Four Brothers John Singleton

There's a real movie hidden in the schlock of Four Brothers, but it's made by mediocre minds who can't see six inches in front of their faces. The brothers in question (Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, Andre 3000 and Garrett Hedlund) are the ex-con adoptive sons of a woman killed in a robbery; looking for revenge, they stumble upon a police/crime conspiracy and blunder their way deeper and deeper into trouble. At first, you sort of hope that the movie is going to undercut the heroes' pointless drive for revenge and turn into a sort of Hollywood Francesco Rosi exercise in (failed) realism. Unfortunately, director John Singleton tries to appease both social conscience and gangsta pop imperatives, and only succeeds in embarrassing himself considerably. The attempts to lend seriousness to the increasingly ridiculous proceedings only wind up sucking whatever fun might have been had, and the feeble attempts at drama are crushed by the stupid thriller machinations that grind up everything extraneous in their teeth. Singleton also can't decide whether he's satirising or upholding the macho codes the brothers hold and blows off a sexy female hanger-on while simultaneously trying to use her as a teacher's aid. The whole thing just grates after a while and ultimately commits suicide in a ludicrous fight scene that trivialises everything. Extras include a John Singleton commentary track, four featurettes on the film's look, the film's "crafting," the film's shootout scene and the characters that lavish much detail on silly ideas (such as the idea that the film is, in fact, a "western"), nine deleted scenes, and the trailer. (Paramount)