Classic Intel: Four Brothers - DVD Review

'a purely standard revenge story but the jovial atmosphere between the leads and Singleton's pacy direction keeps things interesting'

Director John Singleton’s Four Brothers is set for a sequel in the near future, a project apparently being pushed through primarily by star Mark Wahlberg. That Marky-Mark wants to return to this territory is fairly unsurprising; he plays the toughest of a set of four tough brothers who have grown up in a tough neighbourhood, surrounded by tough people. For an actor who has built a reputation on playing generally likable tough guys this is hardly a stretch.

Credit to Wahlberg's not insignificant charm and charisma though that watching him play this sort of character remains entirely enjoyable. Good chemistry with co-stars Tyrese Gibson and André Benjamin pull Four Brothers through, despite a largely forgettable turn from fourth brother (and soon-to-be Tron: Legacy star) Garrett Hedlund. The plot, which is based on 1960s Western The Sons Of Katie Elder, is a purely standard revenge story (the brothers are chasing down the men who murdered their mother) but the jovial atmosphere between the leads and Singleton's pacy direction keeps things interesting.

Strong cinematography from Peter Menzies Jr. and production design from Keith Brian Burns craft the Detroit setting as a realistically cold, bleak and isolated place - replicating the type of feeling generated in the Western source material which is adapted by screenwriters David Elliot and Paul Lovett. The writing recovers well from a first ten minutes which is completely un-diluted exposition about who the brothers are, where they've come from and how badass they are, evolving into the threatening language of the location and clever shared moments between the leads.

In fact, the only element that feels out of place in all of this is Chiwetel Ejiofor, completely miss cast as the local gang boss and chewing up scenery at a rate of knots. It's a shame, especially seeing as the rest of the support is from such strong actors as Terrence Howard and the nefarious Josh Charles, the latter basically reprising his role from S.W.A.T a few years earlier. Singleton tries hard to make Ejiofor an almost cartoonish - and therefore outlandishly acceptable - feature of the film but really, the character and the actor just don't fit and in the end Four Brothers suffers from the lack of a decent and substantial evil-doer, strangling a good first two thirds with a final one which is far too reliant on happenstance, coincidence and Ejiofor.

Look further...

'four brothers cruise all around Detroit committing multiple crimes without anybody seeming to care' - CanMag, 2.5/5


  1. I thought this was fairly mediocre. Fairly low on action and the movie isn't compelling or engaging enough to aspire to be more than that. Performances were average at best. I would 2 stars out of 5 for me ;)

  2. I'm sure there's many that would argue the same as you but I quite enjoyed it and this was my second viewing! Hedlund is awful but the other performance were acceptable I thought - even Tyrese did OK!

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