with it. I watched 32 episodes in Cantonese and the remaining final episodes in Mandarin dub and that was a major turnoff (I had no choice since the torrent is stuck at 99.3% for who knows how long…). With such a grand cast from HK, I have some expectations. I find it good but not too great. I didn’t find it as slow and draggy as others did and ATV did a good job with ending each episode with a cliffhanger. However, I think that I’m more and more alienated from long dramas about protagonists starting from zeroes to becoming tycoons. Perhaps, for me nothing can top Greed of Man in that genre…
Anyways back to the drama, I can name tons of flaws and mistakes that happened, mostly anachronisms. First, it’s the time background. The beginning tells Sau Mong risking his life bringing a girl from Vietnam during the Vietnam War (the 70s) to developing cellphones with the flip (I think that was in the early 90s) in the middle part. I assume that it was a 20 years time frame but in the drama, it was presented like a 2-3 years frame since the there were no physical change in the characters. How unbelievable! Second, there was a lot of incoherence in the dialogues (that surprisingly happens a few times from Dayo). For example, when A already met B, C says that he will introduce B to A, A says alright, next time…(confused? *roll eyes*) Finally, as a drama setting in the 70s and 80s, the props, hairstyles and costumes look too modern. I even spotted a passerby using his cellphone in the background but I guess it was accidental…
Now, the acting was really good from the main cast. Francis, Flora and Dayo are playing characters that are very different than the ones they did in TVB. Francis’ Fan Sau Mong is the leader, authoritarian and headstrong guy who plays by the rules. I thought that he became more and more irritating towards the end as he was mostly responsible for a lot of unhappy events at the end. Flora’s Sharon is a conniving and aggressive woman who could use dirty tricks to achieve her goals if she must even if it wasn’t meant to harm others. At first, I think she had difficulties grasping her lines but she got better as the drama progressed. Dayo’s Bak Woot (in Chinese, it means ‘living for nothing’?) is an illiterate and naïve math genius who has the ability to predict the wins of horse races and stocks by calculations! Dayo still has his trademark “stand-up comedy” factors in his performance but Bak Woot is really a cute character although his selflessness is a bit over. Everything he says has deep philosophical meanings in it. I must say that Francis and Dayo still look convincing as lads despite being above 40.
For those who are expecting a Francis and Flora reunion ala Triumph In The Skies, you’ll be highly disappointed. Sharon likes Sau Mong but he doesn’t while Bak Woot madly loves Sharon. They opened the business all three together but because Sau Mong and Sharon have ideas and values clashes, they split in a very ugly way with the poor Bak Woot trapped between them. Dayo and Flora makes surprisingly a cute and sweet pair while I think Francis had more chemistry with Zhang Ting than the actress who played Wan Gi. I really think it would be believable if they make Sau Mong and Bak Woot a couple too because they had a lot of mushy talk…bwahaha! The ending has a sad tone; although they succeded and gained buckets of gold, the lives that were sacrificed all along left me a bit depressed...
* Themesong of the drama