Chase the Truth (2023) poster
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 288 users
# of Watchers: 1,697
Reviews: 5 users
Ranked #4639
Popularity #5921
Watchers 288

A decade ago, polyglot police detective Chu Yi Han's mother went undercover to investigate a crime...and never came back. Since then, his only confidant is his “uncle”, as Chu Yi Han continued his search for his mother. Now, he has discovered there may be a chance to rescue her – but the stakes will be impossibly high… He learns that he must infiltrate a powerful crime syndicate known as the Northwestern Wolves – and quickly bring the organization down from inside. As he begins his quest, his path crosses with a dancer named Gu Lin Na, a woman with dangerous family ties to the syndicate. Can Chu Yi Han complete this perilous mission – and does Gu Lin Na hold the key to its success? (Source: Viki) Edit Translation

  • English
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • עברית / עִבְרִית
  • dansk
  • Country: China
  • Type: Drama
  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: Nov 16, 2023 - Nov 23, 2023
  • Aired On: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Original Network: Tencent Video
  • Duration: 35 min.
  • Score: 7.7 (scored by 288 users)
  • Ranked: #4639
  • Popularity: #5921
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated

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Cast & Credits

Reviews

Completed
DramaAjumma
8 people found this review helpful
Nov 26, 2023
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 8.5
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 8.0

No Honour Among Thieves

Screen productions of organized crime stories seem to have enjoyed something of a revival in the past 12 months. And yes, in most instances criminals are actually organised and savvy. More so than the police I might add. But what they lack in spades — is unity. Unfortunately the prospect of untold wealth does that to people. There's little honour among thieves. Which is something of mixed blessing for the cops at least. Wang Ziqi plays Chu Yihan, a young hot head who becomes embroiled with rival factions of the Northwestern Wolves, a powerful cartel once headed by a mysterious figure known as Gu Mulan. Yihan’s mother, Lin Ke also a cop was sent to infiltrate the organisation years earlier but disappeared along with Gu Mulan. Her whereabouts have been a mystery for 5 years. Yihan along with all her former colleagues are eager to find answers and a resolution to the case but his superiors would rather he leave this matter well alone. Su Xiaotong takes a backseat to the cops and gangsters as folk dancer Gu Linnan or Nana. She’s a peripheral figure for most of those early episodes but it’s only a matter of time before she becomes an unwilling eyewitness to how the family business operates.

The Northwestern Wolves were once a force to be reckoned with in the desert region but after a major falling out, every member of the cartel’s leadership went their separate ways. Five years later, one Lao Qiang or "Gun" re-emerges from this low trust environment and what ensues is a cat and mouse game with Yihan and the police right in the middle of the hot zone. Yihan’s mentors and superiors are leery about having him in the hot seat for a whole range of reasons but he is adamant and honestly they don’t have that many options. Wang Ziqi is definitely firing on all cylinders in a role quite different to the one he played in The Imperial Coroner. He would have to as he's surrounded by veterans. Yihan's a bit of a maverick among his peers but shines as an undercover cop. He’s a one-man fighting machine, a cut above most. But more importantly he's quick on his feet (literally and idiomatically), is capable of making stuff up as he goes and adapt accordingly. He's certainly got the swagger and bravado down pat for the role. His superiors are constantly in fear for his life and the guilt they feel about his mother’s absence is acute.

The set-up for his character and relationships with all the men who are potential paternal figures is done in a series of fast-moving action sequences. They’re after a hit man known as Long Qi and his trail leads the cops to a small eatery somewhere among the rocks sand dunes. The road to an arrest in a cop show is seldom smooth sailing. So Yihan and Long Qi are locked into one confrontation after another till he’s safely behind lock and key at HQ’s interrogation room. Yihan is close to Cheng Fan who is his father figure in the force — the man who practically raised him when his mother went deep undercover. He was also his mother’s handler. Cheng Fan has a serious heart issue -- a consequence of a bomb blast. During an investigation into some trouble that Nana encounters, he collapses.

