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</script></div>{/googleAds}Director John Singleton (2 Fast, 2 Furious) stays in his crime-drama wheelhouse with the street-tough Four Brothers, a movie that manages to seamlessly blend equal parts nail-biting action, intriguing drama, and wide-ranging human emotion. It's a murder mystery wrapped in the skin of a contemporary bad ass "gangsta" flick. But whereas I usually harbor a healthy disdain for movies that glorify violence and make so mistake about it, this one is violent - Singleton managed to make me care for his characters. He unfolds the story like an old Western, substituting dusty Main Street Dodge City with dilapidated inner city Detroit. Crooked lawmen populate the police force, thugs roam the streets and frontier justice seems to be the way things are "handled."

What needs to be "handled" is the mystery behind the death of Evelyn Mercer (Fionnula Flanagan), caring foster mother to four adopted boys whom she took in when they were older children. The Mercer Boys Bobby (Mark Wahlberg), Angel (Tyrese Gibson), Jack (Garrett Hedlund), and Jeremiah (Andre Benjamin), were the worst of the worst in the foster environment, but kind-hearted Evelyn couldn't stand to see them go unadopted. They're now grown and the brotherly bonds they forged while growing up become obvious as each arrives home to attend the funeral of their mother. She was gunned down in a convenience store robbery, but the boys don't think simple robbery was the motive behind the killing, nor do they feel the police investigation is moving fast enough. It's time to take things in their own hands.

Singleton spends a lot of time with the boys as they reconnect after having been away for years. We sense genuinely tender emotions as they prepare and enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner while simultaneously plotting their violent course of action to track down their mother's killer. Writers David Elliot and Paul Lovett do a great job of giving the brothers complimentary personalities, but the real kudos for pulling the whole thing off goes to the four actors who bring those personalities to life. Wahlberg's Bobby, a former boxer, is the oldest and clearly the leader of the siblings, but we get a strong sense that his reckless abandon might spell doom for their honorable intentions. Wahlberg just keeps getting better and better with every picture he makes. Although this is his best performance to date, it's the chemistry brought to the table by his costars that makes the whole thing work. Despite their ethnic differences, I truly believed these four were brothers and this sense of reality gave me an authentic connection to their plight.

As the plot thickens and the brothers begin to uncover the dastardly truth behind their mother's murder, Singleton begins to escalate the energy. But he tempers each bout of action with a subsequent bit of character revelation that always keeps things real and interesting. We have a gunfight in the streets, a harrowing car chase in a blinding snowstorm and corrupt city officials on the payroll of the underworld. What more could we ask for, right? But none of it works without Singleton's attention to the visual details and his focus on the compassionate aspect of the story. The washed out barren winter of Detroit makes a nice canvas for the shocking red of blood. And Singleton paints with a well-executed balance of Hollywood action and human tenderness.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1; Full Screen 1.33:1

Subtitles: Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: DTS 5.1 Surround

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; trailer; deleted scenes; director's commentary; featurettes.

* Audio Commentary: With director John Singleton
* Deleted Scenes: total of nine shots that didn't make the final cut
* Featurettes:
o The Look of Four Brothers - Looks at the colors, lighting and sets.
o Crafting Four Brothers - Looks at how the screenwriter creating and molded the story.
o Mercer House Shootout - Examination of the big shootout.
o Behind the Brotherhood - A look at the casting process.
* Trailers: The original theatrical trailer for Four Brothers.

Number of discs: - 1 - Keepcase packaging.{pgomakase}