Four Brothers - Revenge served cold

Duration: 110min
Category: drama
Available: On DVD
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I have been a fan of John Singleton since his debut film Boyz in the Hood turned out to be a masterpiece. I thought his early work showed a great deal of promise, especially the underrated Higher Learning but since then heís gone mainly downhill until the disaster known as 2 Fast 2 Furious which I can barely type without giggling.

Itís good to have him back.

Four Brothers is a revenge flick that sticks close to its genre. The script and story are strictly B-movie but Singleton embraces that and lovingly crafts a good, old fashioned revenge film that takes the best of the type without going too over the top. This is no Kill Bill high gloss. Singleton plays it close to the vest, sticking with the tricks that make the genre such a treat.

Four Brothers starts out kinda cheesy. The neighbourhood saint is killed in what appears to be random gang violence. Her sons (Singleton, God bless him, canít stop himself from adding his does of social commentary), who are all adopted, two black and two white, come together to find her killer. There is even the friendly neighbourhood cop to act as a pseudo narrator so that the audience is up to speed. Fortunately, this doesnít last long and the revenge action begins.

Once Four Brothers gets going it really gets going and the film becomes a fun ride. Singleton takes the clichťd standards, such as a car chase through the snow and a gangland ambush, and makes them truly wonderful to watch.

Unfortunately, the dramatic moments of Four Brothers never really take off. I donít know if the cast isnít up for it or if the script just doesnít come together quite enough. Either way, you find yourself waiting for the next action piece.

All of this ties up nicely into a satisfying plot twisted package. Sure a great deal of blood must be spilled before we get there but thatís the point of these movies, isnít it?

Four Brothers works for what it is but never quite gets above itself despite the director ambitions of social change. Still, film makers commit far greater sins than that so I will forgive him and enjoy his movie for what it is.

Singleton's Detroit, with it's snow swept streets and hockey playing kids reminds me a lot like home. It's Canada with rude people.

Review By: Collin Smith

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