Romance is side dish here and anyone who wants to watch this for that may end up feeling unsatiated. However, that is not to say that romance is unimportant. Instead it is spread thin and works differently within the narrative. Yihan and Nana have more of a fledgling relationship littered by obstacles due to background differences. It feels doomed to be over before it starts. Cheng Fan is pursuing marriage with Mu Xiaowan, a doctor at the local hospital who is also a single mother. Sha Xiaofei, the son of "Gun" is in a very passionate relationship with Yiy, who should be on a catwalk rather than rubbing shoulders with gangsters. In fact, it is fascinating that none of the key females here really fit the milieu. They are inadvertently dragged into the fray because of family or men in their lives. Yet, they have a strong presence in the story because they are positioned as reminders of what normality looks as opposed to violence and the illegal accumulation of wealth.

So what is this show about? On one level it is a treasure hunt. The cat and mouse game is largely over a warehouse of arms and the cartel's long lost booty. That part of the show with the scheming, double-crossing and table-turning reminds me of the US TV show Justified. It's a race to who can decipher the clues to find the loot. On another level, it is a story about family. More specifically a story about two young people who are "chasing for the truth" ie. in pursuit of the past. Nana is looking for her father while Yihan is looking for his mother. It isn't a straightforward road as they disentangle the truth from lies, half-truths and breadcrumbs. There's something of a Rushmon angle to it. Thirdly, it is a morality tale about the corrupting power of greed and its consequences not just on the perpetrators but the people who love them who get caught in the crossfire.

The great thing about this show is that everything that happens matters. The plotting is good. There are no over long stretches of dialogue that go nowhere. Or unnecessary flashbacks. It’s almost shocking that there’s no filler and the impact on the pacing is palpable. Even when I wonder if a scene or a character seems irrelevant, the story eventually arrives at an explanation. The storytelling is reasonably good. The actors are excellent. The collective experiences of the older actors in particular bring some gravitas to some obviously staged moments. Especially the men who are/were part of the Northwestern Wolves in some shape or form.

What's perhaps not as good are the production values. The budgetary constraints are obvious for the most part. There are plenty of desert car chases but no helicopters in sight. I'm not sure about the logistics of all that. But I forgive it shortcomings because I'm used to watching old tv shows and movies. And I'm quite partial to the hand-to-hand fight sequences here as well. No doubt in this kind of action adventure romp that there are occasions when suspension of disbelief is certainly required.

In the final analysis this show is a blast. Each episode is better than the last. It’s a joy for a seasoned watcher of crime telly to be caught off guard now and again but be thoroughly entertained. There’s a certain degree of unpredictability and all kinds of beautiful craziness arise when the cops and mobsters collide.

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Completed
Potato Chip
2 people found this review helpful
Dec 7, 2023
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 9.0

Modern Wuxia. Fun, action-packed ride with great character relationships. Don't expect romance.

Modern Wuxia. Gravity defying fights. Secret sect with masterminds vying for power. Cipher leading to ancient hidden treasure. Smart colorful villains and grey wild card characters. All lead by a young orphaned man on a quest to find his mother and uphold justice in this world.

Chu Yi Han (Wang Zi Qi) has 3 days to go into the Northwest Wolf den to rescue his mother and bring down the crime syndicate. Insanely skilled in combat, versed in 4 languages, unconventional adaptation abilities, unwavering drive, he is the best police candidate. He is the worst undercover agent. "Do killers have such nice skin?" Everyone knew he was sus. Even better, he knew they knew. But they didn't know who he worked for. Leveraging this confusion, in an intriguing cat-and-mouse game, Chu Yi Han, deftly avoided death, prolonged the timeline, getting closer and closer to his goals.

This isn't a tale of a brash, lone wolf overcoming a succession line of one bland big boss after the other. Rather, a traumatized cub, supported and nurtured by a his pack, fighting together against a well-integrated kingdom of brilliant, layered humans. Humans with understandable motives and fears, with enemies and loved ones. A fantastic balance of cliffhangers, unexpected humor, familial relationships deeper than blood, and tears.

Our hero "leaves the mountain" and is thrusted into the dark underworld. This is an action drama, not an investigative mystery. The biggest unknown is whether the charismatic smiling person facing him will kill him today or tomorrow. His North Star is the support of his 3 fathers, his best friend, and the belief that his mother is out there waiting for him.

