The Four Detective Guards


Reviewed by: sukting

June 02, 2007

Rating: three

How long
30 episodes

Foreword
How does In Pyo fare for this debut China swordsman drama? Will he look out of place from the rest?

Story – 3 cases in all

Case 1

A pugilist expert is castrated and is strangled to death by a whip. The 4 constables find his body tying to a ceiling pole and wonder who hates him so much. He is a womanizer and they initially suspect it to be the doing of one of his sworn brothers. He has affairs with his wife but Zhui Ming tests his skills by provoking him to rule him out. Tie Shou has noticed that the way of using the whip is different.

Fu Rong grows to love the excitement and wants to be the first female constable. The men protest as this is too dangerous. You will have a good laugh when Marquis Zhu Ge throws her out from his cart as she tries to request him to accept her as his new disciple. She isn’t deterred and wants to try her best.

Hu Die is caught by Tie Shou when she tries to steal something. They come to love each other. Fu Rong is an undercover to live with Hu Die and her mother. Noticing that they are kind by nature, she becomes indecisive to want to help the constables to arrest them as they treat her well.

Hu Die admits seeing someone castrating the expert before she dies. It turns out to be her mother. She has been a thief to bring her up but is raped by the expert. She silently masters her skills to seek her revenge. However, she maintains that she doesn’t kill the expert. Seeing that Tie Shou wants to capture her daughter, she kills herself and Hu Die can’t forgive him after that so their romance ends up in smoke.

Tie Shou and Zhui Ming are framed to be the killers. So they have to seek refuge at Shui Che’s home when their master doesn’t believe them. Leng Xie is also framed for not being partial for another case and thrown into prison. Zhui Ming is angry when Ji Yan tells him that Wu Qing orders their arrest. He confronts Wu Qing and Wu Qing doesn’t fight back to claim his innocence.

He ends up getting seriously injured. The marquis is shocked to see him being thrown out from the wheelchair. This hurts Wu Qing so much that he returns the Marquis the constable medal, wanting to step down from his post. The Marquis doesn’t allow this and wants him to take time to recuperate instead. Tie Shou trusts Wu Qing and suspects something amiss. Later, even the Marquis is framed for trying to molest the young prince’s concubine and is arrested.

All then realize that it is Ji Yan’s doing to become the chief constable. Xuan is Ji Yan’s master and Ji Yan submits all evidence to the Marquis. Xuan is enraged and sends all his men out, wanting to kill him. The constables arrange him to stay with Che for his safety. They finally claim their innocence with Fu Rong’s help – to find out who is the real murderer.

It turns to be Che when Ji Yan discovers that he knows martial arts and uses the whip the same way as the killer. His wife is raped by the expert and knowing that he is no match for him, he waits for Hu Die’s mother to leave before killing him. Fu Rong sobs when she is forced to turn him in. Tie Shou tries his best to find a way to save him. He realizes that Hu Die has stolen a necklace from the expert’s home.

The normal number should have 24 pearls but why is it having only 12? He breaks every one to find a message – the expert is supposed to be work in cahoots with Huang Xuan to kill the emperor on his birthday. So Che is released for killing a traitor. Ji Yan is killed during the process and all are upset although the case is solved. The Marquis decides to give Fu Rong a chance and she becomes a constable.

Case 2

Many officials are poisoned to death. All suspect to be the poison sect’s leader, Yi Ren’s doing to avenge her brother’s death. Yi Ren is puzzled as she has taught her sect members to be discreet after taking over it. Her father is also dead with her elder brother when the court tries to eliminate the sect. Tie Shou tracks her down but gets poisoned by her. She nurses him back to health and both fall in love. They sleep together.

After knowing what they have done, this breaks Fu Rong’s heart as she loves him. She has thought him to be dead after his disappearance. Evidence still goes against Yi Ren and she is sentenced to death. It is found that her father feigns death to seek revenge so Yi Ren dies while trying to protect Tie Shou from harm.

