Published Aug 01, 2005Chock full of action and violence, Four Brothers is a revenge fantasy that pits truly evil criminals against criminals with hearts of gold.
The titular brothers are the Mercers - Bobby (Mark Wahlberg), Jeremiah (Andre "3000" Benjamin), Angel (Tyrese Gibson), and Jack (Garrett Hedlund) - all ex-delinquents who come together after their unbelievably saintly adopted mother (Fionnula Flanagan) is gunned down in a liquor store hold up. The brothers want revenge, and go around town kicking ass and shooting things up until they uncover the massive conspiracy that resulted in their mother's death.
The film is at its best when focusing on the relationship between the brothers, their tough-guy banter barely masking their obvious affection for one another. With the movie's unrelenting violence, these moments of levity are extremely welcome. Director John Singleton keeps the action going and makes the violence just stylised and cartoon-y enough to be palatable, but sometimes approaches this story with a heavy hand, glorifying his heroes to the point of pomposity.
There are a few glaring plot holes, and not a lot of subtlety of character - the bad guys, especially lead gangsta Victor Sweet (Chiwetel Ejifor playing against type), are ridiculously bad, while the nobility of the brothers is never questioned, even while they're on a killing rampage.
Fortunately, the lead actors have boatloads of charm between them, and are fun to watch when they're not taking themselves too seriously. (Paramount)