The production company, Jebsen, while known for excellent professional police and uniformed dramas, romance tends to be a cold side dish instead of the showy main course. Do not expect romance! Do not expect romance! Skip the next paragraph so that you do not expect romance. XD

Perhaps, because I wasn't looking for romance is how I got it in spades. This is is the 2nd cooperation between the leads of The Imperial Coroner, Wang Zi Qi and Su Xiao Tong (Gu Lin Na). Our CP are too busy trying to stay alive to have any interactions. Finally, they have real scenes in Episode 12. Admittedly, it may be my love for their past lives, but I felt a synergistic, fated, star-crossed love between them. "Can I be your friend?" met with his silence. Ah, the tragedy. Chu Chu became Na Na, Wang Ye became Officer Chu. Her surname became his. This love is highly YMMV. But once it hits, each moment is full of longing. Their beauty is in the unspoken, having the blank space to fill the void with lost potential.

Chase The Truth is the 2nd of 5 planned serial dramas by Director/Screenwriter Zhao Junkai. He is great at choosing fantastic actors to bring his visions to life. Because I liked these characters and performances so much, here they are in detail XD:

Chu Yi Han (Wang Zi Qi). In a cast of well-acquainted veterans, our lead is able to hold his own. WZQ's strength is being malleable, bringing freshness to each character. He was in 5 dramas this year, 5 different genres, 5 characters different from each other and from himself. He went from Chu Yi Han to Xin Qi the next day. There are rough edges, but his subtle charisma, detail design, and ability to have natural chemistry with each actor make the performances engaging. And Chu Yi Han is several characters in one. Upright cop, deceptive gangsta, filial son/grandson, bratty nephew/disciple, controlled & repressed emotionally, volatile maniac, shy & hesitant-in-love puppy, flirty and sexy wolf. Seamless. On a primal level, it is FUN to watch him beat people up. But then you cry with him as he becomes a lost little boy. The tears and sobs hit as powerfully as his kicks. He is the soul and each interaction propels the story.

Uncle Cheng Fan (Tian Yu) became Chu Yi Han's primary father figure when his mother, Lin Ke, went undercover 10 years ago. His sloppy, frivolous, joking appearance deceives his opponents, allowing him to get into their minds and overpower them psychologically. This is Tian Yu's comfort zone, but he is always impressive. His interrogation of serial killer Long Qi and his scenes in Episode 24 are masterful. It is his warm, bickering, protective relationship with Yi Han that is the core of the drama. I could watch 100 of their home scenes. Cheng Fan nags, Yi Han scoffs, Cheng Fan tells long-winded story, Yi Han is amused, Cheng Fan lies, Yi Han busts him, Cheng Fan almost kills his ward, Yi Han adds another survival technique to his toolbelt. Hahaha. That is their relationship.

On the flip side, Chu Yi Han is always reverent to Chief Tai Yong Zhong (Du Yuan). A role that can easily be underappreciated, Chief Tai is the patriarch, Cheng Fan's and Duan Qing's Shi fu. He is caring, strategic, and embodies a conflicted leader who has to send his people into danger. A quiet strength, it is unquestionable how he became Chief. He is fatherly to Cheng Fan and grandfatherly to Yi Han. Yi Han is softer with him. The Chief's hesitation and doting smile show how much he loves this kid. Powerhouse actor, probably the best that I have seen in this type of role in recent years, he gave me unexpected tearful moments.

Sha Xiao Fei (Zhao Xun) is Chu Yi Han's underworld boss and punching bag. An odd couple, enemies to begrudgingly respected allies, every scene with Yi Han is exhilarating. Insanely magnetic, Zhao Xun is the best actor of the younger than 40 group. His Xiao Fei is mercurial but has a tragic vulnerability that makes you root for him. The romance with equally explosive Yi Yi (Fu Mei, who is captivating) is beautiful. One of the drama's best storylines is his arc with his father. I applaud the details, on-point emotions, logical but oft-not taken resolution.

Lao Qiang (Xia Huo Bin) is Xiao Fei's father. A paranoid, shrewd, manic depressive who should have been a psychiatrist in another life. Soft spoken with tension, the most ruthless villain, a perverse mentor/mentee relationship, his chess game with Yi Han is fascinating to watch.

Pei Yin (Xu Hong Hao) is our dastardly, romantic villain who gets under Yi Han's skin by dangling his mother's reunion and anointing himself "The Stepfather". Xu Hong Hao is theatrical, humorous and skirts the border of cartoonish but somehow comes out as controlled, calculating and menacing. Cute and icky, he amuses me and sends spine shivers each time he calls Yi Han "my son".

