Appearances can be deceiving. "Four Brothers" looked like your standard revenge flick, with lackluster previews and Andre 3000 to boot. But, directed by John Singleton, "Four Brothers" is a funny, emotional and action-packed thriller that far exceeds expectations.
Following the murder of their mother, four adopted brothers, two black, two white, are brought together by her funeral. Though one of them (Andre 3000) is attempting to go straight after a life of crime, the other three are dead set on revenge, but what they discover is that their mother was not just the victim of a robbery-gone-bad but instead a calculated execution arranged by an evil mobster. As mourning turns to vengeance, their lives are turned upside down as they begin to ruffle the wrong feathers.
Singleton, best known for "Boyz in the Hood," has another urban classic here. Not quite as good as the film that kick-started his career, of course, "Four Brothers" has everything, from emotional drama to plenty of laughs to some heart-pounding action. The film is gritty and believable, thanks to deep characters that we quickly connect with despite their harsh form of justice. A couple fast editing mistakes are easily forgiven thanks to the look, feel and pace of the rest of the film.
"Four Brothers" is also complimented by great acting by ever cast member, including André Benjamin - er, Andre 3000. Mark Wahlberg, as usual, is great; he clearly had a lot of fun in the role. How many other characters can cry over a dead mother and then go out and ruthlessly shoot someone in the head? Tyrese Gibson (Singleton's "Baby Boy," another good film) and Garrett Hedlund ("Friday Night Lights") are also good in their respective roles. Chiwetel Ejiofor ("Dirty Pretty Things") plays a sinister villain.
Little else need be said about the movie. "Four Brothers" is an excellent thriller that has it all.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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