STARRING: Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, André Benjamin, Garrett Hedlund
DIRECTOR: John Singleton
COUNTRY: United States
Four adopted brothers come to avenge their mother’s death in what appears to be a random killing in a grocery store robbery. However, the boys’ investigation of the death reveals more nefarious activities involving the one brother’s business dealings with a notorious local hoodlum. Two cops who are trying to solve the case may also not be what they seem. Evelyn Mercer, a foster parent and mother to four troubled boys, has been brutally gunned down in a convenience store robbery. Her adopted sons, now grown men, return home to bury their beloved mother and more importantly, take out the sons of guns that murdered her.
It’s a simple plot with plenty of opportunity to wreak havoc, and that’s just what Singleton does. The four boys launch into a mission of righteous vengeance which quickly turns into a weird blend of “Law and Order” and “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City”. Not giving the police one ounce of credit, the sons conduct their own style investigation, rooted heavily in the violent tactics they learned before being taken in by their sweet mother. Naturally, the boys are always a step ahead of the cops and uncover a much deeper conspiracy than they ever expected. In an odd way, I’m reminded of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, only Splinter is a kindly old lady who has been killed instead of kidnapped.
Whether it’s Mark Wahlberg teasing Garrett Hedlund’s runt-of-the-litter, or all four of them piling into the bathroom like kids, the small moments ring true. This keeps the energy levels high – when it strips down into a revenge thriller, the bickering foursome makes a refreshing change from the dour lone vigilante that usually stalks these kind of films.
But Singleton’s picked up a few bad habits from his times paddling in the blockbuster shallows. The villain — Detroit gangster Victor Sweet (Chiwitel Eijifor) — is so cartoonishly diabolical that all he’s missing is a cat and a secret underground lair. Such lack of sophistication isn’t disastrous, and Singleton’s ambition within the hackneyed revenge thriller genre is intriguing, with Four Brothers coming off as a kind of chilly urban Western. Heavy-handed in places and bad news for the Detroit Tourist Commission, this is still a slick, fun ensemble piece and a step back in the right direction for Singleton.
- Main cast performance.
- Stays true to the genre.
- Set design.
- Deaths, deaths everywhere!
- Heavy-handed in some areas.
- Who wants to go to Detroit?
- Chiwitel Eijifor’s performance.
SCORE: 6.0 / 10
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