The Four 少年四大名捕January 1, 2010
*note: i watched this drama in Mandarin with English subtitles.
as mine is an overseas release, there were 25 episodes. i understand that in Hong Kong, it only had 24?
*all the text in blue are my thoughts!
this series is based on popular wuxia novel by Wen Ruian.
i watched the 1st episode of this drama 3 times – the 1st 2 times in Cantonese on free preview! it was pretty engaging i couldn’t wait for it to finally air on TV! :) i was quite excited as it has my 2 faves, Raymond and Sammul inside!
i was puzzled, though, on why Bosco Wong was excluded from this cast – to have Raymond, Sammul, Ron and Bosco would be the ideal, i guess? but i must say that i really enjoyed Kenneth’s character and his performance :)
the female cast was far from satisfactory. out of the 4 females for The Four guys, only Kate and Selena are known. i didn’t know the other 2 girls, Vivi and Cilla. Cilla’s character was so irritating i really couldn’t stand her! i thought Vivi was pretty sweet and liked her character :) – i later realised that she played the awful girl in “Pages of Treasures”! what a big difference!
this series was basically about how Dominic Lam, previously the head of the Royal Constabulary and formally a celebrated hero, manages to get the Emperor to reopen the Constabulary. he hires 4 constables – Heartless (Raymond Lam), Iron Fist (Kenneth Ma), Chaser (Sammul Chan) and Cold Blood (Ron Ng) – and aims to solve crimes and rid the city of injustice.
however, the evil prime minister, played by Lau Kong, is against the idea of reopening the Constabulary and takes every opportunity to put Dominic down in the Emperor’s presence. away from the Royal Court, Lau Kong and Dominic are at logger-heads.
it is later revealed that the bad guy in the martial arts world, Chief Ling played by Felix Lok, is the Prime Minister’s lacky. the Prime Minister uses Chief Ling to pressure all the martial arts sects to join the Federation. by doing this, the Prime Minister then suggests a competition where the winner has the power to rule the entire martial arts world. Chief Ling is assisted by his equally evil son, played by Joel Chan.
i’ve not read the original novel, so i’m unable to compare the dramatization to how the original novel’s plot progresses.
in the 1st few episodes, the drama focused on 1 case at a time. however, as the story went on, it got complicating; Dominic and The Four all split and were investigating different cases and occurences. ultimately, the plot progressed to an ultra suspenseful climax when it was finally revealed that Kate was Lau Kong’s mole, and the insurgency was in full swing!
Murder(s) at the Villa
this case started as a gathering; influential figures in the martial arts world were invited to Prince Qi’s (Savio Tsang) villa, where he could appreciate their talents. this event introduced Dominic and his prodigy, Heartless. Chaser, who was a swindler also made his appearance. Iron Fist appeared to arrest one of Prince Qi’s guests – Iron Fist was the only one who was a constable from the start of the drama. Selena and her father, played by Gordon Liu, were present, representing the Blue Sky Sect. Dominic and Prince Qi’s wife, played by Crystal Tin, past is revealed… the case had many twists and turns, but finally, the murderer was found. this was the start of Dominic’s quest to reopen the Constabulary :)
i was really waiting the the 4th constable, Cold Blood, to appear!
this case was the case which got me really addicted to this series! the constant twists and turns, and how the case seemed like it was solved but there were more secrets that were revealed afterwards… really exciting!
from the murder case at the villa onwards, Dominic aims to reopen the Constabulary.
Dominic manages to get the Emperor’s approval to reopen the Constabulary on one condition – that they find the long lost treasures left behind by Zhao Kuanyin (focused on in “A Change of Destiny”), the founder of the Song dynasty. and they do that. i enjoyed the episode where Heartless, Iron Fist and Chaser were inside the vault and had to overcome the numerous traps – the chess game formation to open the door was cool! at this point, Cold Blood was still not officially with the Constabulary.
Dominic finds means and ways to get 4 constables to work under him. Heartless and Iron Fist join him willingly; Chaser is blackmailed into joining the Constabulary, and Cold Blood joins the Constabulary to repay Dominic for saving his life. all 4 men have their strengths, and it takes many episodes and many incidences to get them to work together as a team.
