The Imperial Wanderer
(Mạc Ðại Hoàng Tôn)
Taiwanese - 1993 (Posted 05/09/02)
|Felix Wong Yat Wah
||Huỳnh Nhật Hòa
||Châu Hải My
||La Huệ Quyên
||Từ Thiếu Cường
||Dư Thế Sương
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 unecessary parts were dragged, and obviously, the main purpose was to burn your pocket) :-)
- The plot:
The story revolved around two love birds (Ðoan Khang) and (Như ý), who did nothing wrong except falling too deep into the loved net.
Ðoan 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 (Như ý).
Như ý 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. Ðoan Khang did not know that she was a Cát Cát (Ghe Ghe) until the day that he came to the royal family and asked to marry to one of the "maids!" Of course, Như ý'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, Ðoan 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 revolt broke out on the same night, Ðoan Khang and Như ý were separated in the flood of people. Waking up, Như ý found herself in Dư Thế Sương's house. Her mother got really sick, so she faked the engagement with him to comfort her. (Note: since the revolt, and the government was overthrown, both of Ðoan Khang and Như ý's families lost everything; they were no longer well off). During this time, Ðoan Khang never stopped looking for her, not knowing that his new friend (Tiểu Bảo) was madly in love with him.
Months later, Ðoan Khang finally found Như ý, but Dư Thế Sương framed him with illegal drugs. In exchange for Ðoan Khang's freedom, Như ý agreed to marry to Dư Thế Sương. Ðoan Khang was later released from jail but with a broken heart. He fought so hard to resume a normal life, but Dư Thế Sương did not leave him alone. Dư Thế Sương mistreated Như ý 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 Như ý's misery, Ðoan Khang convinced her to run away again since they never stopped loving each other. Dư Thế Sương chased them to the train station, and coincidentally, Tiểu Bảo was stuck on the run as well. The three managed to get in a rolling train, but Như ý was illfatedly shot by Dư Thế Sương. Due to her serious wounds, the group had to stop in the middle of the forest. However, Dư Thế Sương still followed right behind them. Under his scrupulous hunt, Như ý left a suicide note in the middle of the night advising Ðoan Khang and Tiểu Bảo to stop searching for her. They later found pieces of her clothes near the animal's paw steps. Ðoan Khang hand-made a grave for her, and he later jumped off the cliff to avoid Dư Thế Sương's gunshots.
While he was missing, his younger sister (Ðoan Mẫn) worked in a parlor to support the mother. She then fell in love with Dư Thế Sương unawared of the loathing between him and her brother.
To make the long story short, a gentleman rescued Ðoan Khang, so he could come back in town with some power, and his enemy could not harm him. Well, Dư Thế Sương found a different way to torture Ðoan Khang: he intentionally got married to Ðoan Mẫn to split the bro-sis relationship. This irated Ðoan Khang, but he could not persuade his sister that her husband was no good at all because love is blind!
Five years passed, Ðoan Khang still missed Như ý although he knew Tiểu Bảo's feelings the whole time. During an instance that Dư Thế Sương's gang attempted to kill Ðoan Khang, Tiểu Bảo 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 Như ý. Everybody was so shocked, but the singer informed them that she was not Như ý. She became the couple's friend afterwards and even attended their wedding.
During a calendar photo shoot, Tiểu Bảo discovered that the singer was truly Như ý due to the bullet scar on the shoulder, so she must tell Ðoan Khang the "singer"'s real identity. He was completely torn because he already married to Tiểu Bảo. Also, Dư Thế Sương was extremely angry that Như ý was still alive!
So, what's the ending? I don't feel like revealing it.
Since this is a dramatic and long series, many scenes are memorable, especially most of the ones with Như ý and Ðoan Khang. My favorite part would be when the singer appeared, the audience was not sure whether she was really Như ý 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 Ðoan Khang be able to fall in love all over again with her? We all know that this man would never forget his first love!
Felix as Ðoan 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 Ðoan 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 Ðoan 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 Như ý:
Kathy was one of very few actresses who still looked pretty while crying. She cried so much in this series because Như ý was such an unfortunate character. Her royal family collapsed along with the Thanh dynasty. She sacrificed so much for Ðoan 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 Tiểu Bảo:
Jacqueline delivered a brilliant performance as the tom-boy Tiểu Bảo. She grew up in the parlor, and her mother was a prostitute, so she never trusted and/or liked men. She was attracted to Ðoan Khang due to his faithfulness to Như ý. (Who wouldn't?) Her life got so many twists as well: she acted like a boy, talked like a boy and ate like a boy; she got married to a "thái giám" to repay her mother's debt (he later divorced her); although she loved Ðoan Khang 100%, she never got his heart; she knew that Như ý 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 Như ý's true identity. She lost her 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.....
Dư Thế Sương:
I forgot this actor's name, but he was in quite a few HongKong 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 Như ý to love him although she got married to him. I do believe that he loved Ðoan Mẫn at the end because he finally appreciated all of the things that she did for him.
One thing I don't like about the series:
With such a length, the part that Dư Thế Sương 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!"