Four adopted brothers return home to find
the people responsible for their mother's murder.
Four Brothers (2005)
Directed by John Singleton
Written by David Elliot and Paul Lovett
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, André 3000,
Garrett Hedlund, Terrence Howard, Josh Charles, Sofia Vergara, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Fionnula Flanagan, Taraji P. Henson
Four Brothers is way better than it has any business being. It hasn't aged all that well, what with its blatant homophobia and casual racism. But something about it keeps it just grounded enough to work. Maybe it's the concept. Four wayward kids adopted by a kind old woman who made them brothers reunite after decades apart to find their mother's murderer. There's so much emotional paydirt to be mined from that logline alone, and when you give it to a master like John Singleton, you're gonna get a movie that will draw you in and keep you there.
Evelyn Mercer (Flanagan) is murdered in a seemingly random convenience store robbery. Her four adopted sons return home for the funeral and learn it wasn't random, and their mother was the target. There's hothead Bobby (Wahlberg), businessman Jerry (Andre 3000), ex-soldier Angel (Gibson), and the youngest, Jack (Hedlund). Together, they learn their mother was trying to take down a powerful local crime boss named Victor Sweet (Ejiofor, in a particularly detestable role). Now it's payback time. Sure, it's a bit weird that nobody ever calls the cops when Bobby and his bros attack random people, wave guns around, drop a guy from a window, and even execute two people. But hey, maybe that's just Detroit. Regardless, the film is engaging as hell.
This is a film that might've stayed stuck in 2005 had it not been for Netflix. It's gotten a recent resurgence, probably because Wahlberg has a new one coming out soon. Even he excels in this one, adding just the right amount of humanity to the character. I believe the chemistry among the brothers too, which I suppose is the most important part.