Heartless: one has no conscience (Cold Blood); the other is useless (Chaser)…
- murder(s) at the villa (mentioned above!)
- seeking the treasure (mentioned above!)
- the mining village with missing men —
gave us the insight to Cold Blood’s parentage; brought Kenneth and Selena closer. i was not too interested by this case – it was pretty creepy but otherwise, it was quite bland. and of course the Prime Minister came to create trouble – evil guy!
- the zombie village —
this is the case in which Raymond almost died! Kate and Raymond’s relationship starts blossoming… Kenneth and Selena’s relationship starts to progress after they found the source of the virus.
- the “beheader” —i can’t really remember the details, other than this was connected to Raymond’s past and his parentage.
- the Federation vs Blue Sky Sect —this feud was started by Chief Ling, who killed Pierre Ngo (in a 5min cameo as the son of some prominent sect leader) and used this incident to frame a small fry of the Blue Sky Sect, creating chaos in the martial arts world. Chief Ling promises to avenge Pierre Ngo’s death if Pierre Ngo’s father’s (Chief Hong 洪飛虎) sect joins the Federation. of course, this is part of a bigger plan; this case relates directly to the ‘grand showdown’…
- the grand showdown to determine the ruler of the martial arts world — this was exciting!
The Four were split into 2 so-called teams.
Kenneth and Sammul were at the showdown venue, with Selena and Chief Ling, Joel Chan, the Prime Minister and Prince Qi and his wife; Raymond and Ron were with Kate, Selena’s father played by Gordon Liu, leader of the Blue Sky Sect, and some other sect leaders on the boat to the showdown venue. however, the boat was blown up, and Gordon Liu, who was the strongest contender, ended up stranded on an island, which was plagued by some monster. this monster was a hoax, and it turned out to be a member of the Sand Sect, a member of the Federation, who was supposedly one of the casualties of the blast.
meanwhile, with Gordon’s absence in the competition, Selena took his place, much to Kenneth’s worry. she blamed Chief Ling for her father’s supposed death, and with Kenneth’s encouragement, she pulled herself together to compete. by pure sheer luck, she made it to the finals (with some techniques from Sammul and Kenneth, of course). Raymond, Ron, Kate and Gordon made it back in time. Gordon was in the finals with Chief Ling, after Chief Ling killed Pierre Ngo’s father (Chief Hong 洪飛虎) intentionally, claiming it was in self-defence – what nonsense! i was so upset when that happened!
just when Chief Ling was about to be defeated by Gordon, something drastic happened to Gordon, and he just collapsed. his heart has ruptured and on his deathbed, he asked Kenneth to look after Selena…
- the illegal gold mines —focused on Sammul’s relationship with Kenneth’s sister, played by Vivi Lee. the illegal gold mines were run by the Prime Minister’s son, played by Eric Li. this was also the case in which Chief Ling and the Prime Minister were after Ron’s blood. Chief Ling realised that his daughter, played by Cilla Kung, was hopelessly in love with Ron. the Prime Minister purposely made Ron perform swordplay in front of the Emperor and overseas officials, and used that opportunity to dig up Ron’s past, revealing him as the assassin who killed the foreign country’s best swordsman. the foreign dignitaries demand an explanation from the Emperor. with the Prime Minister’s persuasion, the Emperor wants to put Ron to death. however, when the overseas official’s son (the Prince) disappears, Dominic tries to plead for leniency for Ron by guaranteeing that the Constabulary, in particular Ron, who has an excellent sense of smell, would be able to find the Prince and bring him back safely.
it turns out that the Prince has been abducted by the illegal gold mining people, and he meets Vivi there. Vivi had been abducted while on the way to buy some food for Sammul, who was not even serious about it – but Vivi was in love with him, and so she went. Vivi helped the weak Prince escape, only to be captured again, and when The Four finally arrived, the Prince was unscathed, but Vivi had been raped, making her suicidal. –
OMG it was so sad to see Vivi in this miserable state! i was really really sad. the super sad but quite touching part was when Sammul allowed Kenneth to beat him up and he didn’t fight back; if Selena hadn’t stopped Kenneth, he might really have killed Sammul. it was really sad to see everyone so sad; especially the 2 guys when they showed how much they loved and cared for Vivi.
