A man’s movie. Chicks will dig it too. Director John Singleton (Baby Boy, Boyz n The Hood, 2 Fast 2 Furious) doesn’t disappoint. Whoever said that revenge was a dish best served cold never met the Mercer boys. The tagline for this flick reads, “They came home to bury mom… and her killer.” Hellz yeah, kick ass and take names!! And let me tell you, there is plenty of ass to be kicked when four adopted brothers return home to Detroit after their mother is ruthlessly gunned down in a convenience store robbery.
I have so much to say about this movie I don’t know where or how to start. Mark Wahlberg (The Italian Job), Tyrese Gibson (Baby Boy), Andre’ Benjamin aka Andre 3000 (1/2 of rap duo Outkast and most recently featured in Be Cool), and Garrett Hedlund (Troy) are a ragtag band of brothers, united by their troubled childhood and the unyielding love of their foster mother, Evelyn Mercer. Wahlberg as “Bobby” is the unofficial leader and the hothead of the bunch. He’s followed closely in machismo by Gibson as “Angel.” Andre’ 3000 as “Jeremiah” is the most level-headed and stable of the group, serving as the lone voice of reason as the Mercers unleash the fury. Rounding out the foursome is Hedlund as “Jack,” the youngest and most sensitive. I don’t want to paint a picture of the brothers as bloodthirsty and mean…quite the opposite. They are suffering the loss of their mother (neighborhood sweetie pie and all around good lady) and quickly realize that her death was not random at all. Particularly poignant is the aftermath of her funeral, when the brothers attempt to have Thanksgiving dinner without their mother. They each stare wistfully at her now-empty chair and reminisce about the loving way in which she guided them. These four actors had great chemistry together and really conveyed a sense of family, despite the fact that 2 are Black and 2 are White. It doesn’t matter. Wahlberg particularly is the perfect blend of swaggering, roguish masculinity and sensitivity. I think all of the performances were strong. However, the movie is not without its flaws. Detroit is depicted as the Wild Wild West…and I can dig that the neighborhood is rough as hell, but are we supposed to believe that the Mercer boys are kickin’ ass all over town and the cops aren’t getting involved any quicker?
Powered by a ’70s era soundtrack, Four Brothers has a no-nonsense throwback vibe. It’s also interesting to see how the brothers piece together the motive for their mama’s murder. There’s one scene in the movie…man you gotta see it! The tension/fear/adrenaline are completely palpable. We want these boys to win. Also featured are Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things). Payback’s a bitch!