Let me get the plot out of the way first, we follow John Smith(Alex Pettyfer)who is the fourth of nine surviving defenders of an alien race, called Lorians, who, as children, escaped a being massacred by another alien race called Mogadorians. Of course the surviving aliens have taken refuge on Earth and have been hiding. Problem is three of the last nine surviving aliens have been killed and John Smith’s name has come up. Timothy Olyphant plays his Obi-wan type who must protect and train him. After hiding out in a beautiful beach location, they have to move and hide out in a small town. There he meets an independent girl named Sarah(Played by Glee’s Dianna Agron) and they decide to stay put and fight.
The movie is based off of a book series I never knew existed but to me a lot of these stories have been done before. Still this movie has a spark to it that a lot of action films like this have missing. Director D.J.Caruso put some heart into it at least and the movie comes off with a slick cool vibe. The only problem the movie has is it acts like a sequel is coming which may or may not happen. When you prepare for a sequel it usually hurts the actual first movie. Look at Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope that movie stands alone easily. I Am Number Four has so much going on that it hurts the film as a stand alone picture.
Now not everything is a mess, they got some decent acting talent to keep us invested. This is my first time seeing Alex Pettyfer and I thought he did a great job as the lead. Olyphant is always good in my opinion, too bad his character was more a throw away type but he does what he can. It’s Dianna Agron who really showed she can be more than a cheerleader and came off with subtle performance of a damaged girl. A very charming Teresa Palmer shows up as “Number Six” and even she lights up the screen. The problem is the movie is too stuffed with plot points that the characters barely have time to breath. The plot has to keep going to lead to the end that we only get a total of I’d say five minutes with Palmer’s character which is a shame.
I Am Number Four also punishes itself with too much sci-fi stuff that they show and then later explain away. An animal shape shifter shows up early in the film. It transforms from a lizard to a dog, to bigger things. I found myself guessing through the entire film what the twist would be involving this animal. Then towards the end a character just simply explains the animal is a “guardian”. To me I didn’t even understand the point of having the creature in the movie if it didn’t add to the story. There is a lot of these types of moments in the film. Now I know many have been writing this off as a Twilight with aliens, but frankly it wants to be more than that. It wants to be Star Wars or something close to it. Problem is the movie has too much going on to make the film feel balanced.
The villains in the movie are over the top Star Trek type baddies. They are bald with tattoo’s on their heads. They have gills on their noses too which to me seemed pointless. The one thing that I loved is how the actors spoke. Unlike our lead who speaks English perfectly these aliens struggle with our language over and over. I really enjoyed that actually. The lead villain pronounces things like a man would who just learned a new language. I thought it was a nice touch. Otherwise I have a lot questions when it comes to the villains that is never explained. First they travel the world hunting down the nine surviving alien guardians. Yet they bring along these giant bat/lizard monsters in a truck. That works when traveling the highways in America but how exactly do they transport those things around the planet? Also why do they have to hunt down our leads in order? This is never explained and I believe is a huge plot hole. If anything it makes the bad guys horribly predictable.
The one very great thing this movie has is a final twenty minutes that is filled with very well done action scenes. Movie makers these days have struggled with making good action scenes. Shaky cam has taken over as a way to never focus on the action. Here the action is slick and very clear. I have to say the final action scene really gives life to the film, since most of the film the villains are on the road and our heroes are on the run. When they finally clash it is something special. I have no clue if there will be a second one, I’m rooting for one. Since some plot pieces were left open and I think if given a second chance this team could make a seriously solid sci-fi adventure. So bring it on… I want I Am Number Five.