I was surprised to discover how much I really enjoyed “Four Brothers.” Even for a remake. “Four Brothers” is a worthy successor to the original film, and with a dose of cheese every so often it really accomplishes the slight camp from the original film. What made it a more enjoyable experience is that Singleton and the writers turn this in to a modern western. Gladly, this is a modern western in every sense of the word with some great elements from the genre, and some of Singleton’s style thrown in for good measure. Like a cowboy on horseback, Wahlberg’s character Bobby makes his entrance in to the inner-city of Detroit with old school soul playing in the background. Wahlberg becomes the basic drive here (the replacement for John Wayne) who enters back in to his stomping grounds from a life of business to mourn the loss of his foster mother who was killed viciously in a store robbery.
He and his three brothers, all adopted, struggle to come to grips with her death, and re-connect after being apart for so long. But after impatience settles they decide to look for the person or persona that killed her, and get more than they bargained for. John Singleton’s skills add an extra dose of flair to the production with some utterly engrossing directing that help increase the mounting tension of the story. “Four Brothers” is an unabashed action film that Singleton knows how to compose in to a very stylish story, and it also touches upon genuine emotions with scenes that really do hit home. The four actors become convincing as brothers bickering, teasing each other and occasionally rough housing, while you can sense the void with the death their mom. The power of “Four Brothers” is the rousing performances from the whole cast.
Mark Wahlberg is engrossing as the hotheaded Bobby, Andre Benjamin pulls in a surprisingly good performance as the oldest brother who has sought to make a good life, Tyrese Gibson is great as the smooth Angel, and Garrett Hedlund picks up for Michael Anderson Jr. as the constantly teased youngest. Fionnula Flanagan also gives a touching performance as the saintly Evelyn, who helps wayward orphans. I found it really hard to dislike this movie because it can be mother fucking cool when it wants to, and the actors make these characters very likable in spite of the fact that they’re anything but. In its core, “Four Brothers” is not ashamed to admit its escapist action with giant lapses in logic, and never ashamed to be funny, but in the process really pulls off a good story, genuine emotion, and involving characters when it wants to. The finale featuring the cheesy and utterly anti-climactic fight a la “Lethal Weapon” really didn’t win me over, but that’s more than made up by the film’s energy. Singleton is back in rare form with a very good remake, I was pulled in from the very beginning, and I was satisfied in spite of its flaws.