I Am Number Four - Blu-ray Review

'its got all the charm, originality and cleverness of gravel'

Five minutes in to I Am Number Four you will have already heard two semi-relevant pop songs blare out above the racket happening on screen. Doing the maths here is simple. Five minutes + Four (I Am) + Two pop songs = you're in for a tweenage friendly time of it, a science-fiction film aimed squarely at the 11-15 market.

As far as that goes, I Am Number Four proves reasonably successful. This is, roughly, 90210 with murderous alien dogs, extras from a Kiss live show and Timothy Olyphant. Alex Pettyfer in the lead is a bit too stony-faced but still proves charismatic enough, the rumours of his abrasive on-set personality all but vanished on-screen, a ringing endorsement of his acting talent, albeit one actors don't exactly strive for. Technically too, this is a superb Blu-ray transfer; lens flare, snapping sound and bright lights all working well in HD. The script - a team effort from Alfred Gough, Miles Millar and Marti Noxon - shows some Diablo Cody-style smarts early on before petering out somewhat in the final two thirds.

In fact, petering out is exactly the film's main problem. At the start, co-star Callan McAuliffe says of the school bully 'he's in the third year of the best four years of life', which is quite smart, but by the end he's telling someone, presumably the audience, that he 'plays a lot of Xbox'. It's meant to be a throwaway witticism but its got all the charm, originality and cleverness of gravel, a world away from the early moments, which promised so much more.

The late introduction of a character who's been on the fringes of the plot from the start is a miss-step, taking the focus away from love interest Dianna Agron, who does well. The action too, so well used in its sparseness throughout, becomes clunky and predictable and the muddled villains, as is so often the case in this sort of offering, go from uber-threatening Terminators to easy-to-kill pussy cats.

It's perhaps not as awful as two stars might initially suggest, but nor is it good enough to get anywhere near three. It's shoddy, in short. A mess of some good ideas, some teenage clich├ęs and a lot of wasted work. Director D.J. Caruso probably deserves to shoulder a lot of the blame.

Look further...

'Never, EEEVVVEEERRR, market your film as the “Twilight for Men”. That is about as a good of an idea as swimming in a lake with piranha.' - Enter The Man-Cave, 3.5/5

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