Three are dead. He is Number Four. D.J. Caruso ("Eagle Eye," "Disturbia") helms a suspense-thriller about an extraordinary young man, John Smith (Alex Pettyfer), who is a fugitive on the run from ruthless enemies sent to destroy him.
Changing his identity, moving from town to town with his guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant), John is always the new kid with no ties to his past.
In the small Ohio town he now calls home, John encounters unexpected, life-changing events - his first love (Dianna Agron), powerful new abilities and a connection to the others who share his incredible destiny.
Keeping in mind that this movie is aimed at a younger audience than I fit into, it was a real pleasure to take my son and his friend to the cinema to see it.
The plot is simple and pretty shallow... a strange echo of the classic 'Superman' tale really - aliens escape to earth and try to hide, but don't always succeed. Bad guys hunt them, get their butts kicked by superpowers, and of course the main alien character gets emotionally tangled with a mere human girl. However, despite the ultimate cliche plot, the execution of it is really well done - as one would expect from Disney, a company who has been successfully sparking our imaginations for decades.
Alex Pettyfer, perhaps better known for his embodiment of "Alex Rider" in the movie adaptation of 'Stormbreaker' by Anthony Horowitz, is now an alien refugee, hidden on our planet along with 8 other youths and their guardian warriors. Now being hunted down by bounty hunters from the Mogadorian species who invaded his home planet and slaughtered the entire race.
The Mogadorian commander is played by Kevin Durand, a very familiar face to any Stargate fan as the Go'ald Lord Zipacna, or more recently as the archangel Gabriel in 'Legion'. In this movie he does a pretty good job of once again being a sadistic swine bent on torture and destruction by any means necessary. In one scene - which I felt wasn't at all kid-friendly and decidedly UN-Disney'like - he 'plays' with a human using a rather disturbing torture device like a small metal ball with multiple spinning saw blades. And makes jokes about it to his team. For me, this one scene really took away the shine the movie had built up, and it was almost at the final fight sequence before I had stopped anticipating something else nasty.
Overall, the movie was a success, rest assured. Young boys will love the movie, even with two sigh-inducing 'kissy-face bits' in the latter half... the action is great, the special effects are pretty convincing, and the characters are well developed and very easy to 'get in touch with' - with perhaps the character of 'Number 6' - played by Teresa Palmer from "Sorceror's Apprentice" - who came across a little bit too harsh to easily empathise with. If you get the chance, take the kids... they'll love you for it.
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