at the end of this case, the Constabulary managed to get the Emperor to banish Eric Li to the border, but the Prime Minister paid the guards off, and Eric escaped. at least he thought so. he was killed by a mysterious man, whose punches were as deadly as Kenneth’s… the Prime Minister thought it was Kenneth (he had the motive with his sister’s condition) and was out to take revenge…
- framing Iron Fist; the return of Iron Fist’s biological brother —
this case was extremely exciting! i was especially pleased when i guessed the mysterious killer was Kenneth’s long-lost biological older brother!! hahahahhh i was so pleased that my guess was right!
this case involved the Prime Minister and Kate. he instructed Kate to frame Kenneth as he thought Kenneth killed his son. this led to a lot a problems, as Kate killed 2 people to frame Kenneth… but the case was finally solved! however, the major problem occurred when Kenneth’s brother was running from Kate, who’d attempted to kill him; when Kate saw Raymond, she pretended to be the victim, and fought with Kenneth’s brother. Kenneth’s brother died and Kenneth thought Raymond was the culprit – the real culprit was Kate, who’d given him the ‘bull hair needles’, and he died in the same way Gordon did.
taking into account Raymond and Kenneth’s family feuds, bad blood formed between the once good friends…
- insurgency —
these insurgency episodes were rather exciting, but it got really complicating. these episodes weren’t particularly interesting, just rather suspenseful.
smuggling sulphur —
this was when the Constabulary found out about the Prime Minister’s grand plan. the Prime Minister was constructing tons of weapons, in particular, the Invincible Arms.
Dominic ‘betrays’ them and joins the evil prime minister —
the Constabulary was in a mess. it was up to The Four to be united and try to save the day. it was also here that Dominic pretends to join the Prime Minister, who’d got Prince Qi into his plan too. Dominic was also working with Chief Ling, who didn’t want to be used by the Prime Minister anymore. furthermore, Ron had abducted Cilla to blackmail Chief Ling. in the end, Joel betrayed his father and killed him to win the Prime Minister’s trust.
Chief Ling didn’t die, but managed to crawl a distance and was found by Cilla. on his deathbed, Chief Ling handed Cilla over to Ron – again?! this was the same with Kenneth and Selena!
the Prime Minister realised that Dominic was bluffing and locked him up. Halina and Selena were also locked up. Vivi joined them later when she returned to the city to retrieve a pair of shoes she’d made for Sammul – Sammul and Kenneth’s family had run to a safer place.
the ultimate invincible arms —
with the General’s help, The Four attempt to make their way to the altar, where the insurgency will take place. one of Sammul’s foster fathers sacrifices his life to stop Joel’s Invincible Arms which had wiped out the General’s troops and threatened to kill Sammul, the General and Kenneth. The Four finally make their way to the altar, where the Prime Minister had frightened the Emperor to hand over his headgear.
the final battle was against the Invincible Arms. Raymond manages to shoot a blade into the Invincible Arms’ heart, and that stops it from destructing. the Prime Minister, highly skilled in martial arts, fights The Four. but in a twist, his heart ruptures, as Kate had betrayed him and given him the ‘bull hair needles’; The Four manage to defeat him easily and he dies – finally!! :)
in the end, everything is well in the Constabulary. everything except everyone’s love lives, which were empty. Kate used her internal energy to purge the poison from Dominic, Halina, Selena and Vivi; she kinda redeemed herself by saving their lives, and killing the Prime Minister. as a result, she was on the verge of death and she had really fallen for Raymond… she left Raymond as she didn’t want him to see her dying. she didn’t die, but spent her life curing people, wearing a veil, as one side of her face was disfigured…
as for Sammul, he wanted to confess to Vivi, but through those usual misunderstandings where he thought she knew what he was thinking when she was talking about something else, she figured he agreed to let her go to another city to learn some craft or something. that’s the end of their relationship.
