5.8/10
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11 user 19 critic

The Four (2012)

Si da ming bu (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Crime, Fantasy | 12 July 2012 (Hong Kong)
Trailer
1:38 | Trailer
A government department known as the Six Panels appoints their best officer to infiltrate a special force called the Divine Constabulary, to ensure their way in stopping the circulation of counterfeit coin currency in the capital.

Directors:

Gordon Chan, Janet Chun
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chao Deng ... Leng Lingqi (Coldblood) (as Deng Chao)
Yifei Liu ... Shong Yayu (Emotionless) (as Liu Yi Fei)
Ronald Cheng ... Cui Lueshang (Life Snatcher)
Collin Chou ... Tie Yourda (Iron Hands)
Anthony Chau-Sang Wong ... Zhuge Zhenwo (as Anthony Wong)
Xiubo Wu ... An Shigeng - The God of Wealth (as Wu Xiu Bo)
Taishen Cheng Taishen Cheng ... Sheriff King (as Cheng Tai Shen)
Yiyan Jiang Yiyan Jiang ... Ji Yaohua (as Jiang Yi Yan)
Anna Fang ... Butterfly
Ryu Kohata Ryu Kohata ... Avalanche
Sheren Tang ... Aunt Foise
Waise Lee ... Prince
Bei-Er Bao ... Big Wolf (as Bao Bei Er)
Emma Wu ... Ding Dong (as Wu Ying Jie)
Chi Miao ... Guts
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Storyline

A government department known as the Six Panels appoints their best officer to infiltrate a special force called the Divine Constabulary, to ensure their way in stopping the circulation of counterfeit coin currency in the capital.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Crime | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Followed by Lawless Kingdom (2013) See more »

User Reviews

 
Young Detective Dee meets Legend of the Shadowless Sword: Magic and Martial Arts Bring this Action-Packed Fantasy to Life
11 April 2015 | by totalovrdoseSee all my reviews

When it comes to blending martial arts and fantasy together during historical periods, China is easily notable for producing entertaining features of this caliber. Containing some outstanding choreography and camera work that really brings the exceptional fight scenes to life, during the initial stages of the feature, the martial-arts appear rather stale, providing little more of a rehash from similar films. With this in mind, viewers need patience when committing themselves to The Four, for it isn't until later that the fights, accompanied by some wicked special effects, really provides seriously new, eye-catching material, a similar statement requiring mentioning when it comes to the story. After almost an hour, the narrative remains vastly interpretative, and it is presumably difficult to ascertain its directionality, this mysterious quality, although potentially annoying for some viewers, adding to the feature's suspense. Though some could complain about lacking information when it comes to the plot and character arks, viewers should keep in mind this is the first of three films, the combined collection hopefully quenching any audience's thirst for information.

Despite the notable gaps in the narrative, the characterization provided to the audience is adequate in developing characters that are truly likable, while retaining an atmosphere that is, for the most part, hugely enjoyable, and fun. Emotionless (Liu Ye Fei), a disabled psychic, who, despite her name, is an emotionally sympathetic character, Iron Hands (Collin Chou), a man with incredibly powerful fists, and Life Snatcher (Ronald Cheng), a dangerous debt collector, who recently joins the outfit, are terrifically skilled martial artists under the command of Zhuge Zhermo (Anthony Wong), who form the Divine Constabulary, a group who answers only to the Emperor.

The Sheriff King (Cheng Tai Shen), who commands Department 6, a revered military police unit, has no trust in the mythical martial arts group, who are free to traverse where they please. Assigning one of his best operatives, Cold Blood (Deng Chao) - a man who can, upon losing his temper, transform himself into a powerful beast - with the responsibility to assimilate into the group to find out more about them, Cold Blood's allegiance to Department 6 begins to waver as he finds friendship amongst the Divine Constabulary, alongside romantic attraction towards Emotionless.

As both the Divine Constabulary and Department 6 investigate the same criminal activity, regarding not only fake currency, but a dangerously powerful magic, capable of bringing back the dead, the Sheriff King finds himself blinded by his beliefs that the Divine Constabulary are behind the attacks, while unable to realize that Ji Yaohua (Jiang Yi-Yan), a fellow Department 6 agent, may be working with the enemy. Harboring feelings for Cold Blood, she and Emotionless begin to play a dangerous game consisting of jealousy and spite in the hopes of winning Cold Blood's heart. All the while, lead antagonist An Shigeng (Wu Xiu Bo) threatens all with his plans, but is he really the head of the serpent, or are there more dangerous players involved?

The acrobatic stunts, involving law enforcement officers, assassins and undead alike, abseiling across buildings, requires substantial suspension of disbelief, though if one has previously viewed Legend of the Shadowless Sword, they might find themselves at home in this particular world. Unlike the aforementioned film however, which had much emotional depth applied to its narrative, this is not provided to The Four, though the familial feeling provided by the Divine Constabulary, not to mention the acting by Ms. Ye Fei, is certainly impressive, there being one scene in particular where the audience surely feels for Emotionless.

Although the undead are involved in this feature, viewers need not fear clichéd stereotypical genre tropes being applied, and despite the combination of eastern and western philosophies in the development of such beings, they are, thankfully, never depicted as zombies, but as supremely powerful foes in need of vanquishing. The fanciful costumes are typical of other Chinese genre films of the period, and look as glorious and superb as ever, while the visuals, from the headquarters of the Divine Constabulary, to the exotic man-made locations the film visits, feel so genuine and realistic, it is seldom hard to imagine such a group existing within China's history.

An accusation that could be made regarding the film is the lack of appearance other members of the Divine Constabulary exhibit during the feature, the previously annotated members of the organization being supplied with all the screen time, whilst the others, who randomly appear during some of the scenes, are largely unexplored. The banter that takes place between all of the members however is lively and playful, and adds to the fun.

In conclusion, The Four exhibits a number of similarities with other films from China that explore this particular historic period, however, it is the differences in the script, the characters, and the later fights, that really make this quite a captivating experience.


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Details

Country:

China

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

12 July 2012 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

The Four See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$30,505,808
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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