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by dramarian on September 21, 2017
4.8K 25

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He is probably one of the greatest Taiwanese actors of his generation. If we make the worth of his acting awards as the number 1 criteria to be considered the "greatest", then he probably is the greatest. Turning 33 this September, and with only 8 years in his acting career, Mark Chao has already won a Golden Bell for his first ever drama and a Best New Performer award for his first movie ever. Crazily talented, right?! And this is why I wrote this guide because more people should see his works. His works will definitely leave a Mark on you! Join me as I go along his fruitful journey in his acting career.


DRAMAS

Black & White (2009)

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A police-action drama with Vic Zhou and Mark as Ying Xiong (literally translates to hero) as the top-performing police officers who were unexpectedly paired. They may be different in all aspects but they had to move all differences aside in order to bust crimes which have been plaguing the entire nation. Mark's role may not have been as interesting as Vic's character as his character was too serious. He only sees things as either black or white and upholds justice that everyone deserves. If I were to find his literary character counterpart, it would have to be Javert from Les Miserables.

Many people were disappointed that Vic didn't win the Golden Bell and I was too but I thought that Mark deserved it too because he played the role excellently. It was his first ever acting stint and yet he won such a prestigious award already. This drama remains to be one of the few brilliant Taiwanese dramas out there and I have to thank my dearest Jerry Yan for rejecting the role of Ying Xiong or we may have never known Mark through this amazing drama.

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Eternal Love (2017)

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OHMYDRAMAGOODNESS! Where and how do I even start? One of the biggest hits of C-dramaland this year and got me out of my drama slump, too. If acting is an art, then acting two characters in a drama should be a masterpiece. Mark did just that as both Ye Hua and Mo Yuan, one is helplessly devoted to love but still responsible enough to be the Crown Prince while the other one is matured, wise, and cares very deeply about his people.

After eight long years since his acting debut, Mark decided to act in a drama again and as his first Chinese drama, too. He also had a sizzling chemistry with his co-star Yang Mi here, but too bad they are both married to other people already, haha! The Chinese audience didn't think he was handsome or worthy enough to play the role of Ye Hua and they all ate their words right away when they watched him act so well. Way to go, Mark! Looking at just the two dramas that he made, you could say that he definitely has an excellent drama streak and it only proves that quality really matters more than quantity. I wonder what's in store for his drama career but I will definitely wait even if it means waiting after eight years again (but please don't take this long again!).

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FILMS

Monga (2010)

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A critically-acclaimed Taiwanese film, I initially watched this film because of my love for Ethan Ruan. However, I got to discover Mark through this film and I followed his career ever since. He played the role of Mosquito, an innocent young man who got into a huge mess due to a very shallow conflict. He then became a neophyte in the gang of Ethan's character.

Ethan may have won a Golden Horse for his acting here but I found Mark's acting as more outstanding. He did not remain unrecognized for it as he won the Best New Performer award at the Asian Film Awards and for his first film at that! I will not watch this movie again as it deals with serious and heavy issues such as betrayals and killings that I had to watch something light after. It is truly not for weak hearts but still a great watch and I will have to thank this film for introducing me to Mark.

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Black & White Episode 1: The Dawn of Assault (2012)

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One would think that this is the sequel to Mark's first drama, Black & White but it definitely isn’t one. It’s more of a prequel, a time when Mark's Ying Xiong existed without Pi Zi (played by Vic Zhou). but paired up with another unlikely partner in Huang Bo. Vic was such a killjoy when he did not want to take part in this movie anymore but at least we still got a movie and Mark was more than willing to reprise his role.

This film was poorly written and the characters were such a letdown, a far cry from the drama which was known to have a brilliant story and well-developed characters. Despite all of that, it was still a decent and heart-stopping action film and it just affirmed my love for Mark as his role as Ying Xiong has always been heroic even before the drama.

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LOVE (2012)

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This is basically the Taiwanese film industry's answer to Hollywood's Love Actually and Valentine's Day. Of course, LOVE is a thousand times better and this is one of my favourite works of Mark. There were a lot of other stories but his love line with Vicki Zhao (also one of my faves) was the most entertaining for me. He played the role of a Taiwanese businessman in China while Vicki played a single mom who works as a real estate agent. She swore to herself that she would never fall for the tricks of Taiwanese men again after getting her heart broken. But it will surely be an impossible mission when you have Mark as an extremely good-looking businessman wanting to rent some places from you.

Rom-com is my favourite genre especially in movies so this was definitely a delight to watch not only because of Mark and Vicki's story line but also because of the other actors in it. This film just proved that Mark can make you fall in love with him again and again since his charms here could kill you!

