Publicity Stills of "Four Brothers"
(Courtesy from UIP)

Genre: Action/Thriller
Director: John Singleton
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, André Benjamin, Garrett Hedlund, Terrence Howard, Josh Charles, Sofia Vergara, and Chiwetel Ejiofor
RunTime: 1 hr 49 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: NC-16

Official Website: http://www.FourBrothersMovie.com

Release Date: 29 September 2005

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Synopsis :

In this urban action thriller, four adopted brothers reunite in Detroit at their mother’s funeral after she had been killed in a liquor store robbery. At the funeral, they realized that something was amiss behind how she died and who killed her. The four brothers resolved to solve the crime and avenge their mother's murder. Starring music group Outkast’s Andre Benjamin, Tyrese Gibson (2 Fast 2 Furious), Mark Wahlberg and Garrett Hedlund (Friday Night Lights). Directed by John Singleton (2 Fast 2 Furious, Boyz N the Hood).

Movie Review:

This tale of vengeance starts in a Detroit convenience store late one night. A young kid was caught stealing candy from the store and Evelyn Mercer was there to get this young kid off the hook from the store clerk. In that short scene, it reveals how nice and wise Evelyn Mercer was by pacifying the frightened young kid and yet teaches the kid not to shoplift again at the same time. Attachment to the kind elderly lady grows quickly in the first act and when the sudden robbery took the life of the elderly lady, viewers could easily sympathize with the brothers’ quest for punishment.

Bobby (Mark Wahlberg), Angel (Tyrese Gibson), Jeremiah (Andre Benjamin) and Jack (Garrett Hedlund), Four Brothers adopted by Evelyn, started to investigate their mom’s murder on their own. As they hunt down their mother’s killers, they soon find out that their mom’s death might have been a result of collateral damages from a convenience store robbery. Once the investigation got on its way, the film is on full throttle to the finale.

However the investigation could hardly be considered intelligent or well crafted. The four brothers use brutal and intimidating methods to gather the information for their mom’s killers. A lot of actions are based on their instinct and would often make one wonder the possibility if they have gotten the wrong information: A number people would have gotten hurt unnecessarily.

A lot of leeway was also given to this group of vigilante, especially after an intensive gun battle that happened in this film. If this was a scene in reality, the four brothers would probably find themselves behind bars before they can attempt any revenge for their mom.

But then this film assumed that their instincts are correct all the time and acts of vigilante is acceptable even by the police officers. To truly enjoy this film, viewers have to sit back and let the Four Brothers deal out their own brand of justice against the wrongdoers.

The real joy of this film lies on watching the cast of four different characters. Mark Wahlberg leads the cast as the main star and leader of the pack. He comes off as a natural in this role as a confrontational rough guy with a heart of gold who often acts on his instinct and without any care for consequences.

Tyrese Gibson’s performance as tough-but-tender Angel bought forth plenty of the comic relief in this movie. On one hand, he has this authoritative presence but on the other hand, he had to constantly give in to a demanding yet lovely girlfriend, resulting in awkward henpecked moments.

Andre Benjamin who is crossing over from the music scene to the movie industry did well with his role as the entrepreneur, Jeremiah Mercer, in short, the better off Mercer among the four brothers. Andre Benjamin gives his character a pleasing complexity: weighing the importance between taking care of his own family and joining the guys in taking risky revenge for his mom.

Garrett Hedlund’s role was the most limited and restrained as a sidekick little brother figure but brings a boyish dynamism to the cast. Other than that, his character sole purpose seems to serve as a plot device to accelerate the need for vengeance.

The four lead actors, who seem to be having a blast in this film, look like they had spent their lifetime on the rough streets of Detroit. Each of the brothers brought enough chemistry together to keep the movie moving to its climatic finale.

Other highlights of Four Brothers would be the action sequences that are brilliantly carried out. Notably are the breathtaking car chase in a blizzard and a high-caliber day light gun battles. After seeing how dangerous driving on an icy road in reality documentary such as “Caught on Video”, it made me wonder how they managed to capture these sequences of cars racing down the streets during a heavy fall of snow. This could easily be one of the best car chases in recent movie history.

The massive gun battles felt as exciting as though the viewer is in the midst of a paintball battle. The right amount of drama and editing of action sequences makes one want to join in the melee. These first rate action sequences themselves are well worth half the admission ticket price.

If you're in the mood to see bad guys get whacked hard and fast without a care for the consequences, Four Brother is just the right gritty and testosterone overdrive film for you.

Movie Rating:

(Uncompromising journey of four brother’s thirst for vengeance)

Review by Richard Lim Jr

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