D.J. Caruso’s latest thriller I Am Number Four doesn’t waste any time; the audience is immediately plunged into the action with the chilling murder of Number 3 in the middle of a tropical jungle. From there we are introduced to our main character, Number 4, played by Alex Pettyfer, who is apparently one of nine children saved from the far away planet Lorien after an evil alien race called the Mogadorians destroys the planet.
These nine were specifically saved because they have special abilities that will enable them to one day defeat the Mogadorians; however, the Mogadorians have followed them to Earth and are now exterminating them one by one. While there are a few plot holes and fairly predictable outcomes, I Am Number Four ultimately achieves its sole objective of being an electrifying action-packed sci-fi thriller.
Because they are relentlessly being hunted, the six surviving children are forced to live nomadic lifestyles, constantly moving and changing their names. As a result of Number 3’s death, Number 4 changes his name to John Smith and moves with his guardian to the remote, small town of Paradise, Ohio, leaving no trace behind. John’s guardian Henri is played by Timothy Olyphant, and while he portrays himself as John’s father to the humans around them, he is actually a warrior from Lorien chosen to protect John from the Mogadorians.
Henri is whole-heartedly committed to his appointed task, tirelessly scouring the internet for any photographic traces of John and instantly deleting them. He wants to keep John under the radar and safe at any cost, but John ultimately convinces him to let him attend high school.
Unfortunately, maintaining a low profile is not the easiest thing for John to do, especially considering Pettyfer’s ridiculously good looks. Right away head football player Mark, played by Jake Abel, feels threatened by him and publicly declares him enemy number one. However, John doesn’t seem to care, preferring to stay in the shadows and befriending the outcast of the school Sam, played by Callan McAuliffe.
He also attracts the attention of the school’s prettiest girl Sarah, played by Diana Agron of Glee fame. Of course, Mark is her ex-boyfriend, so that only deepens Mark’s hatred for John. John’s powers are also developing, and he suddenly begins to have crazy symptoms such as glowing hands and telekinesis. At first this is very hard for him to control, but with Henri’s help, John is able to rein in his powers.
This is just in time, because as expected, John does not do a good job of blending in, and the Mogadorians begin to close in on him. These villainous aliens are very creepy and menacing looking, with messed up teeth and gill-like slits on their faces. It’s up to John to survive and protect his new friends Sarah and Sam, but luckily, he is helped out by the arrival of a few friends.
There are undeniably many plot holes in this movies’ plot line. It couldn’t have hurt the film’s producers to put in a little more background information about the battle between the Lorians and the Mogadorians, but because they fail to do so, it all seems a little random.
They also never fully explain why the Mogadorians are hunting them in chronological order, or why the surviving Lorians never teamed up to fight back instead of being picked off one by one. Suspension of disbelief is to be expected in films, but it seemed a little much in this case.
The ending leaves much to be desired in terms of tying all the loose strings up, and one can only assume that the writers planned on making a sequel. While this is a smart commercial move on their part, it seems highly presumptuous to assume that a sequel is inevitable. They should have focused on making this more of a stand alone movie first.
Despite the plot holes and annoying presumptuousness, this movie succeeded at entertaining. If you are a sci-fi thriller fan, this movie is definitely worth checking out.