Ron and Cilla’s relationship ended even more strangely. first, Joel came back, and he even threatened to throw his sister off the city wall. at that moment, he saw his father, and was so scared by that so-called apparition that he backed off and fell to his death. with his death, Cilla had no more family on earth, and was lamenting on how miserable she was. Ron had already fallen for her, but whenever he wanted to confess, they got interrupted. in the end, Cilla decided to become a nun – OMG! the look on Ron’s face was so disappointed and dejected! it was sad, but since her character really annoyed me, i was glad for Ron hahahahh :D
Kenneth and Selena’s relationship was by far my favourite – they were so cute together! as Selena was blinded by Kate earlier on, she finally could see, and that was when she agreed to marry Kenneth. but things weren’t that simple. all the Blue Sky Sect guys came back and begged her to be their leader again; she ended up postponing her wedding with Kenneth…
as for Dominic, he wanted Crystal to stay, since Prince Qi had died already. however, she decided to leave. guess they weren’t meant to be together. blah, i didn’t feel anything for them actually.
The Four become legendary. the ending scene is pretty cool, where the four of them are fighting against thousands. Raymond says “Brothers, we’ll fight to the end. if we don’t make it, we’ll see each other in the next life”. classic! :)
characters & acting:
THE GOOD GUYS
Raymond Lam as Heartless 無情 (Wu Qing/ Mo Ching)
he was so cold! wheelchair-bound (caused by Iron Fist’s older brother when Heartless was just a baby), he was nonetheless well-versed in martial arts, and his wheelchair hid various weapons. i felt it was pretty sweet when he first fell for Zhiyan, ‘cos he actually smiled and looked really blissful. being the brains of The Four, he was also really observant and could draw really well – haha, multi-talented!
yes, like in real life, hehehehehh :D Raymond did pretty well here. i disliked his character for most of the show, ‘cos i find it hard to like a character who was basically devoid of feelings. but it was really painful to see Heartless heartbroken when he realised Zhiyan was using them; Zhiyan was his weak spot – no matter how ‘heartless’ he was, he always trusted her despite his brain telling him not to. it proved he had a heart.
Kenneth Ma as Iron Fist 鐵手 (Tie Shou/ Tit Sau)
he was the Mr. Nice Guy. he tried to keep the peace, and was on good terms (or at least tried his very best) with the other 3. his Iron Fists were really powerful. i thought it’d get quite interesting ‘cos it seemed Iron Fist was also fond of Zhiyan. but i guess the romance element in this series was quite clear-cut, and although i didn’t like Ruofei much when the series began, i grew to love their pairing.
Iron Fist was one of my favourite characters – he was filial and cared so much for his family; he cared for his friends, he was loyal and trustworthy; those episodes where he was framed were the most painful. it was so sad to see him convicted for something he didn’t do, and for the lovers to be parted :(
although this role was probably not a breakthrough role, Kenneth did a great job! i really enjoyed watching Iron Fist :)
Sammul Chan as Chaser 追命 (Zhui Ming/ Jui Ming)
the joker and lazy bum of the group. he was equip with elevation skills, which made him very swift. previously a swindler and a flirt, he was a member of The Four who was least likely to be a hero. he didn’t know when to shut his mouth and just blabbed at the wrong moments. but he added life to the show, as his nonsense lightened the atmosphere!
i found his pairing with Youdong really sweet, but it seemed that he was just playing and was not serious. after Youdong was abducted, in the scene where he let Iron Fist beat him up without retaliating – it was such a touching scene. Chaser’s tears at the end of the scene made us realise exactly how much he really cared for Youdong…
this is not an iconic role for Sammul. nevertheless, he did well; his expressions were really great! along with Iron Fist, he was one of my favourite characters :)
Ron Ng as Cold Blood 冷血 (Leng Xue/ Lang Huet)
the quiet one of The Four. he was previously an assassin, with no conscience at all. he was an expert at swordplay. his love story was the most awful of the lot! Xiaodao was so irritating! i can’t believe how he could’ve fallen for her in the last episode. she was such a weak character who was so naive.
