Top Chinese leading man Hu Ge stars in the brand new modern drama Game of Hunting. Does his new character match his heroic image from the acclaimed Nirvana in Fire? Does the new drama meet the fans' high hopes and expectations? Throw out your preconceived ideas, as the Game of Hunting opens to a bold and intense play for romance and intrigue about surviving and winning on the deceitful battleground of the business world.

<Spoilers Alert> I have watched the first four episodes.

The Chinese love a saying with double meanings. So when you hear "living by looking at another person's face," it could mean you're looking at your boss' face to tell how you're doing on the job. Or, it could also mean that you can judge a person's character by looking at his or her face.

Another Chinese proverb says to watch out for those whose friendly smiles hide sharp blades.

Zheng Qio Dong (Hu Ge) will learn these valuable lessons after he is sent to prison.

When we first meet Zheng Qiu Dong (Hu Ge), he is an inspirational speaker giving a talk to hundreds of listeners who are visibly touched by his emotional delivery. We soon learn that he is merely a hired gun who poses as a success story to tout how great the company is. Even worse, this may be the best gig he's had for a while. He only got the one-time job through the help of an old college friend. His own startup, a very small employment agency, is on the brink of closing. His payment for giving the speech will barely pay for this month's rent.

It turns out that this is not the first time Zheng Qiu Dong has failed. He previously lost everything when he tried a venture in Nepal. He's also lost his first love, the beautiful Luo Yi Ren (Jian Ren Zi), who is actually dating his old college friend, Bai Li Qin (Zu Feng).

Through flashbacks and interactions with Luo Yi Ren, we see that Zheng Qiu Dong is actually a romantic and naive idealist who still believes he can get ahead simply by working hard. But our "hero" is neither heroic nor smart about how things really work. He isn't cunning or ruthless like those devious business wolves who mark him as prey.

A big disadvantage that Zheng Qiu Dong shares with most regular folks is that he lacks sufficient resources to fall back on when he is down and out. He'll try almost anything to make money. He is led into a trap where he ends up working for a multilevel-marketing scheme that is illegal in China, and is ultimately convicted and sent to prison with a long sentence.

He loses his rekindled romance with his first love and any hope at living a decent life, until he meets a mentor (Sun Honglei) in prison and learns that he needs good judgement in judging people. 

So begins a sprawling epic with a compelling plot and vividly portrayed characters, as we follow a regular guy's fall to the bottom before he can reclaim his place in society and rise to success. What struggles and sacrifices will he endure? How will he fight enemies along the way? Will he still find true love?

Everyone loves an inspirational story about a little guy who climbs from the bottom and wins big. Especially when that little guy is played by Hu Ge, who won acclaim playing a military commander who suffered a crushing defeat and returned under disguise to avenge his clan in Nirvana in Fire

There will be an important development in Game of Hunting when Zheng Qiu Dong assumes a new identity in order to pursue a new life. The difference is that Mei Chang Su from Nirvana in Fire was already an intelligent strategist who was adept at manipulating his enemies. Here, in Game of Hunting, it takes the little guy, Zheng Qiu Dong, a lot of hard-won lessons to transform himself into an elite headhunter who can survive and even conquer the vicious business world where the battleground is littered with plenty of failed lives.

It's also hard to peg this dramatic series into one certain genre: It's a mystery because we don't know how and where it'll take us. It's a romance because Zheng Qiu Dong will meet three women, each of whom signifies an important phase in his life. It's an inspiring story because we'll experience his fall and comeback. Although a fictional work, many of the deceits and schemes are realistic. Ultimately, it is Hu Ge who dominates every scene, while he is surrounded with an ensemble cast of excellent actors. 

Having watched the initial episodes, I believe in what Hu Ge has said, that he exerted his full force in portraying Zheng Qiu Dong. He even recognized Zheng Qiu Dong as his favorite character in his acting career to date.

The first four episodes have done a great job, at an even pace, in laying out the main theme with convincing characters. And I look forward to watching more.


Game of Hunting - 猎场

Starring Hu Ge and Zu Feng

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If life is a game of hunting, are you a hunter?

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