How many genres should a film really have? As many as it wants, I suppose, but the more you mix together, the more difficult it is to make a film both reasonable and enjoyable. Four Brothers comes uneasily with four genres; drama, comedy, spaghetti-western and action. Not only is it confusing to figure out where director John Singleton is going with the picture, but whether or not the film should be taken seriously at all. Yet the acting partially makes up for the poor script and schizophrenic tone.
The four “brothers” are Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, Andre Benjamin and Garrett Hedlund. If you’re confused about how Dirk Diggler, Baby Boy, the better half of Outkast, and the wide receiver from Friday Night Lights were cast as brothers, you are not alone. The four were troubled children, living on the streets in Detroit, when Evelyn Mercer (Fionnula Flanagan) adopted and raised them.
When she is killed in a holdup at a convenience store, the four brothers reunite at her funeral. Furious about her murder, they set out on a investigation, trying to find the killers so they can wreak merciless vengeance upon them. As their investigation gets deeper, they start to discover it may have been a hit, not an accident, and they find themselves in great danger of being whacked themselves.
Many things happen in Four Brothers for no apparent reason, and others happen because the script awkwardly demands them to. But as the film progressed, I wasn’t interested in the plot, or the comedy, or the drama, but the performances. It was indeed interesting to watch these four very different men act like childhood siblings together, and all of them did a wonderful job, even Andre Benjamin, the soul-singin’-hip-hop artist, though I do admit, every time he changed the pitch of his voice from a conversational tone, I couldn’t help but to hear “So Fresh and so clean, clean!” coming out of his mouth.