Movie Reviews: Four Brothers




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     Paramount Pictures (148 minutes)
     Four brothers return home to attend the funeral of their adopted mother and to avenge her death.
     Mark Wahlberg, Andre (3000) Benjamin, Tyrese Gibson, Garrett Hedlund.
Bottom Line:

Briana McNeil

The Mercer brothers have gathered in the family home to mourn and avenge their mother’s death. Through their old neighborhood connections the brothers find out that she was not a victim of circumstance but a targeted victim of a vicious execution. Intent on avenging her death the brothers take the law into their own hands unraveling the mystery of her execution and uncovering corruption and wrong doing in the dilapidated city.

Set in Detroit, Michigan, the film opens with Bobby Mercer, played by Mark Wahlberg, driving home to attend his adopted mother’s funeral. Bobby is the oldest son of Evelyn Mercer, played by Fionnula Flanagan. The good-hearted white woman is a community matriarch, mothering hundreds of foster care children, and adopting the four most troubled of the bunch. The other brothers, Jeremiah Mercer, played by film newcomer Andre (3000) Benjamin, Angel Mercer, played by model/singer turned actor Tyrese Gibson, and Jack Mercer played by Garrett Hedlund are known as the notorious Mercer Boys; brothers with reputations as troublemakers and degenerates.

The brothers each must deal with the death of the woman who took them in and called them her own. For a compelling story line, the script is sparse in background and Singleton doesn’t fill in the blanks. We ultimately have no sense of who Evelyn Mercer was, or how the brothers grew up. What Singleton does right is create a believable relationship between the four brothers. They mess with each other just like any siblings would do, cracking on each other’s looks, their girls and their masculinity.

Like other John Singleton movies this film is burdened with too much music celebrity star power to ring true. While Andre Benjamin is fairly convincing as a married family man, he fails to bring the depth to his character that a more seasoned actor could. Even veteran Mark Wahlberg doesn’t bring much dimension to his role. He is all snarls, growls and language, with none of the vulnerability that is ultimately hiding behind such a broken man. Terrance Howard’s role, as Lieutenant Green is too brief, especially after his excellent performances in "Crash" and "Hustle and Flow."

While "Four Brothers" has the potential to be compelling it is overloaded with action scenes that are reminiscent of "2Fast 2Furious." The action sequences are shot too close and the major chase scene in the movie takes place in a virtual white out blizzard. Still, while the film lacks subtlety it is has enough action, celebrity and intrigue to make it worth seeing.



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