The film centers on Marcus, played by Will Yun Lee who starred in last years remake of Total Recall. Marcus is a gun for hire, who has been commissioned to kill a husband and his wife. As the film begins, Marcus is awaiting final payment for his services in his hotel room. He is soon joined by his ‘assassin’ mentor, Eli, his former lover and fellow assassin, Eva newbie’ , and an upcoming ‘assassin, Chase. There seems to be an issue with the ‘hit’ that Marcus was hired to do, and the film goes into great, agonizing details of the events which have led these four individuals to arrive at this hotel room, on this night, at this specific time. The three guests have two hours to determine what events have actually transpired during the Marcus ‘hit’ before an anticipated phone call from the boss takes place.
Aside from periodic flashbacks, 4 Assassins is almost entirely set within Marcus’s suite. There is very little action, lots of pointless talking. It feels like this entire movie could have been a very short story, or a monologue. So the four squabble, reminisce, have dinner and wait for the inevitable phone call signalling it is time to terminate Marcus. That is basically the whole movie. The dialogue isn’t always quite as sharp and clever as the makers would like to think it is but the cast share genuine chemistry: especially Ferrer and Yun Lee who really feel like old friends and infuse their characters with actual personality. If you’re expecting a “bang-bang-guns-ablazing-shoot’em up” as suggested by the title — look elsewhere.
Despite the absence of copious action and the confined setting, the film never drags and tension is built quite nicely even if the climax if fairly predictable. That is about the only nice thing I can say about the film. But if you’re into a character study of four killers examining how they got to where they are while dealing with an unfinished hit, then this is for you. Yes, it takes it’s time. But it’s a rewarding slow build to a tense climax. Will Yun Lee and Miguel Ferrer are stand-outs in a well-rounded cast. I believe the film would have been a much better film, if the film would have tracked the trials and tribulations of the life Marcus. Mentored by Eli at the age of 15 to become a viable assassin, and united with Eva to become a forcible killing duo; this is the story we the audience wanted to see.
I cant even recommend this movie as something to watch when you have nothing better to do. Perhaps a better name for this film would have been ‘Bore Assassins’. For a film that’s only 80 minutes, it really drags. I also didn’t care for the ending – is Marcus dead or not? Nah, I won’t go into spoiler territory but just take my words for it. This film sucks. First 10 minutes gave me hope that it might get good, but it didn’t. There is very little action, lots of pointless talking. It feels like this entire movie could have been a very short story, or a monologue. Pass on this film.