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The Four Blu-ray Review

four-blu-ray-coverU.S. Release

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (24Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1  (1  x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 119 Mins.
  • Studio: Well Go USA Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: April 9, 2013
  • List Price: $29.98

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

Four-BD_01

Gordon Chan and Janet Chun direct this latest wuxia film, the first in an announced trilogy based on the Wen Ruian Si Da Ming Bu (四大名捕; The Four Great Constables) series of books. Taking its name from the four main characters, Emotionless (Liu Yifei), Iron Fist (Collin Chou), Life Snatcher (Ronald Cheng) and Cold Blood (Deng Chao), the story revolves around a so-called “divine constabulary” to the emperor of China who become embroiled in an investigation concerning a stolen coin and counterfeit currency. Battling against a second government agency, The Panel of Six and their imbedded spy in their ranks, Cold Blood, the divine constabulary find themselves in a fight against a jealous sheriff, his beautiful female officers, and supernatural forces.

Full disclosure, I probably give any film starring the lovely Liu Yifei an automatic half-star rating subconsciously, just because I have a secret (well, not so secret now) crush on her. That being said, The Four, despite being a high-flying adventure complete with physics-defying wire-work and enticing visual effects leaves viewers cold and completely perplexed most of the time. The story is very difficult to follow and never really adds up to much. Are we to be concerned about counterfeit currency, a threat to the emperor from supernatural powers, spies in the ranks of the constabulary, or all of the above? Each of the four members of the Divine Constabulary has certain supernatural powers that gives them their names, however, how they gained them is only ever implied, never really explained. For instance, Emotionless (Liu) can read people’s thoughts. It is said as a child she suffered a great accident that left her crippled (she gets around in a wheel chair she controls with her mind). Cold Blood (Deng) turns into a sort of wolf-man. He says he was raised by wolves. Okay, so, how does that make him a wolf?

Perhaps some of these questions and issues are just part of the problems that arise from setting a story up as part of a trilogy, one would hope. There is a lot of potential here, especially in the action sequences and character backgrounds to be explored. Let’s hope the second film straightens some things out and sets this series on a better path than this first entry.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Four-BD_02

The Four is superbly rendered onto Blu-ray by Well Go USA in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement. The imagery is finely textured, there is no noise to speak of, and darker areas are rendered accurately with extended detail.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Four-BD_03

The soundtrack, offered in a Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) mix is just what you’d expect from a film such as this. It can be bombastic and aggressively mixed when need be supplying a hefty dose of low frequencies, but it also has a good balance of quieter sounds, atmospherics, and clear dialogue. A Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0 track is also included.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

Four-BD_04

The offerings are slight, including some unnecessary deleted scenes and a nearly half-hour making of with plenty of behind-the-scenes footage.

The supplements:

  • Making Of (2.35:1; SD; 00:24:22)
  • Deleted Scenes (2.35:1; SD; 00:04:10)
  • Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24; Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Four-BD_05

A confusing storyline and weak character development leave The Four, the first part in a trilogy, wanting, despite its spectacular action, wire-work, visual effects, and cast, including the always lovely Liu Yifei. The Blu-ray, however, is a home theatre treat, so anyone into wuxia films should consider this one as a rental.

Additional Screen Captures

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BestBuy.com:
The Four - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase The Four on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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[amazon-product]B00B4MMPA6[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
The Four - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase The Four on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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