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Hong Kong
Heroes chinese drama review
29 pessoas acharam esta resenha útil
by PeachBlossomGoddess Finger Heart Award1
Mai 27, 2024
36 of 36 episódios vistos
Completados 18
No geral 8.5
História 8.5
Atuação/Elenco 9.0
Musical 8.5
Voltar a ver 8.0

Three Blind Mice.

The Chinese title of this drama 天行健/Tiān Xíng Jiàn comes from a profound phrase 天行健, 君子以自强不息 from the ancient divination classic I-Ching. Loosely translated, it means in a dynamic world, gentlemen should constantly strive for improvement; to be virtuous. In the context of this drama, it alludes to how three very different individuals struggle for relevance against the overwhelming tide of history.

This production's rich historical and cultural texture has been widely praised by history buffs. The nostalgic opening sequence seamless weaves in scenes from the drama with real footage from that era. It is set in early 1911 which was a pivotal time in modern Chinese history. By then, impoverished by civil strife and foreign incursions, the Qing dynasty was on its last legs. While clearly the time of emperors was ending, China's struggle with what form of government it would adopt went on for almost 40 years. In this story, the court is divided between conservatives (Imperial Household Department) and reformists (Prince Qi); both of whom are trying to preserve some form of constitutional monarchy. Tongmenghui led by Sun Wen (Sun Yat-sen) are rebels who want to do away with the monarchy and go down the path of a democratic republic. The powerful Beiyang Army, (then led by Yuan Shikai, the unnamed fisherman) was a deciding player in Chinese politics right up to 1949 and beyond. At the time, foreign powers including the Japanese, actively meddled in Chinese domestic affairs. Thus while there are indeed too many factions, this accurately depicts the landscape at the time

There is a lot to unpack as this is equally a plot and character driven story. A map leading to a fabled treasure is stolen from the palace. The various factions realize that such a fabulous treasure could make a meaningful difference to the success of their cause. Thus begins a mad dash of a treasure hunt that entangles three individuals who are disenfranchised by the changing times: the personal guard of the deposed Guangxu emperor, a swordsman in the age of guns and a Confucian scholar after the abolition of imperial exams. Can these three blind mice grappling with their own outdated ideals be trusted to see the bigger picture and ensure the treasure ends up in the right hands?

Men Sandao was once the emperor's guard who dared to love a princess. He was imprisoned when the emperor's Hundred Days' Reform failed. Twelve years later, he is freed on the condition he retrieves the fabled treasure that is desperately needed to shore up the national coffers. He is pitted against Zhuo Bufan, the leader of the impoverished Rongtian sect who seeks the treasure as a means to make his sect famous. His nemesis Dagu constable Wang Jialuo doesn't care about the treasure; he just means to hunt down and hold Zhuo Bufan and the Rongtian sect accountable for nine murders in his county. They are all flawed and obsessive characters who are smart yet frustratingly intractable in their beliefs. Even Men Sandao, the fullest and most intriguing character remains true to the only two things that matter to him from the beginning to the end. Similarly, Zhuo Bufan refuses to ditch his cause until his cause abandons him. The greatest zealot is Wang Jialuo, who is the product of everything wrong with the Confucian exam system; a tradition so steeped in rote learning over original thought he is utterly incapable of operating outside of the Qing code.

Men Sandao is Qin Junjie's best role to date, one he delivers with a mastery that matches the stagecraft of the many veteran actors in the cast. The way he habitually held his hands as if they were still in shackles moved me as much as the forlorn tear he shed at Guangxu emperor's grave. His natural chemistry with the rest of the cast elevated the character interactions all around. Despite their conflicting agendas, Men Sandao shared a mutual respect and understanding with Zhuo Bufan and was also able to manage the more difficult Wang Jialuo. I laughed uproariously at how he turned Lucky into his lackey and enjoyed his spirited debates with Liu Lin. I could tell he saw a lot of his younger self in her and their relationship was the one I found most moving. All of the roles that mattered, including the villain roles, were well executed with many memorable scenes featuring Prince Qi, Cunqing and Zhong Haichao. Lin Anjing was the only notable weak link in an otherwise stellar cast.

There is never a dull moment in this well-written screenplay that seamlessly weaves in multiple interlocking character stories into the action and adventure. Told with dark humor, wit and irony, the narrative does not shy away from blood, violence and sudden death. Though a bit a bit heavy on slow motion and close ups, the action scenes are intense and well shot; with the occasional dose of bizarre humor. I laughed hardest at Wang Jialuo's Tarantino like foolish bravado in the face of certain death and his absurd resurrections. But laughter aside, I really didn't much care for him or Zhuo Bufan and their romantic entanglements. The only characters I rooted for were Men Sandao, Gege, Liu Lin and the ubiquitous Lucky with his uncanny knack for popping up just when needed. Though some characters got endings they didn't deserve, the ending overall is quite fitting and not surprising. This is ultimately a dark story, reflective of the times. One of the better dramas of 2024 for me that deserves more attention. I rate this 8.5/10.0.

Scroll down for more detailed spoiler ending thoughts.


I found both Zhuo Bufan and Wang Jialuo's ending very fitting and oddly justified. Make no mistake, Zhuo Bufan was not a great guy. He betrayed many jianghu codes of conduct in his quest for greatness and sacrificed his sect members with callous indifference. It is no wonder they turned on him. He arguably would have never really given up were it not for the fact that the Rongtian sect was no more. He also conveniently forgot he promised Wang Jialuo that he would settle accounts with him and tried to ride off into the sunset after abandoning the treasure hunt. There was so much blood on Zhuo Bufan and Huo Qin’s hands including Wang Jialuo's shifu and the poor, heroic Tan Xian that there had to be consequences. Of course Wang Jialuo was no better and ultimately also betrays his true love and his beloved Qing code in his obsession with closing his case. It is both ironic and fitting that he was his own judge and executioner. It cracked me up that Men Sandao went after him in case for the tenth time he didn’t really die dead.

The most undeserved deaths were those of Lucky and Liu Lin, who were the true heroes of this story. They represented the best, most idealistic and hopeful voices of their movement and the future their world had to change for. Their deaths were not necessary and far more cruel and pointless than telling us that Men Sandao and Gege never reunited after Fujian. In any case, there were no lasting good outcomes for anyone during that time in history. Any survivors would have had to face an ugly 40 years of civil war with Tongmenghui ultimately ending up on the wrong side of history. So it has to be enough that they fought the good fight that led to the movement’s finest moments. RIP Liu Lin and Lucky Hao Han who was definitely a hǎohàn/好汉/good guy but just not that lucky.

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