Luo Xiang, a former narcotics agent, faked his death during an undercover operation. Five years later, he's living under a new name, but needs to pretend to be his old self and once again infiltrate the drug cartel, dealing with his former lover, brothers and enemies, to finally successfully complete the mission and find out who's pulling the strings. (Source: Chinese = 163.com || Translation = Wenxia at MyDramaList) Edit Translation
- magyar / magyar nyelv
- עברית / עִבְרִית
Where to Watch Day Breaker
Cast & Credits
The Dark Path.Day Breaker is a chilling undercover narcotics cop thriller that is part of iQiyi's 2022 Light On Series lineup. The drama is set in the fictional Hua City in a lawless Southeast Asian nation that bears an uncanny resemblance to Thailand. In this made-up world, the country is overrun by drug cartels and the police force is under resourced and susceptible to corruption. This drama has won high praise but it is one that must be watched with eyeballs glued to the screen due to the intense and elaborate plot with myriad twists and mind benders.
Luo Xiang is an undercover narcotics cop pretending to be a mole in a local drug cartel. A planned takedown of a major drug deal goes horribly awry, apparently killing Luo Xiang. He re-emerges five years later as Chen Mo, a taxi driver who is tasked by Liao Yongjia to assume the identity Luo Xiang and reunite with the cartel. Li Yifeng really impresses in this role as someone juggling multiple identities while walking on the edge of discovery. His Luo Xiang has lived a lie as Chen Mo for so long that it is not clear he knows what his reality is, much less his former lover Su Qingzhu or his violent, jacked up cartel brother Longge. Luo Xiang's fascinating and oddly genuine bromance with Longge recalls Li Yifeng's iconic and manipulative performance as double agent Chen Shen in Sparrow. One of my biggest disappointments with Day Breaker is how this relationship was cheated of a satisfying denouement. While not a romance, the subtle longing and painful chemistry of the unspoken behind Luo Xiang's lies in his interactions with Su Qingzhu adds another layer to Li Yifeng's outstanding portrayal. Unfortunately this is another less than great role for Song Yi as Su Qingzhu is another character that is short changed at the end.
Both Feng Delun and Gong Haibin put in highly praiseworthy performances as Liao Yongjia and Yu Shenghai, Chen Mo's handlers in the undercover operation. In a cartel infested place like Hua City, everyone has a price and is forced to walk down the dark path, it is just a matter of to what degree. Thus as Chen Mo watches them wondering if either or both of them were moles that sold out Luo Xiang years ago, they are also testing Chen Mo to see if he is really Luo Xiang. The interplay between these three core characters as their stressors and motivators are revealed is the best, most intense part of the drama. While all three characters delivered riveting performances, it is Gong Haibin's Yu Shenghai that surprised and moved me the most and made me experience everything from rage to pity.
They are too many rival cartels in this drama and too many drug lords. Only two of them - Longge and Song Cai are multi-faceted and interesting. Longge is the ultimate outrageous fictional character, gruesomely and unnervingly violent and bizarrely comical at the same time. His wild affection for and trust in Luo Xiang clouds his survival instincts and innate shrewdness. There is an unpredictability in each of his outbursts that had my heart in my throat many times. Song Cai is also a complex cold blooded killer with his own code of conduct and many moments where his sentimentality and humanity pokes through. Both are too cursorily dealt with and sidelined in favour of less interesting villains.
While A-Xi is adorable and has some really funny scenes with Chen Mo, they were too few and far between. In general, humor is not well used to diffuse the tension in this overly convoluted plot. The drama could have ended at a climax at the end of Yu Shenghai's arc. Instead, the final two episodes rush through a contrived flash bang ending that relies on poorly fleshed out final villains, unnecessary twists and shocking but unworthy outcomes for good, smart characters. While it doesn't completely ruin the drama, this plot demands too much attention for it to sag like this at the end. Thus I must reduce my overall rating from 8.5 to 8.0 but I can still highly recommend it to fans of this genre.
Dark but GoodSo, I just finished watching this drama, and I really liked it. Honestly, to me it was close to perfect, if not for one character specific gripe. But I'll get to that later.
First of all, a warning for the faint-hearted. There's a lot of crime and violence on screen in Day Breaker, sometimes pretty graphic. It's not something I've come to expect when watching c-dramas. It fits the theme, of course. In the world of drug lords, there's lots of deaths, torture, human trafficking, police corruption, and so on. Day Breaker sometimes blends away from the actual action and only shows us the aftermath, but when you have the blown up remains of a human being shown on your screen, that can already be enough. So, better prepare yourself for that.
It makes sense then, that this drama doesn't actually take place in China, but in the fictional Hua City, that's supposedly somewhere in Thailand. Not that they actually say that out loud, but all the writing is in what looks like Thai writing, and the currency they use is Baht. But the regulators wouldn't have allowed the depiction of corrupted police officers in a modern drama otherwise. China is even called, and I quote from the drama: "A safe place, where there are no drugs."
What I like about this drama is the story telling and the characters. The plot is heavy and complicated, and the scenes are put together in a way that makes it difficult to turn your face away from the screen. 30 seconds of distraction can make you miss a vital piece of information. And I love the way information is doled out to the viewers. With every episode, we're given a finite number of puzzle pieces that only reveal a picture in the second half of the drama. And even once you have the beginnings of said picture, it's not quite clear what it actually is showing.
Don't worry, though. All the pieces will come together at some point, and all your questions will be answered. You won't get a final summary, though. I kinda liked that - that means the viewers are treated as intelligent people who can remember names and clues and happenings during those 24 episodes. But it also means this isn't a drama you should take your time watching, because you might forget certain things along the way. Well, unless you'll take copious notes. *g*
Most of the characters are fantastic. Pretty much everybody has more than one identity, and today's friend might be tomorrow's enemy, and vice versa. And all of that might change again. Information about characters' pasts, goals, and motivations gets doled out in the same fashion as the other clues, so you're kept wondering about two of them specifically for a long time. But in the end, everything will come together.
Special shout out to Li Yifeng and his character Chen Mo/Luo Xiang. His is the most complicated part. Playing a henchman to a drug lord, while being an undercover police officer, then playing a down on his luck taxi driver who is still an undercover agent, waiting to be re-recruited to play his former undercover identity, only to make everybody believe that he is actually that taxi driver who saw his chance at a better life and now pretends to be the dead undercover agent - yes, it gets complicated.
Chen Mo/Luo Xiang was very convincing at trying to toe the line between making all the drug lords believe he's one of them, while trying to commit as few crimes as possible and keep to being a police officer. He's shown as being very intelligent and knowledgeable, as a great tactical thinker, and as a compassionate human being.
Last of all, poor Song Yi. Her character could have been really great, but sadly, turned out to be kinda wasted and underused. Not going to say more about that, but she was the reason I didn't give this a 10/10.