REVIEW: 'I Am Number Four'

REVIEW: 'I Am Number Four'

REVIEW: 'I Am Number Four', Flicks.co.nz

2 stars

Sci-fi action-thriller from DJ Caruso (Eagle Eye, Disturbia) about a fugitive on the run from ruthless enemies sent to destroy him. Three like him have already been killed... he is Number Four. Now playing nationwide. Click here for session info.

I Am Number Four is the latest example of Hollywood’s on-going insistence on raiding bestseller lists to find works of 'young adult fiction' – preferably one with a long-running mythology of a supernatural/fantasy nature – that’ll sustain a potentially box-office-topping franchise over the course of several instalments. But this sci-fi saga by 'Pittacus Lore' (really two writers: James Frey, Jobie Hughes), with its recycled grab-bag of high school and superhero/alien conventions, doesn’t look like it’ll be around for much longer than one film. Almost exasperatingly predictable and derivative from the get-go, I Am Number Four is soulless factory-line junk that might even struggle maintain the interest of its core audience – the Twilight set – from numbing over-familiarity; one is too often reliving moments from Heroes, Roswell, The Faculty, Transformers, et al to enjoy the film.

There’s the brooding alien hero (Alex Pettyfer) who’s trying to fit in with normal teen life but has an obligation to his interplanetary peeps; the blonde babe (Dianna Agron) he falls for but can’t tell about his not-of-this-earth origins; the weirdo picked-on kid (Callan McAuliffe) whose father has been abducted by aliens, and lest we forget, those dentally challenged alien heavies who look like they’ve pinched their wardrobe from Neo’s closet. Director DJ Caruso, who’s done passable work in the past putting young people in peril (Eagle Eye, Disturbia), fails to make anything here feel of any consequence, even though he shows some gusto in staging those football-field-decimating laser battles and CGI monster melees. Might have worked better on TV as a Joss Whedon show that gets cancelled after one season.

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