Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars
“I Am Number Four” is like the menu in a Chinese restaurant – a little from column “A,” a little from column “B.” The first course is a pretty implausible story about alien beings living among us, using their powers to play baseball in high school, only to “disappear” when other alien beings close in on them. The second course is a pretty kick ass action film. Guess which entree’ I liked better?
Somewhere in the jungle, two men are sleeping quietly in their tents. Suddenly they are attacked by…something. As one stays to fight the unknown attacker the other runs deep into the jungle. But he’s not fast enough. I don’t want to give anything away here but he was number three!
“I Am Number Four” follows John Smith (Pettyfer) and his guardian Henri (Olyphant) as they move around the country. John is part of an original group of nine that were sent to Earth from another world. They were soon followed by a group called Magadorians (or “Mags” to those in the know), a bunch of wise cracking baddies who apparently come from a planet where everyone wears black dusters. When John learns that number three has been killed (a symbol is burned onto his body at each death, which means John now has three) he and Henri pick up from their cool sun filled home in Florida and head to the great state of Ohio where they settle in a town called Paradise. Get it? They stumble onto a vacant house that, like all vacant houses in the movies, is fully furnished and has working electricity. And the house has obviously been vacant for awhile because John’s room comes with a poster of former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar on the wall (Kosar retired 15 years ago). Told to not make himself stand out (and stay away from team sports) John enrolls in high school where he immediately stumbles onto the school bad boy (Jake Abel). He also befriends the school loner, a young man named Sam (Callan McAullife) whose father has, if Sam is to be believed, conveniently been abducted by a UFO awhile back. To complete the trifecta he also meets the beautiful but mysterious Sarah (Aragon, who on “Glee” plays Quinn, another Ohio teenager. I smell a trend here). Confused yet?
Cliché’ filled script aside, the film does have a few things going for it. The cast is pretty solid with Olyphant leading the way. The youngsters follow his lead and give good performances. The effects are well done and, when the action finally happens, it delivers. Director Caruso has always managed to up the on screen action (“Taking Lives,” “Eagle Eye”) and he keeps the pedal to the metal here. The only drawback is that he waited for the last 45 minutes of the film to kick it into gear.
A little bit from column “A” and a little bit from column “B” usually fills me up. “I Am Number Four” had me leaving the theatre still hungry.