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Four Brothers Review

Published August 15, 2005 in Movie Reviews
By Ryan Parsons | Images property of Paramount Pictures
Four Brothers Four Brothers
During an ordinary trip to her local liquor store, Evelyn Mercer (Fionnula Flanagan) finds herself doing what she does best while she teaches a young shoplifter a lesson and explains to him that he is a better person than that. She then goes one step further to explain to this 'lost' youth that it takes only one mistake before he lands himself in jail. Though Evelyn takes crime very seriously, she is also compassionate enough to forgive those who attempt it. Unfortunately, Evelyn's trip to this liquor store will be her last. Unknown to her, her assassination has already been purchased, with that very same liquor store as the target location.

Four Brothers Review

John Singleton's Four Brothers starts nicely and efficiently quick. After encountering the murder of Evelyn, the film quickly shifts gears to the brothers arriving at the ceremony after the funeral. Here we get a quick introduction to three of the four brothers, and learn that each of these guys, two white and two black, were lost causes and could only find refuge with the saint of a mother Evelyn Mercer. In the summary of each brother we discover that these guys are like congressmen to what they would have become.

But are these brothers going to take the murder of their mother sitting down? Hell no, these guys have come back to Detroit to find justice, something they believe the local police can't do.

This is where one of the first flaws to Four Brothers surfaces. Through out the film we watch Bobby [Mark Wahlberg], Angel [Tyrese], Jeremiah [André 3000] and Jack [Garrett Hedlund] do their own investigative work and it would seem that these guys are ten times more efficient than the entire Detroit police force. The brothers discover the identities of the 'shooters' the first night of investigating from a local bartender [a bartender knows and the cops don't?], which quickly leads them into a conflict with the persons mentioned. This conflict constitutes a second, and major flaw, to Four Brothers; a flaw that pops up repeatedly though out the course of the film.

Four Brothers Four Brothers
Here is one of my top issues with Four Brothers. The film hosts a good number of gun fights, which seem to contain no pedestrians, bystanders, passing cars, police [where the hell are they?] or even a couple of extras in the background. In the chase scene, for example, we encounter the Mercer brothers as they run down the known 'shooters' after a car chase and firefight all over Detroit. During this entire chase, I didn't happen to see one car on the road or any type of pedestrian either. This chase lasts for a good period with gunshots being fired back and forth between the two vehicles. Once the chase ends, the brothers still have time to get out of their car to finish the job. What! Where the hell are the police in Detroit? Are you telling me that car gunfights occur in Detroit and not one police vehicle offer joins the pursuit? Remind me to head on over to Detroit to loot town then.

I was able to let this fact go the first time, but then again we are greeted to another gunfight that features not a single other person, moving car, or anything for that matter but the people who are actually involved with the ordeal. How realistic is this? To top it off, this gunfight, featuring automatic weapons, lasts for almost ten minutes and when it finishes, the brothers suggest that some one should call the police so they would show up. You have to call the police after an ordeal like that?

The last big 'what the?' for me was the fact that these four brothers cruise all around Detroit committing multiple crimes without anybody seeming to care. Even people they commit the crime against just seem to have the 'let bygones be bygones' attitude. The various scenes, including the gunfights, that feature crimes such as these just make Four Brothers look very unbelievable. It's nice to know that Detroit is like the Wild West where everybody can carry a gun, but it just doesn't all add up.

Four Brothers Mark Wahlberg takes lead in Four Brothers
Four Brothers is a film that should do OK in the box office, but it does disappointing me to say that this film could have been good. John Singleton had a few wonderful elements that could have carried the film nice and easy to its ending. He even had a few surprises about which characters were good and which were bad, and that was greatly appreciated and very highly valued in my feelings towards this film. I guess my major problem lies in the fact that, while exiting the theatre, I can only think 'what comes out next week?'


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Ryan Parsons
Sources: Images property of Paramount Pictures

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