Completed
PeachBlossomGoddess
18 people found this review helpful
Jun 7, 2022
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 8
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.5

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.

Read More

Was this review helpful to you?
Completed
Dancing Serpent
13 people found this review helpful
Jun 6, 2022
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 10

Dark but Good

So, 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.

Read More

Was this review helpful to you?
Completed
Just me
5 people found this review helpful
Jun 6, 2022
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 8.5

Drugs aren't it

I started the first episode just to get a feel of things then I found myself saying just one more episode. It is simply captivating, from the characters to the scenes even to the dialogue. Like everyone is clever like actually clever. Everyone is thinking steps ahead of their original plan. No one is who they say they are, I found myself having to reevaluate every character after each scene, got to the point that I had to watch a scene a couple of times. This show made me question my case solving skills.

The story flows well, it is fast pace and it doesn't feel rushed. No scene is unnecessarily wasted and that kept me engaged. The acting is great, everyone was able to pull off the layers that their characters demended. Everyone was just double crossing each other, it was hard to find who was actually "good" and who could be trusted expect for the ML, FL and A Xi. Others were either grey, very grey or just down right wicked. They were well written and I liked how everyone had sense...to some extent and the fact that the females weren't used as unnecessary characters. Everyone badass in their own way.

As for the romance, its definitely not the focus but the tension and chemistry between them is wild. I had little expectations for Liu yi feng and he surprised me in a good way. Long ge's mind is wired different, the man loved his crazy ideas and how they were executed.

The only thing that threw me off was the ending, not what i imagined at all.

Read More

Was this review helpful to you?
Completed
Wenxia
5 people found this review helpful
Jun 6, 2022
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
If you like your drama served wrapped in three layers of deception and steeped in a scheming sauce… Bon appetit!

This will be short, because I already talked myself out on the comments page. I'd just like to summarise quickly why this drama caught and held my attention despite it not being my usual genre:

1. Overabundance of creativity and bold ideas. Honestly, not a single boring cliché on the horizon. Every character has a distinct personality and style. The action takes place in an interesting fictional city where nothing is what it seems. The storyline packs an insane amount of clever schemes and challenging plot points, balanced with funny or unexpectedly moving moments.

2. Original premise/script with a host of very well-written characters. Two things about the writing really stood out to me:
1) logical and undisturbed flow despite people constantly lying and messing with each other, ever changing loyalties and multiple schemes playing out at the same time.
2) three-dimensional characters and complex believable relationships. The writers let us learn about their pasts/goals/hopes/mistakes/regrets in little bits and pieces over the course of the 24 episodes. It really ropes you in and gets you emotionally engaged by degrees.

3. Dark humour<3 mainly courtesy of one inspirational, stylish, clever, audacious, mercurial, murderous maniac named Liang Long!

4. Keeping my mind and emotions fully engaged! I'm emphasising this as it's pretty rare for me - my mind loves to wander and the rest is cynical to the bone;)
This drama moves at an insanely fast pace that barely allows you to blink, in case you miss sth. At the same time, keeping it real when it comes to people, their struggles and life stories unexpectedly squeezed a lot of genuine emotion out of me. Especially since most of the characters' arcs get tied up in a way that packs an emotional punch.

5. Top-tier direction and cinematography - a great mix of fresh ideas and experience. I liked the mind-gaming narration with contradictory hints, that kept challenging my perception of who each character was and what they're capable of. Loved the amazing locations, spectacle-oriented action sequences and hyperkinetic editing. The story flows pretty seamlessly for the first half …by the time the intensity picks up and the plot goes on a mind-bending trip you're already too deep to back out;))

Tbh I'm not sure if this deserves a 9 but that's what I'm giving it anyway - and not just for the fact that I took two hours off work to watch the finale …though how many dramas make you want to do that?;)
I was wondering if I should mention some flaws too. Because there were parts (few) that felt anticlimactic or just plain frustrating… But I don't really care about those at the moment. So let this be my most biased review to date:))

PS: Endings in c-dramaland suck, just saying...

Read More

Was this review helpful to you?
Completed
michelia
4 people found this review helpful
Jun 6, 2022
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 10

Amazing

This series is really good. how they pick the cast, the town setting, the cinematography, shoot and blasts also their style and fashion.

