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Four Brothers

Genre: Action/Drama
Rated: R
Directed by
: John Singleton
Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, André Benjamin, Garrett Hedlund, Sofia Vergara, Fionnula Flanagan, Josh Charles, Terrence Howard, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Released by: Paramount Pictures

In Short: The director of "Boyz n the Hood" returns to the mean streets (this time in the tough town of Detroit) in this ultra-violent revenge tale of four diverse brothers.

Bloody Bros
Revenge is Sweet for an Unlikely Foursome
By Jenny Peters

It's hard to explain why "Four Brothers" works so well. Perhaps it is because the story centers around genuine emotions established by director John Singleton early on in the film, when the adoptive mother of four diverse brothers is gunned down in her tough Detroit neighborhood. Or maybe the blend of action sequences mixed with believable family interactions makes a far-fetched story line seem perfectly believable.

Mark Wahlberg, as Bobby Mercer, leads the band of two white and two black brothers who had been rescued from horrible home lives by Evelyn Mercer (Fionnula Flanagan). Wahlberg gives a completely believable performance as the toughest of the group, a petty criminal who exudes street smarts and ruthlessness. Just as effective is Tyrese Gibson, who plays Angel Mercer; his hulking presence is tempered by a warm heart and his beautiful albeit nutty girlfriend played by Sofia Vergara. André Benjamin, of OutKast music fame, adds another solid notch to his acting belt as Jeremiah Mercer, and Garrett Hedlund, as the youngest and most vulnerable sibling, Jack Mercer, is pitch perfect in the least flashy of the four roles.

Singleton has cast the film well, which, combined with the compelling mystery revealing why the mother was murdered, makes for a highly entertaining couple of hours. Using the chill winter landscape of Detroit's mean streets—watch for the most amazing winter car chase we've ever seen on screen, and an incredible sequence across a white expanse of frozen river—Singleton makes the film's visuals unforgettable. Plus, the action runs fast, furious and brutal and is truly emotionally wrenching. Even better, Singleton has woven in a Motown soundtrack heavy with tunes by the Temptations and Marvin Gaye that is spot on perfect when juxtaposed against the Motor City setting.

"Four Brothers" is a great movie but definitely not for the faint of heart. So if realistic brutality and blunt language tend to offend you, better to stay home and skip this one. If your sensibilities are less delicate, go for it. You won't be disappointed.

(Updated 01/21/08 NJ)

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