Review by Gordon Justesen
Stars: Mark Wahlberg,
Tyrese Gibson, Andre Benjamin, Garrett Hedlund, Terrence Howard, Josh Charles,
Director: John Singleton
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Features: See Review
Length: 108 Minutes
Release Date: December 20, 2005
“If you keep knocking on the
Devil’s door long enough, somebody’s gonna answer you.”
John Singleton has emerged as a director specializing in
urban action thrillers. His first film, 1991’s Boyz N the Hood,
established him as a visceral filmmaking talent. Since then, Singleton has
switched gears, making much larger scale productions as Shaft, Rosewood
and 2 Fast 2 Furious.
His latest movie, Four Brothers, is one of his best
films since Boyz N the Hood. It’s an urban western mixed with some film
noir touches. At its core, it’s a revenge movie, and one of the grittier ones
to come around in recent memory.
What sets the plot in motion is the brutal killing of a
friendly elderly woman in a Detroit convenience store. The murder of the woman,
Evelyn Mercer (Fionnula Flanagan), reunites four young men who were once under
her care at a foster home. The men consider themselves close enough to be called
brothers. They are hot-tempered Bobby (Mark Wahlberg), ladies man Angel (Tyrese
Gibson), family man Jeremiah (Andre Benjamin) and punk rocker Jack (Garrett
Though the murder, caught on a store camera, appears to be
just another robbery-associated murder, the men suspect something more behind
it, and proceed to go knocking down doors until they find the very people
responsible. The cops on the case (Terrence Howard and Josh Charles) advise them
to let the police handle it, which of course ignored is in a heartbeat.
As the story progresses, Bobby and his brothers do come
across some unsavory individuals and administer some violent blows, as their
revenge trail leads all the way to reputed Detroit crime boss Victor Sweet (Chiwetel
Ejiofor). The plot gets thicker and more intense when it is revealed that one of
the brothers may have secretly been profiting from the murder in the form of
At this point, I don’t think it’s fair to reveal any
further plot details. What I can tell you is that Four Brothers is one of
the most effortlessly crafted and executed action thrillers I’ve seen in some
time. And Singleton has truly become a master of style in his films. He turns
Detroit into a snowy landscape, which is most fitting for an urban western.
The action in the movie is of top-notch quality, as well. I
was reminded of Singleton’s flawless executing of action in his Shaft
remake. Here, there are many sequences that will strike you. There’s an early
car chase on icy roads. The movie ends with a brutal fistfight on a frozen lake,
with the loser having to be buried in the icy waters. The big capper is a
shootout midway through the movie, where the brothers are unexpectedly ambushed
by thugs wearing hockey masks.
Director Singleton and his terrific cast shine in this
intense urban thriller. Four Brothers is extravagant entertainment, with
a tightly wound story to boot.
handling of this visually engaging film is nothing short of outstanding. The
snowy Detroit setting allows for many bright and incredibly detailed shots. The
image quality is consistently crisp and clear. Both day and night sequences are
terrifically handled, and colors are a blast, as well.
The 5.1 mix serves this
action thriller incredibly well. The movie is alive with a great soundtrack of
old soul tracks. And the action numbers are as intense as they come in the DVD
format. The shootout scene I mentioned is a pure show-stopping moment. Dialogue
delivery is terrific and every sound element blends together superbly.
Paramount has loaded this
Special Collector’s Edition quite nicely. Included is a commentary track with
John Singleton, as well as four featurettes; “The Look of Four Brothers”,
“Crafting Four Brothers”, “Behind the Brotherhood” and “Mercer House
Shootout”. Also featured are 9 deleted scenes, a theatrical trailer and bonus