The Hua city is an imaginary town but I feel that those characters really exist as Hua city's citizens. The film setting is like Hong Kong 80-90 movie around Borneo area with Thai Language.

The story is well written. It seems mixed of several idea of different head but it make the story interesting and unpredictable.

The team really smart to cast Liang Long. He is amazing drug dealer with personality. His hair style and thin face make him really like a real drug addict.
And Yu Shanghai. He makes the viewers annoyed with him because his unwanted evil things and turned out he is one of the hero/anti hero in the end of his story.
And our main character, Luo Xiang have really nice neck with those shirts.
All cast act really on point.

I hope this will be a standard to make another crime detectives series in the future.

Read More

Was this review helpful to you?
Completed
ajoke
2 people found this review helpful
Jun 10, 2022
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.0

Dark Night Walker: people who walks in the Dark

took me a few days to write this review as I don't even know where to begin with----
Day Breaker is a 24-episode brain-burning drama filled with characters with multiple identities that can be highly fictional yet human in a fictional Hua city suffering from DRUGs pollution.

I could best describe this drama as "what you are seeing is not the truth but it is also the truth" as all these characters hinted their true self in disguise which makes you crazy about "who is who".
(spoiler:) everyone is who you think they are in your mind -:- everyone is equally bad and good in their own way, one of my biggest appreciation is how the writer makes us question good and bad while ending up making them in between good and bad. most characters have a reason for everything they do and who they are, which makes each closure of most characters a pitiful and deep one(excluding the characters' closure of ep 23-24)

Li Yi Feng, Stephen Fung, Samuel Gu Bin, and Gong Hai Bin did a very good job portraying their characters as the leading men, this is also liyifeng good reputation resurrection this year!
Song Yi my beautiful woman also did a very good job portraying her character even though it is a pity she had little screen time and her character wasn't used to max despite it having so much great potential (i guess male-centric drama things!) but it wasn't extremely bad (could have been better).

yeah I know it is a crime drama but I hate how the chemistry between Li Yi Feng and Song Yi characters wasn't used. so many emotions, and affections that they just couldn't justify
and I also dislike how Chen Mo/ Luo Xiang is written in a way he wouldn't have any real emotional feelings/attachment toward people, that is quite too fictional for my liking

although I should have rated this 8.0 because the ending made me angry, I just think 8.5 is good because I had an interesting and fun ride watching this drama
I definitely recommend this drama it is among the good crime dramas out there, especially in the police/drugs suspense genre.

do know that this drama is in no way perfect as it has its flaws but those flaws couldn't stop this drama from being enjoyable and good!

Day Breaker definitely lighted on this year!

Read More

Was this review helpful to you?
Completed
DramaAjumma
2 people found this review helpful
Jun 9, 2022
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
This review may contain spoilers

The Broad Road to Perdition

While this drama gives the appearance of being a convoluted ensemble of vested interests and hidden motivations, at its heart is a run-of-the-mill morality tale about the slippery slope descent into evil. The deliberate use of flashbacks and the continuously shifting points of view creates the illusion that this is a far more complex story than it is.  In fact, when boiled to its essence, it is rather a  straightforward character driven tale of woe. This is made more obvious by the show’s ending where the youngest member of the cast poses the question to her father — “What sort of world would it be if there were no drugs?”. In a bid to answer that question, the show’s protagonist casts his imagination over to an alternate universe where enemies amicably sit across tables sipping tea and playing chess as friends. Heroism is no cynical ploy and trust is genuinely possible. No one would disagree that a world without drugs could be a far less violent one. This is Luo Xiang’s utopian vision of a drug-free where former foes hold hands and sing kumbaya in harmony. Like all utopias, it’s a pipe dream that assumes that a radical change of circumstances would lead to a change of the heart. Indeed, history proves that the opposite is true. Solzhenitsyn’s famous line about the line that separating good and evil passes through the heart reverberates everywhere here.

It’s a completely unnecessary (if schmaltzy) appendage to the finale because the drama itself makes a credible case for Solzhenitsyn’s thesis through much of the storytelling. Drugs are almost irrelevant as any kind of rationale for the insidiousness of evil. Barely anyone who trades in it, is also a consumer of it. Instead it is a commodity (as well as a powerful weapon) and almost always a means to an end. It’s mostly about amassing power, sometimes about control and certainly always about greed.

