Movie Review: I Am Number Four

“I Am Number Four” on IMDB

Sci-fi,  109 Minutes, 2011

A race of evil teethy, gill-faced aliens with big guns invade a planet and destroy it.  The only survivors are nine magic kids and their guardians who move to Earth and go into hiding.  The aliens send a team of bounty hunters to kill the kids because, for some reason, the kids could stop the aliens from destroying Earth even though they couldn’t do anything to save their own planet.

So this team of eight or nine could kill these kids but an all-out invasion would fail because of them.  Oh, and for some other reason (why not let’s say “magic!”), the kids can only be killed in numerical order.

So, instead of keeping together with “number one” in the middle (which, as I understand the rules, would essentially make them invulnerable) or assigning all of the guardians to protect the only vulnerable child, they split up and go off alone.  Unsurprisingly, this allows the teethy guys to pick them off one-by-one.  When we enter into the picture, they’re up to number four.

To sum up: whaaa??  To have any hope of enjoying this you really have to ignore the story.  Or, possibly have read the book (which I have to assume made at least slightly more sense).  If you are able to divorce the proceedings from the explanation there’s actually a pretty fun movie here.

Timothy Olyphant [IMDB] plays number four’s guardian.  While you know that means he has a short shelf-life he’s also pretty swell (I may have the slightest man-crush on him…)  He really makes the first third of the movie watchable.  We spend a lot of time dealing with Number Four’s teen angst and the development of his super-alien-powers.  Why can’t they stay in one place?  Why can’t he have a normal life?  Why can’t he ever fall in love?  It’s tiresome stuff but sets the stage and is over pretty quickly.

Once we get into the serious ass-kicking phase of the movie, all is well.  The effects are good and we even get a few decent monsters in the mix.  They also (on the basis of, I guess, “why not?!”) throw in a hot chick with a motorcycle and super-powers.  There are explosions and magical kung fu galore.  Sure it’s a stupid, stupid (really quite stupid) movie, but it is a fun one.

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