John Smith is a teenager who lacks awareness when it comes to the powers he possesses. However, he does understand the importance of his existence and also why he is protected from those who want to kill him.
His fellow Loriens, a race of aliens that are being hunted down and killed by the Mogadorians, know him as Number Four. He is part of a group of teenagers who have special legacies and powers. They are each given a guardian and a protective charm that only allows them to be killed in numerical order.
The problem is all John wants to do is be a teenager, but in doing so, it only draws attention to himself and where he is, leaving him wide open for assassination.
John, played by Alex Pettyfer and his guardian Henri, played by Timothy Olyphant, travel from town to town in order to keep him safe. Knowing Numbers One, Two and Three have been killed, and that John is next, they flee to a small town in Ohio, hoping to throw the Mogadorians off their track.
It’s in Ohio that John meets and falls in love with Sarah, played by Dianna Agron, and befriends Sam, a frequently ostracized science nerd played by Callan McAuliffe. Through these new relationships, John lets his guard down and his whereabouts are discovered. It is also where he discovers how powerful he is and what he can do with those powers.
The cast isn’t bad.
Pettyfer was not hired for his acting chops, but does manage to be more than just eye candy. Olyphant is always good and always interesting to watch even if it’s a bad film. Check him out in “The Broken Hearts Club”, “Scream 2” and “Deadwood”. He is an actor who is constantly reinventing himself and who takes risks with every role he creates.
Two big screen newcomers, Argon and McAuliffe, finely support both Pettyfer and Olyphant, as does Teresa Palmer, who plays Number 6 and Jake Abel who plays Sarah’s angry ex-boyfriend.
Aragon, best known for her work as Quinn on the Emmy winning show “Glee”, is beautiful, alluring and also a talented young actress. McAuliffe takes the goofy best friend role and turns in a surprisingly touching performance. Not an easy task in a Sci-Fi film.
The special effects are good, though appear too late in the film, and in the final confrontation, the action is so fast that we miss a lot of the fight choreography. As for the added use of CGI, it is unnecessary and only cheapens the look and believability of the film.
Director D. J. Caruso is not a stranger to Sci-Fi/Action films, directing both “Disturbia” and “Eagle Eye”. These films are both much better, mainly because the writing is good and they both have more plausible plotlines.
The screenplay by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar and Marti Noxon was based on the novel by Pittacus Lore, and while the direction and pacing of the film is good, there are just some aspects of the film where good actors can’t help the story.
6 of 10 stars