Four Brothers

Four Brothers (2005)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, Andre Benjamin, Garrett Hedlund, Terrence Howard, Fionnula Flanagan
Extras: Audio Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailer, Previews

John Singleton blends blaxploitation and his love of the spaghetti western theme to produce an original spin on the typical revenge plotted story with his latest film "Four Brothers". Set in Detroit's mostly blue collar neighborhoods, four adopted brothers; Bobby Mercer (Mark Wahlberg), Angel (Tyrese Gibson), Jeremiah (Andre Benjamin) and the youngest brother of the group Jack (Garrett Hedlund) return home to grieve and then avenge their adoptive mother Evelyn's (Fionnula Flanagan) death.

Soon after the funeral, questions arise as to why a saintly individual such as Evelyn would be gunned down in a convenience store for such a minimal amount of money? Then the plot thickens as we discover that her death was by no means a simple random act of violence. Involving corrupt higher ranking city officials, dirty cops and a local criminal kingpin, the "Four Brothers", with the mean streets of Detroit as their backdrop, turn their anger and sadness into a violence fuelled vendetta against all involved in Evelyn's untimely death.

Clever style and mood blend to make this mostly character-driven story as tightly woven as possible, even though the film treads a rather thin line that may cause you to question the direction and believability of some scenes. For the most part, "Four Brothers" is all about the main characters; I mean the film is called "Four Brothers" so one would expect a story about the complexities of relationships and interactions between the group, and director John Singleton delivers just that. There is also no denying that you will witness one of the more stylish and memorable gun battles in recent memory, thanks to the care given to the sequence under Singleton's direction and precise execution from cinematographer Peter Menzies Jr.

Paramount Home Entertainment honors "Four Bothers" with a dazzling reference-quality transfer that is sheer enjoyment to view. The anamorphic widescreen presentation offers tremendous color saturation that produces true and natural flesh tones, while the rest of the image displays a terrific bluish tone that works well for the overall mood of the story's wintry settings. With an intentionally suppressed color pallet and black level, the transfer still provides rich and deep detail that is evident throughout the films entire exhibition. I never noticed any issues with compression or overall quality of the print used for the presentation, just a razor-sharp image that is sure to please.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is also top-notch. Producing a well balanced soundstage with good use of all available channels and nicely placed bass to enhance the appropriate points within its presentation. Vocal tracks are mixed to provide a good natural reproduction in the delivery of all characters dialogue. This soundtrack pairs with the terrific visual presentation to a tee.

Paramount Home Entertainment has added some well complimenting special features to their release of "Four Brothers", beginning with a feature-length audio commentary from director John Singleton. Singleton is one of those filmmakers that make it well worth your time to hear his points and opinions as he discusses his latest work, turning the track into a definite must if you enjoyed the presentation of the film.

There is also the inclusion of four separate behind-the-scenes featurettes beginning with "The Look of Four Brothers" that delves into how the filmmakers created the "look" of Detroit, even though the film was shot in the cities of Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario. "Crafting Four Brothers" focuses on the writing styles used in the films theme, with input from writers; David Elliot and Paul Lovett. "Behind the Brotherhood" offers director John Singleton's views about the close relationships between the four main characters in the story and how he chose to keep the main focus on his characters relations and interactions providing a good balanced character driven story. "Mercer House Shootout" is a featurette dedicated to the visual effects utilized in the set-up and execution of the main gun battle featured in the film.

A nice addition of five deleted scenes, with a total running time of just over eleven minutes, a theatrical trailer and selected previews complete the added materials section.

If you're in the mood for a good revenge inspired story, featuring a great performance from the always entertaining hard-ass presence of Mark Whalberg, I can easily recommend you giving "Four Brothers" a spin!