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Marco Polo: A Review

     

 

 


by Xin Lin

In a world of exploration, Marco Polo is a famous household name; he is credited for introducing Europeans to Asia and documenting the experience in his novel, Book of the Marvels of the World. His book is famous for inspiring many other explorers to seek fame and future through traveling. When we think about Marco Polo, we see an old man, aged by his adventures. He would be missing a few teeth but still have a kind smile that would reach his eyes.

The Netflix reimagined version of Marco Polo is a stark juxtaposition of that. He is young and brash and still has a few things to learn. The series sets off with Kublai Khan and his Mongol army attempting once again to invade Xiang Yang, a province of China still ruled by the Song Dynasty. Marco, his father and his uncle are travelling through a Song village that was pillaged by the Khan when the Mongol army finds them and they are escorted away in chains to see the Khan. Marco becomes the indentured servant of Kublai Khan, and he must stay in the Khan's court until he is dismissed.

As premises go, it is an interesting story. What makes this show exceptional is that it doesn't hold back and it never apologizes to the audience. Kublai Khan is ruthless, he is feared in many places and he isn't afraid to kill those who do his work when they do not follow his rules. Benedict Wong doesn't hold back any punches in his performance; he delivers each line with thundering grace.

Marco Polo has an extensive cast that work together to tell a beautiful story. Joan Chen as Empress Chabi and wife to Kublai Khan is beautiful and delivers warmth in her speech to her husband and son; however, she is cold to those that would do her family injustice. She has a power that can never be taken away from her. Remy Hii is amazing in his performance as Prince Jingim, the son of the Khan who was raised Chinese. Prince Jingim and Ahmad (played by Mahesh Jadu), despite not being real brothers have a brotherly bond that is irreplaceable. Everyone has a role to play in the court of the Khan.

Against the Khan, we have Chancellor Jia Sidao (played by Chin Han) who is cold and calculating. He is hungry for power, he will do everything in is power to save his country and especially himself. The fight between the two is intense; however, what makes it better is that the two never see each other face to face. They battle through wit and the armies at their disposal.

Along with the show's storyline, each character has their own storyline that makes the show truly worth-watching. Marco Polo isn't afraid of its audience and it isn't afraid of showing us heart wrenching scenes to make us leap out of our seats in anger. All in all, I would give this a must watch and 4.5 out of 5 Wolfies.

 

 

 

 

 

   
 

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