Case 3

Tie Shou’s heart dies after Yi Ren’s death so he goes into hiding. Many officials are killed mysteriously. All have a part of a treasure map tattoo on them. Tie Shou returns to assist with the investigations. In the meantime, Princess Qing Yao leaves home to elope with a man so the Marquis sends Tie Shou and Zhui Ming out to help her fiancé, Zhen get her back.

Zhen is a righteous general and is Zhui Ming’s childhood friend. Qing Yao becomes good friends with Fu Rong and gets her to assume her identity. She playfully wants to be her maid. The constables open their mouth wide but can’t bring themselves to uncover the lie as Qing Yao claims first. Things become complicated as Zhen ‘forgives’ Fu Rong for her doing and still agrees to marry her.

Finding Qing Yao’s temper unbearable, Zhen slaps her. How can she be so rude as a maid? Knowing that Zhen is angry and misses his meal, Fu Rong fixes a meal for him. Just then, Qing Yao realises that her lover is a cheat and discovers that Zhen is a nice man. But alas, it is too late. Even though Zhen gets to know their switched identity later, he still falls for Fu Rong and wants to marry her.

Qing Yao calls off their engagement angrily. Tie Shou is seriously injured while trying to protect them from the killers. He notices that Zhen has a tattoo on his chest. Although he isn’t involved in the case, he suspects his father General Cao to be the culprit. Wu Qing and Leng Xie later finds out that Tie Shou also has a tattoo on his back. They lock him up to keep him out of the case as his late father was formerly General Cao's subordinate.

Fu Rong is concerned over his injury and brews herbs for him. He is unappreciative and hurts her by saying that she can never match Yi Ren in his heart. Leng Xie knows that he wants to push her to marry Zhen and shakes his head. Qing Yao also impulsively wants to marry Tie Shou. Both flee after each knows who they actually love.

Zhen is badly affected when General Cao admits to the killings for the treasure map. It is still incomplete as the last part is still missing. He tries covering up for him but the emperor gets to know about it to strip off their titles. Still, Qing Yao chooses to stick with him.

Tie Shou searches his mind on who the culprit can be. The person knows what happens in their quarters well – it must be one of their men. True enough, it is the records holder. He injures Fu Rong seriously but knowing that he is dying, he swallows the remaining piece before exploding into pieces. Fu Rong becomes unconscious and Tie Shou dreams of her waking up.

She confesses being a jealous woman so he has to love her more than Yi Ren. He makes the promise and sure enough, he dotes on her after her recovery. Zhui Ming sighs when looking at the incomplete map – so they can’t have the treasure to themselves. However, Wu Qing is comforted that Tie Shou finally finds his love. The others agree with him.

Introduction on characters

1. Zhui Ming – Chung Hon Leung
He is cheeky and does things without second thoughts to spar with people with his powerful kicks. That is why Tie Shou doesn’t feel safe letting him working on cases on his own and often checks on him. He needs constant reminders. He likes Fu Rong but gives her his blessings to be with Tie Shou. You will laugh when he impersonates as a woman to get her away from her wedding ground!

Although Hon Leung’s acting is good, I find his role too impulsive and childish. Zhui Ming is supposedly to be as intelligent and calm as Tie Shou and not as boorish as turned out to be.

2. Tie Shou – Cha In Pyo
He is very dedicated and intelligent. However, he can be too cold at times to joke with others. So how and why does he attract 3 women to like him then? He uses his wits to solve every case but ends up liking one woman after another like a Romeo. His performance is acceptable but he is very stiff in love scenes.

3. Wu Qing – Zhu Lei
He is analytical among the four and they obey him. However, he also makes some wrong decisions along the way. Still, he isn’t afraid to admit it. I initially moan when I see the wheelchair – it is exactly the same one that Nie Yuan sat in ‘The famous four’. How cheeky the fighting scenes can be! Luckily they are reduced to a minimal. His role is quite restricted to chat most of the time. Lei has done well for this role.

