"Let's see what he
has to say now"
When their adoptive mother Evelyn Mercer (Flanagan) is shot
and killed in a convenience store robbery, brothers Bobby (Wahlberg), Angel
(Gibson), Jerry (Benjamin) and Jack (Hedlund) return to Detroit for her
funeral. Wanting answers, the brothers start their own investigations into
her death after the police say it is gang related. Using their own type
of persuasion, they find out that there might be more to her death than
they first thought.
Director John Singleton returns to the urban inner city storylines
that made this name but can the now big time helmer remember his filmmaking
Making his name with gritty, urban dramas like 'Boyz in the
Hood', 'Poetic Justice' and 'Higher Learning', Singleton came to the attention
of the Hollywood big wigs and bigger budget fair like 'Shaft' and '2 Fast
2 Furious' soon followed. 'Four Brothers' sees the director try and combine
these two different kinds of approaches to bring us a character driven action
At the centre of the film are the four brothers of the title.
Adopted by their foster mother Evelyn Mercer, when no one else would take
them in, Bobby, Angel, Jerry and Jack became known in the Detroit neighbourhood
by everyone and especially the police. With Bobby spending time in prison,
Angel joining the US Navy, Jack playing in a band and Jerry managing to
change his life around by getting into property redevelopment. They are
reunited at the funeral and come together to find out who killed their mother.
From then on the film becomes a combination of a vigilante investigation
with action sequences filling in the gaps between the revelations.
After making a real impact in 1997's 'Boogie Nights', rapper
turned actor Mark Wahlberg went on to mix dramatic roles with big budget
Hollywood leading man roles with mixed results. As Bobby he is given a decent
character to contend with. The eldest brother of the family and the one
who has been in the most trouble, Wahlberg's character drives the brother's
own investigation in his own unique style. André Benjamin is another musician
turned actor trying to make a name for himself on the big screen and he
continues to impress. As Jerry, he is the conscience of the group and brings
some control to the situation. The trio of musicians turned actors is completed
by Tyrese Gibson, who plays Angel. While he doesn't quite have the same
impact as Wahlberg or Benjamin, but he has the potential. Garrett Hedlund
is a model turned actor who is starting to make himself known and his role
as Jack will only help with that. There are also decent supporting performances
from Terrence Howard as Lt. Green, Fionnula Flanagan as Evelyn Mercer and
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Victor Sweet.
The twists and turns of the plot never really surprise but
they do enough to keep you interested and the action sequences, including
an exciting car chase in a snowstorm, are of a high quality making 'Four
Brothers' more watchable than it should have been. The performances also
keep you engaged but while this may be entertaining, it isn't a movie that
will stick in the memory for very long after the final credits roll.
Presented in Widescreen 1.85:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack,
the transfer is good.
Commentary by John Singleton
The man at the helm talks passionately about his eighth film as a director.
He reveals what drew him to the project and how he approached the film.
The casting of the brothers is also discussed, as he reveals how he and
the writers chose the right actors to play the parts of Bobby, Angel,
Jeremiah and Jack. He talks about the look and style of the film, revealing
the Western influences and the way he wanted it to look. This is a good
commentary from a director who is growing even more in stature.
The look of Four Brothers (10.07 mins)
Director John Singleton, director of photography Peter Menzies, producer
Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, production designer Keith Brian Burns, costume
designer Ruth Carter and stars Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson and André
Benjamin talk about the look and style of 'Four Brothers'. An urban western,
they talk about creating the same ideals in a city setting via locations
and sets, as well as the character's look.
Crafting the Brothers (10.55 mins)
Screenwriters Paul Lovett and David Elliot, producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura
and director John Singleton talk about the script for 'Four Brothers'.
They discuss the influences behind the film and wanting to create a modern
western. They also talk about all the characters and the actors that play
them, as well as the influence of the Mother on each of them.
Behind the Brotherhood (9.31 mins)
Director John Singleton, producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura Mark Wahlberg,
Tyrese Gibson, Garrett Hedlund and André Benjamin talk about the theme
of brotherhood that runs through the film and its characters. The group
talk about the chemistry of the four main actors playing Bobby, Angel,
Jeremiah and Jack.
Mercer House Shootout (4.56 mins)
Director John Singleton, director of photography Peter Menzies and specials
effects supervisor Neil Trifunovich take you behind the scenes of the
shootout at the Mercer house. The crew talk about the how the action sequence
was constructed and how the bullet hits were created.
Deleted Scenes (11.31 mins)
Entitled 'Corner store hold up', 'The brothers' eulogy', 'Booby teases
Jack', 'After the hockey game', 'Arriving at Jeremiahs', 'Revenge is a
full time job', 'Lt. Green questions councilman Douglas', 'Det. Fowler
warns Angel' and 'Cops arrest Angel', these deleted or extended scenes
suffer from the lack of an introduction or commentary to explain why they
Theatrical Trailer (2.28 mins)
Watch the preview trailer that promoted the film in the cinema.
Paramount has done a good job with the DVD transfer of 'Four Brothers'.
The featurettes cover most aspects of the films production and director
John Singleton provides a good commentary track. Fans of the film should
be pleased with this DVD package.
Boyz from the Hood
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