Almost everything about this story begins 5 years earlier — a disastrous attempt by the police to bring down the most powerful drug lords in the business. Mistakes were made and men under the pressure of the moment crossed lines that should never have been crossed — choices once committed to would haunt them forever. Drug trafficking is the mechanism that binds them all together in sordid fashion but it’s the corruptible human soul gripped by fear that destroys even the best of men.

It is through the lenses of three men that the pivotal event and what ensues is constantly being translated or interpreted . First of all there’s the show’s protagonist Luo Xiang (Li Yifei) the idealistic cop who is in it for the long haul. He goes undercover for an extended period of time and remains largely untouched by the vast array of temptations on offer. Despite all the trappings of power and wealth on display, Luo Xiang is unmoved and soldiers on in his quest to rid Hua City of the dregs. The darkness though surrounds him, never overwhelms him. He is steadfastly single-minded about his mission to the point of denying himself a chance to rekindle a romance from the past. He pays a high price for his dedication but he never loses his soul to achieve his ends. He is at the tip of the spear but manages to avoid impaling on it.

The other personality that dominates the story is Liao Yongjia (Stephen Fung) whose intentions are seldom clear. A highly regarded criminal investigator, Liao Yongjia is a man with far too many secrets and hidden agendas to be completely trustworthy. He might see himself as the man with the plan pulling the strings but there are forces outside his control for which he is compelled to respond to at any time. All of that inadvertently reveal him to be a far more ruthless operator than meets the eye. 5 years ago was a catastrophe for a man who prided himself on being a diligent cop.

Yu Shenghai (Gong Haibin), is yet another police officer whose conduct is dubious to say the least. At some level the show paints him as victim as well as a perpetrator. The audience’s perspective on him shifts continuously over the course of the story as the unseen forces of evil persistently know which buttons to push. His road is one paved with many so-called good intentions but it can only lead to one destination. Guilt and shame accompany him as he wrestles with the puppet masters who tug at his strings while he tries desperately to sever all ties that weigh him down.

The intersection of these three paths is what makes the entire show more than just a police procedural and a shoot-up fest. The rogues gallery is a long one indeed and not unexpectedly there are people from both sides of the law that find their picture there. Public persona is just that and no guarantee that the man or woman who dons the uniform will uphold the law if it doesn’t suit. In fact, the uniform might just be the cover needed to trespass the law with impunity and the means to get away with murder most foul.

There's little doubting the calibre of the cast in general. There's no moustache twirling in sight. Even the why-is-there-a-cute-kid-here holds her own when the director is deigned to trot her out. Maybe it's about ramping up the stakes. Maybe it's the odd reprieve from all the plotting and scheming. Maybe it's the reminder that Luo Xiang needs to stay on the straight and narrow if he wants to build that better world he dreams of when he's not dodging bullets and making deals with the unsavoury types.

Read More

Was this review helpful to you?
Completed
Autumn5Fairy
1 people found this review helpful
Jun 24, 2022
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.5
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
This review may contain spoilers

So much betrayal

Ok, so I would like to start by saying that I liked this drama, but not for the normal reasons. Morally grey character? yes. But quality of the story? That was questionable.

The entire cat and mouse game kept going in circles. "I am Luo Xiang. I am not Luo Xiang. I am Luo Xiang." Furthermore, the story was not fleshed out at certain points. It felt rushed. The part where Su Qing died was a really good example of such. She was shot and it suddenly ended. I want to know more about his little kid (i forgot her name) because she was def one of my favorite characters.

Also, why does everyone suddenly trust everyone? Like you were already betrayed so many times??? And you still decide to trust them? Officer Yu was obviously evil, and then suddenly turns good, then bad again. It was just really confusing to follow who was the "good guys." Everything seemed to fall into place too easy. The villian being outsmarted, then the hero being outsmarted. Like the transmitter just existing there at the end of the story from the previous visit, that was a little bit to easy for the hero.

The acting was also shaky at some points. I was not fully convinced of Luo Xiang actually liking Su Qing. I get that there was no romance tag, but they supposedly were engaged.

