Hey gang, Valkor here. And welcome back to another edition of MediaView, where we showcase the best and the worst the film world has to offer. When it comes to the worst, I sometimes wish I had gone with my gut and, stopped watching and tossed the disc in the bin. Like this next film, 4 Assassins – initially it showed promise and the quality is pretty good too, but the ends don't justify sitting through it. Read on. Oh and major spoilers!
4 Assassins centers on an assassin named Marcus (Will Yun Lee) whom, at the start of the film, is sitting and waiting in a hotel room, in Hong Kong. Who is he waiting for? How about three more assassins – Cordelia (Mercedes Renard), Chase (Oliver Williams), and Eli (Miguel Ferrer), who have come to settle a score. On his last assignment, Marcus should have killed two people, but he let one live. And now the four wait for an inevitable phone call from their boss that will decide Marcus's fate, which is all dependent of his answer to the question "what happened to that second body?" He's adamant that he finished the job, but evidence shows otherwise.
While they wait for that call, the team reminisce about the past in the midst of having Chinese hot pot, which takes up a good chunk of the film. Eventually they get down to business and begin torturing Marcus attempting to get him to spill his guts. Ultimately it's revealed that Marcus let his heart dictate his actions by allowing the second person to live because he was in love with her. In the end, the four assassins throw down with Cordelia ending up dead, Eli is believed to be dead and Marcus and Chase battle it out one on one. Marcus takes him out, but not without suffering a fierce wound. And just as he's about to stagger away victoriously, Eli awakens from his deathly state, gaining the upperhand on Marcus. Now Eli has a choice – let Marcus go and suffer the wrath of their boss, or finish the job and put Marcus out of his misery.
Once they group started sitting down, eating hot pot and talking about old times, I was ready to pop out the disc and move on to something else. But I sat through the remainder of the film and I realized… I should have gone with my initial reaction.
The plot revolving around 4 Assassins wasn't all that bad. The premise alone about three assassins converging on a hotel room to confront another assassin, really drew me in. However it's the acting that got me to stick it out till the end. Will Yun Lee has a pretty extensive acting career - some good and some bad (The King of Fighters? Oh man!), but in this film he's quite amazing here. He looks like Jackie Chan and has some of the moves, but he sounds like a gangster Edward Norton, not a negative. It's also good to see Miguel Ferrer, whom I haven't seen since Robocop; again an amazing performance. Too bad he can't have a cameo in the remake... or can he? PerfectView hottie goes to Mercedes Renard… which was easy considering she's the only woman in the flick (not really, but the second woman doesn't count). SO, 4 Assassins isn't the worst film I've ever sat through, but still...
"4 Assassins" is an uneven drama that's not all that dramatic or suspenseful. Actually the first 15 – 20 minutes of the film showed some promise because it felt like "The Usual Suspects"; you think Marcus is going to use his surroundings to get out of his predicament… but that doesn't really happen. And what really throws things off is when the group start reflecting on their previous jobs; damnit, all I wanted was to see Marcus get tortured and to find out what happened to that body! That hot pot scene goes on for so long that you forget why they are there in the first place. The main action attraction is relegated towards the end of the film when Marcus dukes it out with his compadres, mainly Chase. But by the time you reach the fight you'll be drained from having to sit through so much… fluff that you just want it to be over already. For a film that's only 80 minutes, it really drags. I also didn't care for the ending – is Marcus dead or not? I don't think it should have ended with him slumping over; rather it should have ended right when Eli offs himself, cutting to black. Yea it would have raised more questions, but it would have been so... intense! Ah well.
So Cordelia and Marcus had something of a "thing" in the past where he slept with her and bounced without a phone call or anything. She confronts him on it and she has this shaking lip as she's about to cry, but holds it in… it's actually quite laughable if and when you see it.
"4 Assassins" aka "Far Away Eyes" doesn't have a release yet for the US, but it's making the theatrical rounds with a showing later next month in Hong Kong. In the end I didn't think the film wasn't anything special; great performances, sure but the film is just tiresome and boring. I don't recommend it, but hey, give it a shot and tell me what you think. In the end, I'm giving "4 Assassins" a 2.