Ron never smiled as Cold Blood. that was pretty amazing. he was really really ’emo’ and spoke so little. i think this role made me see Ron in yet another light. his acting has really improved by leaps and bounds! :)
Dominic Lam as Zhuge Zhengwo 諸葛正我 (Chu Kot Ching Ngo)
the mentor. most of Zhuge’s scenes are shared with The Four or the Prime Minister. under his heroic and somewhat nonchalant facade, he hid many secrets, namely his past with Yanhong and about Heartless and Iron Fist’s births. what irritated me was his sudden downfall – that was really disappointing.
i thought Dominic looked really funny in his Constable uniform! the role wasn’t very challenging, as Dominic looked pretty much the same when battling whatever crisis. the only notable mention is when Dominic pretended to betray The Four and join the Prime Minister’s insurgency plan – the part where he stabbed Sammul – i was really afraid that he had turned evil!
Ram Tseung as General Shu 舒無戲 (Sue Mo Hei)
he was one of the good guys in the Royal Court, and Zhuge’s good friend. he lasted till the end, but did not make much of an impact… i wasn’t convinced he was a powerful general though. he just doesn’t look it.
Gordon Liu as Chief Lan Po Tian 藍破天 (Lam Po Tin)
he was the only one who could’ve beaten Chief Ling to become the ruler of the martial arts world; his death was due to foul-play – part of the Prime Minister’s plan. his untimely death in the series made me so mad! i was actually quite surprised they wrote Gordon off so quickly!
Kate Tsui as Sang Zhiyan 桑芷妍 (Song Tze Yeen)
the doctor and spy. i didn’t know she was the spy when the series began! Zhiyan the doctor was really sweet; she was knowledgeable, clever, caring. when she was reporting to her ‘master’ the Prime Minister, she was cold and mechanical. she killed without batting an eyelid – that was pretty creepy.
this is a great character; it’s very well-written – there were 2 sides of her, and we could see the conflict between performing her duties, and listening to her heart, which was with Heartless already. i really hated the parts where she was acting all innocent – oh gosh, i really wanted to slap her!
Kate did a great job! i loved her as Zhiyan the doctor, and i hated her when she killed ruthlessly and towards the end when she was about to be exposed; and after she was exposed.
Selena Li as Lan Ruofei 藍若飛 (Lam Yeut Fei)
she was a really rash spoilt girl in the beginning. she did everything for her father’s Blue Sky Sect. her guts in the competition were commendable; and her expressions when she actually won 2 of her matches were really cute!
i enjoyed how her relationship with Iron Fist grew; she couldn’t stand him at first, but they both grew to care a lot for each other. she changed and grew up after her father died, and was ready to put down the hatred and pick herself up.
Selena was really likable after her father died, but unfortunately, scenes focusing on her decreased from that point onwards. nevertheless, she was enjoyable to watch :)
Vivi Lee as Tie Youdong 鐵游冬 (Tit Yau Dung)
she’s Iron Fist’s younger sister and a carpenter! she liked Chaser and although her brother warned her about not getting too close to Chaser, she still did.
the sad part was when she helped the foreign prince escape only to be re-captured and raped. it was really really sad :( after that, she was in the most miserable condition, suicidal and almost died! i was so glad when she finally came to her senses – with Chaser’s dying stunt which was real! he almost drowned! i guess that strengthened their relationship… but it was not to be in the end. i was really sad. their blossoming relationship just ended there – anti-climax!
Vivi’s not an actress who has played very notable roles; when i saw her Wiki, i realised that she was in “Pages of Treasures” as this really awful girl! and Vivi was so likable and sweet here!
Cilla Kung as Ling Xiaodao 凌小刀 (Ling Siu Do)
she’s Chief Ling’s daughter who is naive and annoying. Xiaodao really got on my nerves! she was hopelessly in love with Cold Blood, and kept pestering him.
i was really really surprised – i mean, my jaw dropped – when she decided to become a nun! yet another anti-climax ending of a relationship! but i guess Ron was better off without her. hahahhh :D
i’m not a fan of Cilla’s at all. especially not after this awful role! i don’t know if the role made her unlikable, or she is just unlikable. she really needs another role to change this impression i have of her now!
