THE FOUR (P13)
Release Date: 26 July 2012
Running Time: 119 minutes
Distributor: Gsc Movies
Director: Gordon Chan, Janet Chun
Starring: Collin Chou, Anthony Wong, Crystal Liu Yifei, Ronald Cheng, Chao Deng, Sheren Tang
Plot: Adapted from a famous Wu-Xia series, "The Great Four Detectives", the movie is a fresh spin to the tale of four detectives skilled in martial arts that are hired by the Emperor to solve various mysteries. The four detectives, Liu Yifei as Heartless, Collin Chou as Metal Hand, Ronald Cheng as Life Chaser and Deng Chao as Cold Blooded, have individual special powers. They are strict and impartial, seeking justice on behalf of the citizens and even discovered the secret plot of evil minister planning to take over the throne. REVIEWS AFTER THE JUMP
Review: This will be a short review. The Four is not the worst wuxia adaptation I have ever seen; which is a good thing but it is certainly not ranked as one of the best like White Vengeance or 14 Blades. This movie, directed by Gordon Chan has plenty of misses.
The adapted version of the celebrated (not acclaimed though) novel by Wang Ray-an tells the story of Divine Constabulary, led by a resigned head of palace bodyguard in a coveted mission to solve the counterfeit currency int he market. He assigned four field operative cum detectives to help him but also eventually locks horn with the rival Division Six. Through their investigation, they encounter supernatural elements and the undead army; that can be traced back to one of those high ministers.
Watching The Four is certainly not an enjoyable experience because of the way this movie goes forward at most of time. With the unstructured writing and unorganized plot, it hampers the movie potential to the fullest. Some may find it confusing not because of convoluted storyline but because of the misdirection and inappropriate handling of the theme and concept. With such a rich material from the novel, they decided to throw in more stuffs to enrich the movie. The result is an overwhelming flavor that proved too strong to gulp for leaving a bad taste nevertheless. Unlike the original novel, this movie is heavily bombarded with the unnecessary supernatural elements - just too many.
Also noticed in this shortcoming is how frequently Chan put asides the brilliant and smart story (it feels redundant contently) for more fuzzy-poor-edited action scenes. Then, nothing feels more interesting than speculating how The Four is like watching Marvel movies. We have a mind reading-psychic girl on a X-wheeled wheelchair (Prof X anyone?), a badass who tries humor relief (say Iron Man), a regular guy turning into a beast if his emotional goes uncontrolled (say Hulk), a badass leader who looks calm all the time (say Nick Fury) and another guy with engineering skills (say Iron Man again).
In the end, The Four is not the worst wuxia movie I have ever watch but it goes to the borderline so close with an uninspiring, overwhelmingly messy and awkward plot to go with some poorly edited action scenes.