Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Four Assassins: Who Ordered Room Service?
it might sound glamorous, life as a contract killer can be a grind. Yes, there is a lot of travel, but you never
really get to see the sights. For
instance, a quartet of professionals are in Hong Kong on business, but they
will spend all their time in a hotel room throughout Stanley J. Orzel’s Four Assassins (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in Los Angeles.
was not expecting his old flame Cordelia to knock on the door of his hotel
room. She is not just an ex, she is also
a colleague. He has never previously met
the muscle she brought with her, but he and Chase take an instant disliking to
each other. Being blindsided by the thug
from Gibraltar does not help much. They
are waiting for one more mystery guest to arrive: Eli, the crafty veteran who
mentored both Marcus and Cordelia.
seems Marcus came up one body short on his last gig and the big boss wants some
answers. However, the hitman is feigning
innocence, if that’s the right term. As
they wait for instructions from the man, the four titular assassins will
verbally spar, tell sea stories, and look for weaknesses to exploit.
from periodic flashbacks, 4A is
almost entirely set within Marcus’s suite.
At least, it is a nice hotel. In
fact, the film has the feeling of stage thriller, as conceived by Tarantino or
Johnnie To. Orzel (an American expat
filmmaker, whose credits include work on several Zhang Yimou epics) makes a
virtue of the one set limitations, producing a caged tiger vibe. Given it starts in media res, there are not a
lot of shocking plot revelations in store for viewers, per se, but his dialogue
is notably sharp.
pointed exchanges definitely play to the strengths of Miguel Ferrer, best known
to children of the 80’s and 90’s as pathologist Albert Rosenfield on Twin Peaks and the slimy executive who creates
Robocop in the original 1987 film. He is
perfect for the role of Eli, the sardonic, world weary senior assassin. Will Yun Lee (recognizable from Witchblade and the Hawaii Five-O reboot) looks appropriately haggard yet dangerous as
Marcus, the protagonist assassin.
Mercedes Renard also holds her own quite nicely during the cutting
exchanges, but Oliver Williams’ Chase comes across like someone doing a Cary
Elwes impersonation, which could very well have been what the casting notice
4A might be a B-movie-ish affair, but it has a
strong noir sensibility, nicely enhanced by the richly appointed set crafted by
Longman Leung’s design team. Orzel adroitly
maintains the pace and tension, getting nice assists from his small ensemble, especially
Ferrer. Though small in scope, it is a
rather entertaining dark little hitman thriller, recommended for genre fans who
do not require a lot of high concept action sequences when it opens tomorrow
(10/19) at the Laemmle NoHo 7 in North Hollywood.
Labels: Miguel Ferrer, Will Yun Lee