When I first saw the trailer for I Am Number Four, I shouted “Straight To Video!” What a dumb name with an unoriginal story. To make matters worse, when I saw the Michael Bay produced title card, I thought, oh great, over the top action sequences followed by a slow motion victory walk. It’s going to be one of “THOSE” movies. I was invited to a screening of the flick and against my better judgement, I went. I left the theater thinking, It was one of “THOSE” movies, but it was also pretty damn good.
Story: John is an alien from a planet that was destroyed by other aliens (Mogas). He masks himself as a high school student on Earth to hide from the aliens. As he grows he discovers that he has special powers. He falls in love with a girl in a small town and must now save her as well as the town from this episodes evil villain. Sound familiar? I was waiting for the part where the audience is introduced to a bald white friend named Rex Ruther, but…
It all makes sense when you realize that Miles Millar and Alfred Gough helped write the screenplay, based off the book of course (Miles & Al are the co-creators of Smallville for all those not in the “know”). But where does the Superman parallels end and the I Am Numero Quatro begin? When John Smith discovers his Iron Man photon hands and is being chased down by a bunch of strong, but dumb, aliens that look way to much like the Romulans from Star Trek.
John is 1 of 9 aliens from his planet, that live on Earth, that can destroy the Mogas. 3 of them have already been killed. He. Is. Number. 4. Not only does he have to save his town and the girl he loves, he must find his fellow numerical aliens, so they can combine their powers, and destroy the Romu… er… Mogas for good.
It’s not an original story at all. But, sometimes, it’s how you tell the story that makes you WOOT WOOT!
Directing: I give D.J. Caruso some credit. He could have just totally channeled Michael “Blow things up every 5 minutes” Bay and be done with it. But, he did not. He took the story and turned it into a kind of cheesy-lovey-dovey-teen-action-scifi-flick that is very visually appealing to the eyes. Don’t get me wrong, shit blows up, but it’s not over done like only Mr. Bay can do. There’s just enough action to keep your adrenaline pumping. Some of CG was campy, but for a Sci Fi flick, it was acceptable. The story has it’s cheesy emo moments, but it’s a teen flick. Get over it! The first 15 minutes are a bit of a drag, but things start rolling and end with you really wanting this movie to do well. Is there a slow motion victory walk at the end? I don’t tell tales out of school. Indeed.
Acting: Not much going on in the acting department. Everyone played this straight up. No uber huge emotions, but no flat acting either. Alex Pettyfer, who plays the role of John, reminds me of a skinnier version of Channing Tatum. Channing Tatum reminds me of a skinnier version of John Cena, but I digress. Tim Olyphant plays John’s mentor Henri well. Through out the movie I was wondering what the hell was up with his eyes? Their freaking huge! Dianna Agron, plays the love interest, Sarah. Not much to say about her acting other than it wasn’t horrible. Teresa Palmer, who plays number 6, is not only an uber alien babe, she suffers from an acute case of Badassery! She’s there to kick ass, look good, and recite the single best one liner I have heard in any movie in a long time. I heart her.
Overall: It’s not an original story. It has it’s cheesy moments. The acting wasn’t great. The CG wasn’t perfect. But the way the story was told and the pace that it kept made it a sleeper hit movie for me. It’s a fun pop corn movie that you can see with your family and or friends and have a good time. I left with a good feeling inside. I was hoping it was the photon Iron Man beams coming out of my hands. It was not. Sad Panda.
I AM RUSSEL!