What I did like was the action and scheming. Sometimes it did catch me off gaurd, but I was so confused on the villian's relationship to one another. Even now, as I am writing this, I remain a little confused. (That is probably why I would not watch it again)

The ending was bitter sweet. I was disappointed that Su Qing died, but it made sense for the plot. With the problematic behavior of drugs, Officer Liao would end up alone trying to fight for what he believed was right.

Overall: Corruption, a lot of action, and semi-satisfying demise of all the villians and a few heros :(

Read More

Was this review helpful to you?
Completed
DirtyChicken
1 people found this review helpful
Jun 10, 2022
24 of 24 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 5.0
Story 5.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
This review may contain spoilers

Disappointing and weak writing.

Trailer looked good and so did the first few episodes. Lots of potential to become a solid drama; great storyline to start but quickly becomes convoluted, long winded and then eventually fails into obscurity.

Acting was good, really enjoyed the acting from the cast and that was one of the reasons it kept me watching to then end.

Storyline, as mentioned initially was good but quickly become convoluted and then quite weak to be honest. Personally was disappointed as I felt they could've done a lot more to develop Song Yi's character - Su Qing Zhu as well her relationship with Li Yi Feng - Luo Xiang. Not even sure the point of her character as her contributions weren't necessarily useful and really, meaningless in many of the scenes. I understand the need for a lead female character, however, in this case, I personally felt she wasn't needed given the outcome of the drama and just the overall lack of direction and character development for her. This goes the same for many of the characters to be honest.

Certain areas of the story had a lot of potential to develop the series into a strong drama, however, those plot lines quickly fizzled out while other areas just kept going on and on and on. Closure in some areas, while other areas were left open such as with Samuel Gu's character Liang Long and Song Yi Xing's character Zhang Xin Yao. Not even sure what the point of Song Yi Xing's character was to be honest besides as a baby sitter? Again, lots of potential here for these two characters as well, but they seemingly became pointless as the drama progressed and at times, even annoying and contributing to a lot of wasted screen time.

Overall I was disappointed to be honest. Not what I expected and just a lot of overall weak writing in many many areas. Drama should've ended at episode 22, however, went on for another 2 episodes contributing to nothing and ending in disappointment. I would've been happy with the same ending if they had developed a better story line for the characters and the drama as a whole to make it meaningful. Even if they spent the last 2 episodes providing closure to more of the characters I think that would've contributed to a stronger series.

I felt like the writers started strong but became lazy part way through and just rushed everything after the start of the series. It was similar to GoT where you have a strong start of the series but it slowly and steadily starts to go down from there until you're left with a giant what the heck in the end.

Anyway, I'd personally pass on this series.

Read More

Was this review helpful to you?
Ongoing 5/24
S Q
0 people found this review helpful
Jan 12, 2024
5 of 24 episodes seen
Ongoing 0
Overall 7.5
Story 6.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 6.0

a total mess

I can see how the director wanted to make this deep and layered and whatever, but it ended up a total mess! Not to mention that these - many - chinese names can be difficult to remember for us non-asian viewers. I found myself lost not just once either with the action, or with the names, and the PACE is not to blame, since it's QUITE SLOW for an action movie...
The ML is handsome and a fine actor, BUT the plot doesnt favour him. Past and Present ML are hard to tell, since the modern ML wears such 80's outfits! Besides, as said, the action is a total mess, you never know who is gonna die next or who plots what. The few women around - all seem to like our ML, but he acts coy, while all men want to fight the ML!! Besides, the director ABUSES THE FLASHBACK TECHNIQUE, to the point we get TWO MOVIES, one in the open, one in the dark. Tsk tsk! Can you just let us immerse in the action without any interruption?
Sadly i consider dropping this, though i really wanted to enjoy some good action drama!

Read More

Was this review helpful to you?
Day Breaker (2022) poster

Details

Statistics

  • Score: 7.9 (scored by 416 users)
  • Ranked: #3235
  • Popularity: #5877
  • Watchers: 1,726

Top Contributors

57 edits
43 edits
43 edits
34 edits

Popular Lists

Related lists from users
Nail Biters & Whodunits
399 titles 352 loves
Crime/Politial Dramas
341 titles 144 loves
Chinese Dramas of 2022 !
463 titles 83 loves 2

Recently Watched By