Crystal Tin as Qu Yanhong 曲嫣紅 (Kuk Yin Hung)
the Prince’s wife. she is a very clever woman, well-versed in martial arts, as she was Zhuge’s fellow disciple years ago. she was also Zhuge’s ex-lover, but she blames Zhuge for her father’s suicide and hates him to the core now.
when she finds out the truth about her father’s death, she is grateful to him and tries to help him by putting in a good word with her husband, the Prince. she is hurt when Zhuge uses her as a stepping stone to enter the Prime Minister’s insurgency plan; when Zhuge urges her to stay in the end, she decides to leave, stating that they have no affinity in this life.
i don’t find Crystal particularly good in ancient series. she doesn’t look like she fits. however, i must say that her character was well-written and her performance was very convincing :)
Halina Tam as Piao Xue 飄雪 (Piu Seut)
[unable to find a photo]
the Constabulary’s housekeeper. she was Zhuge’s confidant, and at one point, she was under suspicion for being the mole. her role was nothing special at all; other than 1 point where The Four were all being punished and she made them do chores :)
THE BAD GUYS
Lau Kong as Cai Jing 蔡京 (Choi Jing)
the ultimate evil guy. this ambitious Prime Minister is at odds with Zhuge and General Shu, and attempts to put them down in front of the Emperor at every chance he has. the Emperor listens to him and this makes his insurgency plan possible. his pawn is Chief Ling, who helps him control the martial arts world.
his secret agent and spy is Zhiyan, whom he saved when she was a child. she owes him a huge debt because of this and listens and acts on his every instruction. he is well-versed in martial arts, and wants the crown for himself. he almost succeeds in the insurgency with his Invincible Arms and Zhiyan’s methods; however, it appears he goes mad on the altar when the Emperor hands his headgear over to him in fear. of course, The Four save the day and manage to kill him; with Zhiyan’s help no less.
Lau Kong is brilliant! i hated Cai Jing so much i really really really wanted him to die! i couldn’t believe the extent of his evilness and his wicked heart. wow. amazing performance!
Felix Lok as Ling Luoshi 凌落石 (Ling Lok Sek)
yet again, Felix Lok plays an evil character. and does it well again :)
i was so infuriated when he killed Chief Hong 洪飛虎 (Pierre Ngo’s father) when he was already so badly injured and obviously could not fight back already!
however, his character had another side to him – he cared a lot of his children, and attempted to send them away so they would not be implicated in the Prime Minister’s insurgency plan. unlike the Prime Minister, he was not an entirely ruthless and heartless character. his last appearance as an apparition sent his son to his death – good riddance.
Joel Chan as Ling Xiaogu 凌小骨 (Ling Siu Kwat)
Joel Chan is one of my favourite baddies. he does evil roles so well… but he’s also so versatile!
my my, he even killed his father! Ling Xiaogu was such a stupid character; he was a stupid baddie. he even killed his father to gain the Prime Minister’s trust! i really couldn’t believe that! Ling Xiaogu seemed like just a potato-print of his father; he was just well… going with the flow. he didn’t do anything notable – other than killing his father, which was really surprising!
THE STUPID GUYS
Savio Tsang as Prince Qi 趙昌 (Chiu Cheung)
the Emperor’s younger brother: he was used by the Prime Minister to stage the insurgency; he was a pawn who was killed. what a miserable character!
as usual, Savio is really versatile. i really really detested this stupid Prince!
Henry Yue as Emperor Huizong 宋徽宗 of the Song Dynasty
oh mann. i can’t believe how stupid the Emperor was! and did you all notice, but Henry had a swollen eye for the entire series?
this series was great! i enjoyed it a lot; i was really addicted to it. i guess it has to do with the complexity of the plot and the interesting cases. there were enough evil people, and the characters were really diverse and had their own very distinct personalities.
the acting was up to par, and although i wasn’t too sure of the 2 unknown females – Vivi and Cilla – only Cilla disappointed.
The Four leads were really enjoyable to watch – i liked it especially when they became good brothers :)
oh wow! i’m finally done! i think i didn’t succeed in making this a shorter review, and i put too many pictures inside again! argh!
please tell me what you all think! thanks!! :D
i hope you guys enjoyed reading!! :)
**ALL PHOTOS ARE PROPERTY OF TVB (screencaps by me)**