4. Leng Xie – Jiang Yi
He resembles Wu Qing in character so he seldom makes mistakes. It is hard to gauge his acting as he hasa limited screen time.

5. Marquis Zhu Ge – Yue Yao Li
You feel like killing this old man for trusting outsiders instead of his own disciples. Luckily he discovers his mistakes otherwise they will be on the run forever.

6. Li Xiang - Yi Ren
She is cold and pretty with a mysterious background. She has a heavy burden to lead her family evil sect. Her whole body is poisoned since young so she can’t touch anyone – even the man she loves. Tie Shou is witty to cover himself with a cloth to enable her to do so. She is kind by nature so Tie Shou seeks to clear her name. Xiang is a famous host and suits the role. But many will hate her for causing the story to drag.

7. Shui Fu Rong – Wang Yan
She is gullible, rough, impulsive and willful. That is why the guys don’t think that she can make a good constable. I bet you have never seen such a rowdy Yan before. She can be funny and so talkative. This is so different from her usual demure and weak roles.

8. Qi Qing Yao – Wang Lu
She is the third daughter of the prince and loves romantic events. She escapes after her engagement to elope with a man to discover that he is a cheat. Her fiancé, Cao Zhen has many misunderstandings with her. Although she grows to love him later, both do not have a good ending. Lu is good as the spitfire.

9. Hei Hu Die – Jiang Qin Qin
She is kind and learns martial arts skills by her mother. They adopt many women who are deceived by men to rob the rich men. She hates constables to the core but changes her impression after loving Tie Shou. As usual, Qin Qin never lets us down with her excellent acting.

10. Liu Ji Yan – Tsui Kam Kong
He is cunning but loyal to his master. He is a planted agent by the Prime Minister Huang Xuan to harm the 4 constables. His main purpose is to seize the control. But later, Huang Xuan betrays him to leave him in the lurch. That is why he straightens his thoughts to turn over a new leaf. However, he is killed during an attack and all are upset over it.

Favourite character
Fu Rong – although she makes blunders, she often finds her way to talk out of it. She is just too nice to Tie Shou to forgive him repeatedly when he is always with other women.

Most hated character
Marquis Zhu Ge – he always can’t tell the right from the wrong. Can this man be their master?

Songs
The theme song ‘the pugilistic world’ and subtheme song ‘dream’. Although the dictation wasn’t that accurate, they were acceptable.

Interesting facts

Lei is tall and graduates from Shanghai Acting Academy. But he acted as Wu Qing to be trapped in a wheelchair. This was torture for him as he was an active person. Most of the time, he only required to give his juniors suggestions and did not get involved in many fighting scenes. Hon Leung and In Pyo had to work much harder than him. He seemed to be the first senior in and out of the role.

In Pyo expressed interest to learn Mandarin from him so he taught him in sentences slowly. He really laughed when the first phrase he picked up was ‘shut up’! He might look serious in the drama but he could be playful. Yan was careful to misplace things everywhere. To teach her a lesson, he hid her handphone in her acting shoe. She had a shock of her life when stepping on it. She yelled – can the first senior behave like this? He quickly apologized to her.

In Pyo’s acting fee was reputed to be US$10,000 for each episode. His demands were simple. He only requested 2 assistants and his family to come along. He took time to learn Mandarin. Although he completed his university education in the U.S., he believed that China would be his stepping stone and not Hollywood. He even invited reporters to the shooting scene. All were electrocuted upon seeing how romantic the scene was that showed Tie Shou with Yi Ren at the forest.

In Pyo is a Korean but he insisted to speak the lines in Mandarin. Yue Li and Kum Kong gave Yi a lot of pointers in his acting. Hon Leung was happy that the drama was well-received. Many praised his and In Pyo’s performance. Yi’s debut as Leng Xie also attracted attention. He realized that he had a lot to learn so he enrolled to study in Beijing Acting Academy after filming.