Yi Han can not measure up to his mother, Lin Ke (Liu Wei Wei), a brilliant undercover officer, stronger than all men in brains, combat and resilience. She didn't have many lines, but we instantly felt her connection to her son and pack. The way Xiao Fei spoke of her fondly, we knew she is worthy of admiration.

Tang Xiao Tian had the perfect guest role, Yu Da Luo. All guests should be like him. Lovable, observant, loyal and funny. He wasn't a tool character, his presence was felt throughout the entire drama. And yes, his bromance chemistry with Yi Han is sizzling.

In a BTS video when Yi Han was at the Wolf Den, someone asked why Long Qi was let out of jail for that scene. Uh, that's because the serial killer twins, Long Qi and Long Ba, were played by the second director, Hou Ji. Isn't that amazing?

Of course, this drama had areas that could be improved.

1. Image quality. Set your screen to max brightness. Perhaps it is the desert sand, but picture can be fuzzy. Furniture and set design fit the theme but are eye-sores. Italian Western Restaurant. Nuff said.
2. Choppy editing. Flashbacks are used to fill in suspense, but they may break the flow or add confusion.
3. Music. The OSTs weren't bad, just underutilized.
4. Suspended disbelief. The stunts are awesome but incredulous, best viewed as Wuxia fantasy. The Duracell Bunny technology powering the wide range listening devices is Matrix level.
5. Draggy exposition scenes. There were times that the audience already learned something, but the police must rehash that knowledge so that we know they know.
6. A couple of the Wolves were played by less dynamic actors. It is hard for everyone to be amazing, but they distracted from the story.
7. The romance. While it worked for me, for most it is unlikely to be enough. The timing of the romance talk in the later episodes also seemed out-of-place, but I will take my crumbs.

Besides the acting, 3 dimensional characters, & relationships mentioned above, there are so many good moments and strengths.

1. Well-designed structure. Instead of a linear progression of air-dropped baddies like other dramas, by having the Wolves be numbered (#1-7) like a traditional family, they became familiar to us and integrated in the story from the beginning. We anxiously anticipated their arrival and dynamics. Power shifted between players and it was interesting to see the last one standing.
2. Symbolism and literature add a bit of poetry to the masculine action drama. The lone wolf and wolf pack. Hints of Shakespearean tragedies like Romeo and Juliet with fated, star-crossed lovers without the foolishness and Julius Caesar, a tyrant betrayed by his brothers. A homage to Jin Yong, regarded as the greatest Wuxia writer ever, by testing the audience with his least known work. And literary classic, Water Margin.
3. The pacing is fast, like a roller-coaster, thrilling and fun, lots of upside down loop-de-loops with episodes 12 & 24 being the heart in your throat, deathly drops.
4. Strong women were present in this male-dominated genre. Na Na, the unknowing princess of the underworld, courageously defended her loved ones. Su Xiao Tong was moving in Na Na's first phone call with her father and her breakdown scenes. Yiyi was not a typical shallow mob girlfriend. She was devoted and fierce. And Dr. Mu (Yang Shu) was an equal partner to Cheng Fan in their mature, comfortable relationship.
5. Qiao Dan is a sleepy cutie and Captain Duan a tough, straight grouch.
6. The OST had a nostalgic feel. Su Xiao Tong's song was wistful and sweet.
7. The romance! If this was to your taste, it stimulated all the senses. Xiao Fei and Yiyi were salty and spicy. Yi Han and Na Na were a subtle, perfect balance of bitter and sweet, with lingering umami.

My fun/memorable scenes:
- All of Cheng Fan and Yi Han's home scenes
- Anytime Chu Yi Han beat Xiao Fei
- "Can I?"
- "Sorry. I may have hit him a bit hard."
- "I am lustful, OK?"
- Suspension Bridge Effect explains half of C-Drama romances 😂
- Cheng Fan and Yi Han, last episode.
- "Shi Fu"
- The last line of the drama, a clever, perfect ending. Simplicity expressing great depth.

If you made it this far in the review, I hope you check this one out. It's an easy watch with lots of fun and heart-warming moments.

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Details

  • Drama: Chase the Truth
  • Country: China
  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: Nov 16, 2023 - Nov 23, 2023
  • Aired On: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Original Network: Tencent Video
  • Duration: 35 min.
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated

Statistics

  • Score: 7.7 (scored by 288 users)
  • Ranked: #4639
  • Popularity: #5921
  • Watchers: 1,697

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