I Am Number Four (M)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner24/02/2011

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 104 mins

Watchable teen drama that's roughly on the level of a Roswell High-style TV pilot, but the set-up is needlessly long-winded and there are problems with the pacing; however, there's enough interplay between the characters to make this bearable and it builds to a reasonably entertaining effects-heavy climax.

What's it all about?
Directed by DJ Caruso (although, more tellingly, produced by Michael Bay), I Am Number Four stars Alex “Stormbreaker” Pettyfer as Number Four, the fourth of nine super-powered aliens from the planet Lorien who were sent to Earth as children when their planet was invaded by the evil Mogadorians. Now a teenager, Four lives with his protector Henri (Timothy Olyphant) and attends high school under the name John Smith, but the pair are always ready to pick up and leave at the first sign of any Mogadorian action.

For some reason, the Mogadorians (led by Kevin Durand in heavy alien Make-up) can only kill the remaining Loriens in ascending numerical order and when they dispatch Number Three in the opening scene, they set their sights on Number Four. Meanwhile, Four is learning to control his powers (mostly involving lights shining from his hands) and wrestling with high school problems like getting a girlfriend (Dianna Agron) and protecting the school nerd (Callan MacAuliffe) from the school bully (Jake Abel).

The Good
Alex Pettyfer has obviously been cast for his looks rather than his acting ability and you quickly get tired of his one expression (‘handsome’) being used to convey various different emotions. Luckily he's surrounded by a much more interesting supporting cast: Olyphant is excellent as always (though the film dies a little whenever he's off-screen), while Agron and MacAuliffe do a good job of breathing life into their painfully clichéd characters and Teresa Palmer adds a welcome spark as a mysterious hotty with a penchant for blowing stuff up.

The Bad
Unfortunately, the plot and pacing are often frustrating (you spend the entire film waiting to find out what's up with the dog that follows Four around, for example), the dialogue is hackneyed at best and there are long, tedious swathes of exposition, not to mention some Twilight-esque rubbish about falling in love for life. That said, the film does eventually rally for an action-packed, fast-paced and CGI-heavy finale that just about makes up for all that.

Worth seeing?
Ultimately I Am Number Four is a watchable teen action flick that's on the same level as a cheesy TV pilot – you wouldn't necessarily watch the entire series but you'd give it another couple of episodes.
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I Am Number Four (M)
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Content updated: 18/10/2019 06:29

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