Although the serial claimed to be on the 4 constables, it was more like Tie Shou attracting 4 beauties. In Pyo joked that Tie Shou’s love life was more exciting than his constable life encounters as he is so indecisive to choose the woman he wants. To ‘win’ his love, all four had special costumes that gave him blurred vision. Qing Qing was elegant, Xiang mischievous, Yan was gentle while Lu was intelligent.

When the women hurt themselves in the fighting scenes, they did not expect special treatment. Although In Pyo did not know martial arts, he picked up fast. When he saw the clips, his mouth opened wide – was that really him?! After filming, he lamented that he had not played enough and wanted more!

In Pyo did not face any pressure when promoting this drama. He chose this role as he heard that the novel was popular in China. Choosing a role that many know can help him break into other markets. But he did not expect two other versions to come out at the same time. However their version was the closest to the novel so it was more close to a detective drama in ancient times. He also felt that he behaved more like a china man than a Korean man to respect them more.

The crew and cast called him ‘cousin’ – biao ge affectionally. Although he could not speak Mandarin, all thought they had no problems communicating with him. In fact, all were speechless when he could memorize his lines in chunks and never forgot a word. He was also used to having 3 video cameras shooting on him at the same time. Just give a glance and he would know what to do.

For example, the director shouted ‘get closer’ in Mandarin, he could hug Xiang closer to him without the interpreter’s help. All praise him – Xiang found him gentle. He would ask if the filming crew needed help when a staff member was hurt. Hon Leung described him as cheeky to love to play tricks on others. Qing Qing commented that he was cool but yet approachable. But she found the Korean language long-winded. Just a sentence would require In Pyo to say for a long time – isn’t it tough on his facial muscles?

In Pyo was cool in the drama. Behind the camera, he would pretend to fly like a butterfly with his hood and scared Hon Leung by pretending to be a ghost. There was a scene where Yi Ren was supposedly to be killed. He totally forgot about it and the camera shot him in. When the director shouted him to get away, he did so by sticking out his tongue. All actresses laughed – including Xiang who was going to be excuted.

When asked the actress he liked most, he replied he found Yan great. They shot from morning till dusk. Most Korean actresses would start complaining but Yan did not. He also learned a lot from her. The cast went to a ktv to celebrate Christmas. All fans were overjoyed and asked for their autographs. Hon Leung sang his own songs while the director sang a duet with Yan. In Pyo knew his singing of Mandarin songs was less than satisfactory so he danced to give them a big surprise.

The producer found In Pyo for the role as Tie Shou was the smartest and calmest among the four. His iron fist depicts power when displayed. In Pyo’s reaction will certainly send all to sprawl to the ground in laughter. He was frank to admit that his martial arts skills were lousy. If they got him to fight using sabers or swords, all will laugh uncontrollably non-stop. So he also preferred to act as this constable who required no weapons to show off his fists. In fact, he was so thrilled after seeing the opening of Tie Shou flying around that he immediately bought a bottle of wine to thank the martial arts director to drink together.

This drama was shown in Korea through a lukewarm slot so ratings were not very high. However, In Pyo was satisfied. He blushed when talking on the songs. He recorded them in Korea and got a teacher and singer to teach him. He thought it should be passable and posted it to China. But they sent it back to him, claiming that they did not know what he was singing. That was why he had to record again.

Some Wen Rui An novel fans thought In Pyo should not be too cold and hard as Tie Shou gives others warmth. How can Zhui Ming become a rebellious and pampered child? They were not that harsh on Lei and Yi as their roles are close to the characters in the novel.

Conclusion

Although the story isn’t close to the novel, (fans will say, oh no, not again?!) it dwells on criminal cases that I believe many will like more than other lousy adaptations. It has maintained the special trait of each constable. The others are low grade productions which are not worth mentioning.

The first case is splendid, the second boring while the third has no suspence. It will be better to switch the first with the last one. It is amusing to see how Hon Leung picks on Yan in many scenes. In Pyo is too tense over his debut role. He should be more natural to give more ‘flesh’ (not just how he bares his chest) to the story. Still, he does suit the image of a swordsman.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)

On songs : **1/2 (Scale of 5)



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