It's a sort of pre-cognitive gift sensible movie-goers are given that within the first ten minutes, or sometimes even the first five of a film, they can tell when a movie will be really good, or really bad. With "Four Brothers" I was expecting basically nothing, I mean it's a remake, a remake of a sprawling and exciting John Wayne film called "The Sons of Katie Elder", and it's a modernized remake with only its concept and plot extremely similar. However, I'm sensible enough to admit when I'm basically wrong, and with "Four Brothers" I was surprised to discover I was wrong about it. Like a cowboy on horseback, Wahlberg's character Bobby makes his entrance in to the inner-city of Detroit with old school soul playing in the background. Wahlberg whom I usually find wooden becomes the basic drive here--and shockingly a scene stealer--the replacement for John Wayne who enters back in to his stomping grounds from a life of business to mourn the loss of his foster mother (Fionnula Flanagan, who gives a touching performance as the saintly Evelyn, who helps wayward orphans) who was killed viciously in a store robbery.
He and his three brothers, all adopted, struggle to come to grips with her death, and re-connect after being apart for so long. But after impatience settles they decide to look for who killed her, and get more than they bargained for. John Singleton's skills adds an extra dose of flair to the production with some utterly engrossing directing that help increase the mounting tension of the story. "Four Brothers" is an unabashed action film that Singleton knows how to compose in to a very stylish story, and it also touches upon genuine emotions with scenes that really do hit home. The four actors really do become convincing as brothers bickering, teasing each other and occasionally rough housing, while you can sense the void with the death their mom. In one very well conducted scene, the guys attempt to have Thanksgiving dinner gazing over at their mother's empty seat and we get some great exposition through vivid imaginings from each of them, that harken to their childhood as she consults each of them. It's a very well done, and heartbreaking scene that Singleton handles well and we get to know about these men without it ever feeling forced.
"Four Brothers" succeeds in touching upon genuine emotion of love and
really do convey how genuine this woman was to these four boys who found
salvation in her kindness. "Four Brothers" is a worthy successor to the
original film, and with a dose of cheese every so often it really
accomplishes the slight camp from the original film. What made this a
more enjoyable experience is that Singleton and the writers turn
this from an actioner about vengeance, to a modern western, and gladly,
this is a modern western in every sense of the word with some great
elements from the genre, and some of Singleton's style thrown in for
good measure. The character Jack rolls his own cigarettes, the brothers
meet in their own
"Four Brothers" may be a very good action film, but it's anything but
perfect. While the first half is basically what I wanted to see, the
second half really does get bogged down in utterly meandering sub-plots
that I really couldn't stand. Particularly, the sub-plot with Sofie
which manages to really bog down the story. Sofia Vergara is irritating
Though cheesy, occasionally corny, and a climax that was very disappointing, "Four Brothers" is a very exciting and entertaining remake with all the style and nuance that a modern western should have. With good performances, action, and genuine characterization, it's a surprisingly good returning opus for Singleton.
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