Telling the tale of four adopted brothers whose adopted mother is slain in cold blood, the imaginatively titled Four Brothers quite possibly has the worst screenplay written in living memory. It's one of those scripts that thinks it's really fucking rad, but in fact is full of poorly executed exposition. Furthermore, there are almost no parts of the film where silence is allowed any airing. There's a big, wholly undramatic car chase at one point, and throughout the entire thing there are constant streams of drivel being spouted, along the lines of: "Gimme that gun", "Shoot that motherfucker", "What the fuck?", ad nauseam. I mean constant. It's as though Singleton could not trust the on-screen action to carry the movie for even five minutes.
The constant references to "Mom" and why anyone would shoot her are just ridiculous. Seriously, there must be at least a dozen instances that a line such as this is used: "But why would anyone want to kill Mom?", or "But Mom was the sweetest woman in the world. Why her?" I'm paraphrasing, because the script is so unmemorable, but I'm pretty much on the money there.
The direction is bad. There is no way around it. John Singleton is going to greater and greater lengths to prove to us all that the fantastic Boyz N the Hood was an accident. It's a real shame, but that's the truth of the matter. Comic-book fans will be gutted to see that he's directing the forthcoming Luke Cage flick.
The acting is interesting, too. There are two people who come out of it pretty well and all the others suck ass. Those two upstanding citizens are: Chiwetel Ejiofor (I know, he's from England, but that's not why I name-check him here; he is the best thing about the film and a rising star, methinks) and André Benjamin (aka André 3000 of Outkast fame, putting in a good effort). A whisper of appreciation should also go to Terrence Howard. He was good, too, and he should have had more screen time. The movie's lead actor, Marky Mark, was poor, and I usually quite like him. And yes, the material was shite, but a couple of his partners in crime managed to at least do something with it.
And the plot...? Well, put it this way: the whole reason for the movie, the whole logic behind the killing of Mom in the first scene, is casually thrown into the dialogue at around the 90th minute and is skirted over so quickly that you could almost miss it. Astonishing!
Strangely enough, the movie is so bad that Wife didn't fall asleep. She was so wide-eyed with surprise that someone (a) ever financed this movie and (b) ever agreed to be in it, that she couldn't have shut her peepers even if she'd wanted to.
This is one of those films that it's really difficult to rate. It is so fucking awful that I almost have to urge you to watch it. But equally, I wouldn't wish it on anyone, especially if you have to pay money for it (like we did). Make up your own mind, but just don't say you weren't warned...
Labels: chiwetel ejiofor