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3 reviews, 26 user ratings

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Four Brothers
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by brianorndorf

"What is this? A GOOD John Singleton film?"
4 stars

After a career of letting his movies crumble, John Singleton finally connects with “Four Brothers.” Though unnervingly goofball and broad, the picture is oodles of fun, mostly because of Mark Wahlberg’s hilarious thug performance, and Singleton’s unwillingness to notice how silly the whole endeavor is.

When community staple Evelyn (Fionnula Flanagan) is gunned down ruthlessly in what appears to be a routine convenience store hold-up, her troubled, adopted sons Bobby (Mark Wahlberg), Angel (Tyrese Gibson), Jack (Garrett Hedlund), and Jeremiah (Andre Benjamin) return home to grieve. Seething with anger, Bobby is chomping at the bit to avenge his mother’s murder. The obstacle is that the boys don’t know who committed the crime. Once they start looking for clues and stirring up trouble around their snowbound Detroit neighborhoods, they undercover a hornet’s nest of treachery, conspiracies, and bullets.

“Four Brothers” opens with moments of incredible emotion: Evelyn’s brutal murder, the funeral and unfortunate reunion of the brothers, and Bobby weeping privately in the bathroom. These are scenes that break ground on the film in such a way that promises notorious director John Singleton is going to take this path of grief and revenge very seriously.

That doesn’t last for long.

“Brothers” is a violent revenge fantasy (shades of the John Wayne film, “The Sons of Katie Elder”), but it borders one genre I didn’t expect: the cartoon. Singleton’s film is in the spirit of “Death Wish” and “Shaft,” or any other film where men shoot first, shoot again, then try to squeeze in some questions. It’s a film juiced with machismo, where women get in the way and homosexuality is the worst offense for a male. But somehow, somewhere, the normally unlikable Singleton finds a way to align this silly creation and whip up something highly entertaining out of ingredients that have ruined better films.

The way “Brothers” veers from sensitive drama to a Steven Seagal wannabe action film is something to behold, and actually warrants a matinee ticket just to witness. Singleton starts the insanity slowly by having the brothers routinely brandish weapons in public without reprimand, commit violent acts without a second thought, and quietly defy the local cops. Soon enough, the last threads of subtlety found in the script are tossed out, with Bobby and the boys shooting up neighborhoods, openly telling the cops they don’t matter, and introducing a flamboyant pimp mastermind character named Sweet. It’s then and there that “Brothers” goes completely nutty, and it’s best to just hang on for the ride. Singleton, who has never managed to make a movie that didn’t fall completely apart, does “Brothers” a great favor by sticking so close to the lunacy. That’s the only way this film works: with at least one person who believes in it.

Running around the splendid winter locations are an unusual batch of actors. Tyrese Gibson and Andre Benjamin ooze cool and ease in their respective roles, leaving fourth brother, the nondescript Garrett Hedlund, in the dust. Terrence Howard shows up briefly as an interested cop, and gives the film a branch of hope in a forest of crime. And English actor Chiwetel Ejiofor certainly enjoys his time as the ruthless pimp the brothers are hunting. Ejiofor eats the screen with every opportunity. But the fun of “Brothers” is reserved for Mark Wahlberg, who gives a full-throated back alley thug performance that’s as convincing as it is hilarious. I’ve never seen the iffy Wahlberg this loose onscreen before, and he provides the film’s highlights the way he constantly instigates brotherly love and mischief.

Save for the “Lethal Weapon” conclusion to one of the many storylines, and the general laying of whoppers as the film trucks along, “Four Brothers” is just loopy enough to work. Propelled solely by blind gumption, Singleton finally gets one right.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12707&reviewer=404
originally posted: 08/11/05 23:57:56
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User Comments

3/21/17 Bill What a precious review. What does dick taste like? 4 stars
11/22/09 Jeff Wilder The performances and Singleton's direction lift it above average. 4 stars
5/26/08 michelle beckman so cheesy, what's up with the ridiculous grandma ghost? 1 stars
3/21/08 AJ Muller Solid, emotional, vengeful story done right. Simply fantastic, great flick. 4 stars
3/13/08 action movie fan solid drama waith good action one of the best of ,05 4 stars
3/03/08 R.W. Welch Didn't expect much, but It's actually a pretty fair revenge flick. B- 4 stars
8/28/07 Renee Really enjoyed this one. Loved the brothers. 5 stars
1/02/07 leetta mcphea Who sings the song at the end when the credits are being ran. It's a rock group 5 stars
5/02/06 tori this movie is really good i watch it all the time. 5 stars
3/01/06 Steven Lewis Story line had holes in it but good action/crime flick. 3 stars
2/20/06 Agent Sands Refreshing to see such a good Hollywood movie in 2005...finally...! 4 stars
2/19/06 Tanya Some parts were unbelievable but a good action flick 4 stars
1/26/06 Indrid Cold Well crafted, but nothing we haven't seen before. 3 stars
1/16/06 Dan Great movie, enjoyed it. 5 stars
1/04/06 Nena Fantastic movie! 5 stars
12/27/05 WISEMAN Best movie of the year! No hollywood in it, the plot is so perfectly planned!! WATCH IT! 5 stars
12/26/05 keria sutton it was the best movie i have seen in a long time i watched it 3 times in one day!!! 5 stars
8/25/05 JoJo what a totally illogical, crass, crash and shoot 'em up pile of crap. 1 stars
8/23/05 Brandy Harrington This movie sucks. 2 stars
8/19/05 malcolm a little contrived, great chase scene, reminded me of 'mystic river' 4 stars
8/19/05 Apples I enjoyed this movie to the fullest. 5 stars
8/16/05 Agent Sands I miss this kind of movie. Especially in shitty ol' Hollywood 2005. 5 stars
8/16/05 jcjs some action but too too trite 3 stars
8/14/05 KingNeutron Good action, good soundtrack. Slightly convoluted plot. 4 stars
8/14/05 nichole great action movie 4 stars
8/13/05 Dixie Theriault Please-totally improbable plot 2 stars
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  12-Aug-2005 (R)
  DVD: 20-Dec-2005



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