Four Brothers

Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
I have to admit that from the first time I saw the movie poster, which is essentially the DVD cover, I liked it. I approve, what a shock. It’s brooding and tough, excessively macho, and I still like it. I should say right now that Mark Wahlberg is one of my favorites so I think that might influence my perspective a bit when anything includes him, but being impartial I have to say it’s a striking image, one I would actually hang in my house if the poster happened to fall into my possession. The menus are standard and functional, nothing special.

Features: 8/10

  • 9 Deleted Scenes – We all know what deleted scenes consist of by now. Usually they are extended scenes that make the movie but are trimmed to make better time or because whatever is said or done is repeated elsewhere in the story. These are no exception. Everything they cut is truly trimmed excess of what is already established, mostly about the relationships of the brothers. Nothing too exciting unfortunately.
  • Directors Commentary – John Singleton is one of those true film lovers. He talks about making movies in a way that honors the history of film making and story telling. He’s got a certain vision of giving timeless stories a modern twist.
  • The Look Of Four Brothers, Crafting Four Brothers, Behind The Brotherhood, and Mercer House Shootout – I won’t talk about each of these individually just because as a group they make up a pretty good collection of extras. From interviews with the director and all the stars to close up looks at how they made some of the most intense action shots we are treated to a top quality DVD experience. They show how the city is created to give it that Detroit look and feel, even though they are not in Detroit. We get to see that Marky Mark (oh I mean, Mark Wahlberg) does a lot of his own stunt work. And last but not least they are generous enough to give an up close and personal look at each of the four stars and how they came to be in this film. If you like the movie you will have to take the time to watch these features.

The Movie: 8/10
The anti-hero, ya know who that guy is? He’s the one with the brooding past, the dark eyes, the worried brow, the one who will come in kick some ass and never apologize. He’s seen it all, done it all, and will surely go to some kind of Hell for all the things he’s done. The only problem with him being the bad apple is that we are supposed to learn to like, even fall in love with him. He’s tough enough to be respected by the dudes, and he’s that dangerous sexy type for us chicks who love our computer nerd husbands, but have the hidden dark side that loves a rogue in a long trench coat.

Why am I rambling about anti-hero’s and sexy tough guys? Four Brothers is a modern tribute to the bad-ass leading man who has a score to settle and he most likely will not bring about a very politically correct or sensitive end to the tale.

For this modern Western our four leading men are destined to avenge the shooting death of their adopted mother. A social worker who was a sucker for a lost cause she took the four in when they were boys, unwanted, unloved, and untamed. She raised them as brothers and that’s the heart of this adventure. Four very different grown men come to terms with the singular need to bring a certain kind of justice to a very very bad villain. None of them completely upstanding citizens, despite being raised by a good woman, but who says our heroes have to be perfect?

I like grunge and grit. I like cussing and swearing, and killin’ in these hard core stories, when it’s done appropriately. I think John Singleton has a true incite into the pseudo-reality of the machismo world of violence. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, I watch Forensic Files and Cold Case Detectives. I know there are horrible violent people in the world who function on a different plane of existence than the rest of us. But to being that kind of depravity and unbridled lack of respect for human life to a believable level has got to be a challenge. I don’t get a thrill out of gun fire that riddles across the screen only to leave the handsome smiling leading man standing and all the bad guys in a heap on the ground. In Four Brothers there is a shoot out like no other you will see. It’s intense enough that I was holding my breath and unlike a lot of movies these days, you will not know how it’s going to turn out when the last bullet flies. That’s what I admire about this film most.

I adore the cast first of all. I think Singleton is 3 parts genius, 1 part genius in training. His understanding and reverence for the history of film making as an art, as well as a business earns him a lot of respect in my book. He might not use every new and modern trick in the book, but he uses a modern eye to use old school methods, tried and true to a new level. There aren’t a lot of tricky camera moves or special effects, or not that are noticeable anyway. You don’t need all that distraction when you have four amazing performers on the screen taking charge of all your senses through each scene.

I would talk about them individually but I would sound like a silly school girl. I’ll just say they each impressed me more than I describe. I have always been a fan of Wahlberg, so that’s a given. When he brings this character’s rough and ready, “I’ve seen it all” attitude to being as close to annoying as it can get before it’s not hypnotic anymore. I find myself gawping at the screen almost embarrassed that I like his inappropriate behavior and cockiness…me being embarrassed in the privacy of my own mind…now that’s a good trick.

Tyrese Gibson, André Benjamin, and Garrett Hedlund , these guys are amazing. I mean that sincerely. I want more more more of each of them. Give me a break people, they are not just good looking dudes, they rock their jobs as actors and I’m impressed.

Overall this is a good movie. It’s not too complicated really. That’s how the story goes. A mother is killed and her sons are driven to avenge her death. That’s about as simple as a movie script can get. Along the way you get a fantastic car chase, an adrenaline pumping shoot out, an easy to despise villain, dirty cops, and sexy Wahlberg. Come on…what more do you want? I can’t analyze it too much, that would be like analyzing an old John Wayne flick, unnecessary and boring. You can apply the academic thing about the anti-hero and stuff like that, but you can also just get a soda, some popcorn, and just watch it . Enjoy it, but don’t tell your husband exactly how hot you think the brothers really are with their blind devotion to revenge, how they handle their weapons, how they look in their various fashions hmmm hmm hmmm. He might not fully understand 🙂 You can use that anti-hero and Singleton’s homage to old school film making thing to explain it if you want. Your secret is safe with me.

Value: 8/10
You can get this DVD as low as 17.00 online and I highly recommend picking it up if you like ballsy action and gritty tales of vengeance. It’s a surprise hit for me and I am glad to see they didn’t price it too high. With an excellent movie, good extras, and a commentary by a classy director like Singleton, it’s more than worth the price.

Overall Score 8/10