“I Am Number 4” Movie Review


     I suppose whether or not “I Am Number 4” becomes a franchise will depend on audiences and their craving for a more Science Fiction version of the “Twilight” series.  Director D. J. Caruso does a fine job with the material given, but the nifty action sequences in the third act don’t make up for the cheesy cliched high school drama one must endure to get to the good stuff.  I know there are people out there who thrive on this type of entertainment, but I can’t say I’m one of them. Unfortunately, my mind kept drawing comparisons to last years terrible “The Last Airbender” rather than conjuring up thoughts of better films.

     New comer Alex Pettyfer plays John, an alien from another planet.  He and his guardian, Henry, played by Timothy Olyphant move from town to town inventing a new identity for themselves in order to throw off their adversaries, the Mogadorians.  As the film begins, we learn there are 8 others like John and the Mogadorians are successful in killing the third guy thus giving us the title “I Am Number 4”, referring to John being the 4th out of nine of these alien beings living under cover somewhere on earth.  It’s never really explained why the Mogadorians have to kill these kids in order of their numbers.  Why not go off  Number 8 now and then come back to Number 4?

     After settling in a small Ohio town, John is off to high school where he has a problem following the advice of Henry and laying low.  There are the jocks, bullies, and the standard kid who always gets picked on.  Then there is an immediate love interest, so you can look forward to about 80 minutes of this before you ever get anything featured in the film’s trailer which depicts the film as a straight up action movie.  During this time, John also begins to figure out the special powers he has and begins to use them when it becomes necessary which is usually against the high school bullies.  That’ll teach them!

     Of course its easy to forget these are aliens, so something funny kept coming to mind while watching this forgettable film.  Both the good guys and the bad guys are from another planet which presumably has technology that far exceeds ours.  Why then do the bumbling Mogadorians get around in a convoy of black Dodge Chargers and where did they come by these vehicles?  Did they steal them?  They are armed with all sorts of futuristic weaponry and are clearly not of this earth in appearance, yet this is how they go from place to place and no one notices.  Did I mention the back of their convoy has a giant black semi truck that houses two large reptilian type creatures?  Since they move from state to state looking for Number 4, hasn’t the various law enforcement entities noticed these guys?  Even more silly, they stop at a local grocery store and buy up their entire stock of turkeys and then go to the parking lot and use them to feed their two beasts!!

     Also of note is Henry and John’s Apple computer set up complete with an IMac, Macbook Pro, and IPhones.  They use these devices to help them conceal their identities as they move from town to town and help them wipe photos off the internet when someone happens to photograph John.  Again, my question is where are all the cool alien gadgets.  All Henry has is a useless glowing blue knife to help defend against the well armed Mogadorians.  Why are they using Apple products when they should have access to better stuff?  Even the ghetto aliens in “District 9” had the use of their own technology and used our parts to build items they would need and were able to escape by using it!!

     Bottom line on this one is its full of holes and owes any of its better moments to much better films (Starman, The Matrix, The Terminator Films).  I don’t see this moving on to the inevitable sequel and if it does, I would advise all to skip it because I really don’t care what happens to Number 4 or Number 5 for that matter and I doubt you will either. GRADE: D