Dir: Stanley J. Orzel
Starring: Will Yun Lee, Miguel Ferre, Emilie Guillot
I honestly wanted to like this film. Really. In a basic, non-spoilery synopsis, this film could have been a tense and relentless bite of a dramiller (my amalgamation of drama/thriller, like it?) that could have been a sleeper hit. Unfortunately, this was not so in Stanley J. Orzel’s indie feature- so much missed opportunity, awkward screenwriting and a nearly directionless mess abound ‘Four Assassins’ that its’ difficult to classify just where and what went tragically wrong.
Four assassins, two played by Will Yun Lee and Miguel Ferrer assemble in a cosmopolitan hotel in Hong Kong to settle their differences. Such a simple story and few lead characters had more than enough chances to make it an entertaining and comprehensive tale. Yun Lee and Ferrer both are charismatic actors who are inventive and intelligent, yet in this one, their inate charm and watchability is limited. It could have been the clumsy dialogue or their vague actions that made them look like they were stuck in the middle of the ocean without a lifeboat. Both of them try, but there is only so much an actor can contribute to a production to make a difference.
I’m also not frustrated this film wasn’t action-packed despite being set in the colourful world of Hong Kong, but there is a difference between a slow burn and the pace of a turtle, the latter of which this film for the most part is. There are moments of inspiration in terms of character, but for the most part, the pacing of the film matches the overall sensation- aimless and lacking guidance.
The craftmanship of the film is by no means the worst I have ever seen (it takes a special kind of incompetence to earn that assessment from me), but considering in the past we have seen indie films made on less of a budget than ‘Four Assassins’ shine, it’s frustrating that this film didn’t even try to advance itself in any direction, artistically or otherwise.
No, this film isn’t terrible, but damn it, this could have been so much more if everybody worked as a unit to help create a memorable film rather than allowing itself to drop its’ load even before it was out of the stable. A huge shame.
Review written by Bea Harper
The Australian DVD
The DVD I reviewed was a screener, so I am unable to comment on Picture/Audio quality.
The DVD release will include the extras Cast & Crew Commentary, Making Of Featurette, Deleted Scenes, Behind The Scenes Footage
DVD details here.
Thanks to Bill care of Accent Film Entertainment for the copy.