Newest Review: ... Mercier (Garrett Hedlund) - The rock boy, musician and the baby of the family Angel Mercier (Tyrese Gibson) - Pretty big boy ***O... more
Revenge times four
Four Brothers (DVD)
Member Name: sunmeilan
Four Brothers (DVD)
Advantages: Action from start to finish
Disadvantages: Some will find it too violent
When Evelyn Mercer is shot dead during a hold-up in a local shop, her four sons, Bobby, Angel, Jeremiah and Jack, are devastated. They were all adopted and the general consensus is that if Evelyn hadn't come into their lives, they would be dead or in prison by now. As it is, they are known for their illegal behaviour on occasion. After the funeral, one of them suggests that they make enquiries and find out who was responsible for the hold-up. Before they know it, they are involved in all-out gun warfare with the local criminal fraternity, as well as having the police on their backs. Can they get to the bottom of Evelyn's death while keeping their own lives at the same time? Or are they doomed to fail?
Mark Wahlberg plays Bobby and comes across as being the eldest brother who is also the leader. I have been unsure of some of his performances in the past - he has given some dodgy ones, but he impressed me a lot as Bobby. The overall feeling is that, had he not worked hard to bring the brothers together, they would have all gone their separate ways. He certainly cares a great deal for them, especially the youngest, Jack, played by Garrett Hedlund. Unfortunately, Hedlund probably has the smallest role of the brothers, but what we do see of his performance is excellent, and he brings quite a lot of humour to the relationship between the four brothers.
Tyrese Gibson and Andre Benjamin are also excellent as Angel and Jeremiah. Gibson's Angel initially seems like the 'pussy' of the four - he is hen-pecked and just wants a quiet life. However, the love for his brothers that his adopted mother instilled in him eventually comes to the fore and he proves that he will do anything for him. Benjamin's Jeremiah seems like a much harder case. He is apparently a successful businessman with a nice house, car, wife and children, but there is a little more to him than that. Benjamin handles that well, keeping his character mysterious until over half-way through the film when we begin to see the real side of him. All the actors do a great job at acting like real brothers - although their skin colours are quite different.
A couple of other actors also deserve a mention. Terrence Howard is great as the 'good detective' who is investigating Evelyn's death and then ends up trying to keep the brothers out of trouble. His partner, the mean Detective Fowler, played by Josh Charles, is a really nasty piece of work, admirably portrayed by Charles. I also loved Sofi, played by Sofia Vergara. She is Angel's girlfriend and certainly has a sharp tongue in her head, almost constantly fighting with the brothers. She is highly entertaining though and I liked the female touch that the character brought. Finally, Chiwetel Ejiofor (the British actor from Kinky Boots) plays the king of the gangsters and is really superb and utterly convincing.
The emphasis of the film is, from the start, action and violence. It hardly ever stops and it is testament to the skills of the actors that they manage to give their characters some body in between all the action - they really don't have much of an opportunity. Some of the action scenes are great, especially the car chases - I'm not usually impressed by action scenes, but these were excellent. However, it is the fighting - with guns and hands - that is most impressive. There is a great deal of blood spilled, resulting in more than one death, so it is certainly not a film for the weak-stomached. There's a classification of 15 in the UK for this film - I actually expected it to be higher, so parents may want to monitor their children's viewing. There's also a lot of bad language.
I really enjoyed the story. It is ultimately about revenge, and, having seen any number of revenge films, I wasn't really expecting it to be all that good. However, the script is excellent, the character development is well done for this type of film and there are a couple of twists in the story that prevent it from being as straightforward as I originally thought it was going to be. Best of all is the injection of humour in the relationship with the brothers. This really does lift it above many of its competitors, particularly as it is so convincing. John Singleton made a good decision in keeping the set simple - it is generally filmed either inside or outside the house, or in a white wasteland of snow and ice, which allows the story to be played out without a complicated and distracting background.
The soundtrack is superb, including tracks by The Temptations, Jefferson Airplane, Marvin Gaye, Kanye West and Willie Hutch, with the softer tracks complimenting the quieter, sadder moments and the louder, more aggressive ones accompanying the more violent moments.
There are a number of extras with the DVD, primarily a selection of four featurettes, which discuss different aspects of the film - behind the scenes, production and the main shoot-out in particular. They weren't anything out of the ordinary, but are worth a glance if you enjoyed the main feature. Apart from that, there's an audio commentary by the director, John Singleton and a selection of deleted scenes - all of them deleted because they weren't really necessary for the story, so it isn't really necessary to watch them. Finally, there's a trailer.
This is a violent, action-packed film and won't appeal to everyone. However, for a revenge film, I think there is a good story, the characters are appealing and their interaction is fun to watch, plus the action is well-filmed. It's not the best revenge film I've ever seen, but I'd certainly watch it again and am glad to have it in my DVD collection. By all means watch it if you don't mind violence and bad language - it's worth purchasing, especially if you can get it at a reasonable price. Four stars out of five.
The DVD is available from play.com for £3.99.
Running time: 109 minutes
Summary: A good action film