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I Am Number Four


Stars: Alex Pettyfer, Dianna Agron, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, Callan McAuliffe, Kevin Durand

Director: D J Caruso

A right load of sci-fi codswallop, even given good monster creatures and CGI-aided action which adds wallop to the fight scenes at the end.

It goes like this: nine survivors of the planet Lorean, decimated by the Mogadorians (didn't someone once sing about the Maharajah of Mogador?), have found their way to Earth. With their special powers, they could thwart the bad guys' plans to colonise our planet. But they are being hunted down one by one before their powers can properly develop.

Number Three is dispatched as the film opens, and Number Four (square-jawed Pettyfer) has just given himself away and has to move on, guarded, as are all the nine, by a 'warrior' (Olyphant), although 'John Smith', as he's renamed, still has to go to school, which seems rather odd for someone from another planet.

Of course, when not besting the school bullies, he falls for a girl (Agron) and wants to stay - in spite of the fact that Mogadorians, with their monsters, caged in a circus truck, in tow, are hot on his trail.

So, familiar elements are in place, but the film has no atmosphere, or shocks, that would elevate it to the upper grades of classic sci-fi. Neither of the girls, Agron and Palmer (as Number Six) can act, which is a bit of a downer, although subtlety is a foreigner to most of the cast here. And the best the dialogue can come up with is 'A place is only as good as the people you know in it.' For late night-night action addicts only, then, preferably armed with a six-pack.

David Quinlan

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Walt Disney (Touchstone/DreamWorks). Colour by deluxe.
109 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 18 Feb 2011