Tuesday Terribles is a periodical series here at GTG, created because of our love for Asian cinema.
What we do with Tuesday Terribles will be similar to what other websites do with film reviews, except we won’t give a grade or score. Actually, we won’t even do serious reviews with Tuesday Terribles, because as the name suggests, these are films that we regard as just terrible. So, we want you to laugh with us at how terrible these films are.
We plan on talking about films from all across Asia (including Japan, Korea, China, Thailand, The Philippines, etc), both old and new. We basically want to you to laugh with us at the bad films that Asia can produce.
One last note: We probably will spoil the films for you, though we’ll try hard not to. But sometimes plot twists can be so bad that it deserves laughing at.
That being said, let’s get the show on the road!
This week’s Tuesday Terrible: The Four
Original Title: 四大名捕
The Four Great
Genres: Wuxia, Fantasy
Directors: Gordon Chan
Main Cast: Deng Chao
- This is the first of a planned trilogy, with the next two installments set to come out in 2013…dear God.
- It’s the first theatrical adaptation of Wen Ruian’s novel series of the same name.
- The novels have previously been adapted for television in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China.
- Premiered at 5th place at the weekend box office.
It seemed so interesting at first…
The Six Panels is a government sector that conducts criminal investigations throughout the land. Led by Liu (Cheng Taishen), the Six Panels are currently investigating a case in which counterfeit money is discovered to be in heavy circulation. Their investigation leads them to the shadowing of a suspect who is trying to sell a coin die stolen from the imperial mint. Before the Six Panels could apprehend the suspect, he gets taken into custody by a secret service known as the Divine Constabulary, employed by the Emperor himself.
Liu becomes jealous of the power of the Divine Constabulary, and fires one of his best men, Lengxue (Deng Chao), with the secret intent to have him infiltrate the rival agency and find a way to bring it down. Little does Liu know that within his own organization are double agents working to bring the Six Panels down.
Lengxue is welcomed into the Divine Constabulary with open arms. Given the nickname Cold Blood, he starts to become comfortable in the company of the family-like Divine Constabulary, fighting alongside fellow agents like Emotionless (Liu Yifei), Life Snatcher (Ronald Cheng), and Iron Hand (Collin Chou).
The deeper the Divine Constabulary dives into the counterfeit money case, the more they find out that there are larger powers in the shadows. It’s up to The Four to save the day!
Oh man…what happened?!
The Four had a working formula. The film is the love child of The X-Men and Sherlock Holmes, with a dab of Kung-fu. Hell, it even had Collin Chou (Seraph from The Matrix films) and Anthony Wong (Infernal Affairs) and the cute girl from The Forbidden Kingdom (Liu Yifei). It utilized techniques that many current Hollywood action films
abuse use, such as slow motion and CG. So, where did it go wrong?
To put it simply: things just happened and you were forced to accept it.
Let’s start with the heroes. Except for their leader Zhuge Zhengwo (Anthony Wong), they all have nicknames: Cold Blood, Emotionless, Life Snatcher, and Iron Hand. Their nicknames aren’t a representation of their skills or talents, but of their personalities or occupations. Cold Blood is a cold-blooded soldier; Emotionless is…well, you can kind of guess what she’s about; Life Snatcher was a debt collector before getting recruited by the Divine Constabulary; and Iron Hand is a black smith.
In addition to their superhero aliases, they have
superpowers special skills that they use when fighting. Cold Blood becomes a feral beast when he loses his temper; Emotionless is a cripple who rides a wheelchair and has telepathic and telekinetic powers; Life Snatcher can kick with fiery feet; and Iron Hand has super punches and can emit shock waves through his fists (we’re sure a lot of this sounds very familiar). Group leader Zhuge Zhengwo has a power too, but it’s a bit unclear on what it is (something to do with leveling battlefields with chi pulse waves).
Let’s not forget the main villain, An Shigeng (Wu Xiubo), a laughing rich man who can create, use, and control fire and ice.
As cool as the powers may or may not sound, the question at hand is: how the heck are they able to use these powers? Usually, in wuxia films, it can be easy to
forgive the fact accept that every martial artist can fly from treetop to treetop, mainly because we can accept it to be a part of the Kung-fu umbrella. However, the same can’t be said for using special powers with no explanation why. Why does Cold Blood have a power to turn ugly and rage? How does Emotionless have psychic powers? Why does Zhuge Zhengwo have the same power as the Wrath of God Magic card, but just sits back and let the youngins do all the work? Why did that villain steal the invisible cloak from Harry Potter?
They kind of just do stuff, and the audience is forced to accept it.
The audience is also forced to accept that there is supposed to be a love triangle going on with Cold Blood, Emotionless, and Ji Yaohua (Jiang Yiyan), an agent of The Six Panels. However, when two of those characters have less expressions than a rock, it’s hard to believe. Perhaps the film explores the possibility that if two boring people get together, they magically fall in love (maybe because of their mutual love of talking in quiet, flat tones). Even Ji Yaohua falls flat with her attempted seductions of Cold Blood, but then again it’s hard to tell if he was even tempted because of his face of 1000 emotions.
The biggest force-feed is the story. In the beginning, the story is centered on both the Six Panels and the Divine Constabulary tracking down the source of the counterfeit money flow, only to have the rug pulled from under the audience. The plot then shifts to focus on the main villain, An Shigeng, using a rare flower that revives the dead, turning them into his personal ghost army.
There’s no real relation between the two schemes, making it feel like the two stories could have been split to make two different movies. The counterfeit money story was getting deeper too; the citizens were running around frantic because the banks, in fear of the fake money, refused them service. Right at the peak of that story, *BAM* the culprit dies, and it’s ghost army time.
Basically, there was no resolution to that part of the story. The people are still running around frantic.
So while the heroes are celebrating saving the day from the villain, the common people are still losing their s***. Great job, Divine Constabulary!
Watch this film if…
…you like to watch films in which the fight scenes are more important than the story.