Directed by: John Singleton
Written by:David Elliot, Paul Lovett
Starring: Mark Whalberg, Tyrese Gibson, Andre Benjamin, Garrett Hedlund, Terrence Howard, Josh Charles, Sofia Vergara, Fionnula Flanagan, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Released: November 10, 2005
Grade: B+

An elderly lady has been shot dead in a convenience store robbery in Detroit, Michigan.  Her name was Evelyn Mercer (Flanagan) and she had a “saint-like” reputation in the community.  Evelyn took hundreds of troubled youths into her care and helped find them suitable foster homes.  She touched many people but there were four boys she deeply cared about – Bobby (Whalberg), Angel (Gibson), Jeremiah (Benjamin) and Jack (Hedlund).  Evelyn adopted them and raised them as her own.

It’s been a while since these four brothers left the Mercer house but they have returned on hearing word of Evelyn’s slaying.  When asked, Bobby tells police Lieutenant Green (Howard), an old friend, that he hasn’t returned for the funeral – he’s returned to find the people responsible and see that his own brand of justice is served upon them.

After some “forceful” sniffing around, their investigations lead them to Victor Sweet (Ejiofor), a wealthy businessman with friends in high places.   Why though would Victor be involved in a petty robbery and why would he want an old lady killed?  It doesn’t add up.  Victor knows Bobby and his brothers are on his tail.  He wants them taken care of before they get too close.

Four Brothers is predominantly an action film which its car chases and shoot-outs.  These scenes have been outstandingly put together by director director John Singleton (2 Fast 2 Furious, Shaft, Boyz In The Hood).  The reaction I had towards a violent gun-fest at the Mercer residence in the middle part of the film was simply “woah”.  It was loud and intense.

What I liked most about the film was the surprising depth to the characters.  You can sense the bond between these four brothers and the fact they are all looking out for each other.  Mark Whalberg (as Bobby) and Garrett Hedlund (as Jack) are particularly interesting.  I’m glad to say that this isn’t a film where $100,000,000 was spent on the action and $100 spent on the script.

There are a few confusing elements to the story (such as why Evelyn was killed and why Victor is as powerful as he is) but I think it’s a strong film in a genre I usually expect so little from.