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First Time (2012)

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This is Mark and Angelababy's second film collaboration and probably the best one too. I said so many things about this movie already when I wrote a Stalker's Guide for Angelababy here two years ago. First Time is my favourite film of Mark and it is one of the best Chinese films I have ever watched. It is part of my most recommended list whenever someone would ask me for some recommendations. 

Mark's role here was a bit of the bad boy type who was into his band but also dropped everything to take care of his great love who was suffering from a terminal illness. Just talking about this film makes me want to watch it again already (and I just might tonight haha!). Aside from the beautifully written story, it's a must-watch because it also showcased Mark's talent in music. He sang a very sad song which is one of the film's OSTs, "Cry Like A Little Boy" and a swoon-worthy rendition of "Stand By Me" that I don't even recall how many times I've watched the clip of his performance already. In a nutshell, just go watch this film and it will change your life!

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So Young (2013)

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Mark was lucky enough to be the lead actor in one of China’s top-grossing films in such a short span of time and also this success was the directorial debut of his LOVE co-star Vicki Zhao. There were times when random story lines would enter and you’d get confused about them but what was beautiful here was the fact that everything eventually made sense in the end. 

This is not one of my favourite works of his in terms of the story but I still very much liked his acting here. His role of a hopeful young man who had a lot of dreams got crushed when he was abandoned by his true love. This film showcased his emotions perfectly and it just showed that this man has unbeatable acting chops.

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Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (2013)

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This film is literally a mash-up of Chinese history and a mythical tale. Set during the Qing dynasty, the people of China have become cautious of a mysterious sea creature who would randomly attack and destroy their towns and cities.

This is my least favourite of Mark as I found it either too boring for my taste or I was just too sleepy when I watched it. He's with Angelababy for the third time although they were not the OTP. I still enjoyed his bromance with his bestie Lin Geng Xin. I could only recommend this film if you like the actors as much as I do but for everything else like the plot and the genre, I would rather that you watch Mark's other works instead,

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Black & White Episode 2: The Dawn of Justice (2014)

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Black & White movie sequel woohoo! The cast here made fans much happier as some of the actors from the drama have reprised their roles like Janine Chang (Mark's ex-girlfriend in life and I still ship them up to this day *cries*) and Xiu Jie Kai. Lin Geng Xin the bestie is here again with Mark as Mark himself recommended him to the director to play as his geeky cop partner.

Despite the better casting, my expectations were not met at all. I was very excited to watch it because I saw some people’s reviews saying that it’s way better than the first one. It was less thrilling and I felt that it had a lot of plot holes not just regarding the film but also in terms of connecting it to the drama. Let's add it to the fact that this is a sequel of a prequel. Where the film left off should already be where the drama's pilot episode should be happening but not even Mark could save the film (or maybe he did because he just does everything so good haha!).

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UPCOMING FILMS

Till the End of the World (2017)

MDL says that this should have started screening already but I haven't seen or heard about it. I don't know much about this project except that he will be reunited with his So Young love, Yang Zishan. It also seems to be my type of film: romance, drama, and tragedy... Count me in!

Detective Dee The Four Heavenly Kings (2018)

I may not have liked this movie series but if it's another chance to see Mark with his BFF Lin Geng Xin and their bromance then count me in again!

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More Mark!

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Mark's been off the market since 2014 when he married his Caught in the Web co-star Gao Yuan Yuan. I have never watched this film that made their love blossom since I still cannot find a decent copy with English subtitles (please do share if you found one!). I'm totally jealous of Yuan Yuan because she's already blessed with looks, fame, and she still managed to get Mark *cries* but oh well, I'm still very happy for them! Now bless us with pretty babies, please!

Speaking of Yuan Yuan, I have to thank her for being the bridge for Mark and Vic to rekindle their friendship. Vic didn't take his loss very well to Mark for the Best Actor award during the 2010 Golden Bell Awards. It is also the reason why it was only Mark who took part in the movie franchise of the drama. They never spoke to each other after that but thanks to the small entertainment world, Vic was cast in the sequel of Don't Go Breaking My Heart in which Yuan Yuan was also a part of. She made my dearest Pi Zi and Ying Xiong reunited in real life again! Now I want a reunion project or more bromance pictures like the one below, please!

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It was definitely a lot of fun to write about his Mark and his interesting set of works. We all know that he is not going to stop making meaningful projects and I will just be out here waiting and supporting him. Hope you enjoyed my Stalker's Guide as much as I enjoyed writing it. Do you have any favourite works of Mark? Any plans to see the ones I listed here? Hope to see your thoughts below!

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