ASIAN FILM - Review
16:00 - 16th November 2013, by David West

The Four

In imperial China, the villainous Lord An (Wu Xiubo) is trying to destabilise the government using counterfeit money. The Divine Constabulary, a group of martial artists led by Zhuge Zhengwo (Anthony Wong), are on the case, but they butt heads with Department 6, the official law enforcement agency, led by the Sheriff King, Lord Liu (Chen Taisheng).

Unfortunately for the constabulary, Lord Liu resents their influence and seeks to shut them down. Liu orders one of his top fighters, Coldblood (Deng Chao), to infiltrate the group, but the frozen one's loyalties are torn when he falls for a female member of the rivals called Emotionless (Liu Yi Fei).

Directed by Gordan Chan and Janet Chun, The Four is an effects-heavy adventure based on a cult wuxia novel. The script totters under the weight of too many characters and subplots, but the biggest problem is the two leads. The romance between Emotionless and Coldblood is completely lacking in chemistry - perhaps not a surprise given their namesakes. Liu Yi Fei rivals Twilight femme Kristen Stewart for total cinematic blankness, and her co-star, Deng Chao, is creakily wooden.

On the plus side, supporting player Jiang Yi Yan leaves a positive impression as Department 6's sneaky swordswoman Ji Yaohua. The Four certainly livens up during its fight scenes, built around wirework and slickly executed special effects. As expected, the combatants fly around the screen and unleash their fantastic superpowers. Take that, gravity.

The Four is crying out for shot of passion, but the action scenes keep it aloft.
SCORE: 2.5/5
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