I Am Number Four is an action-packed film with a cast of gorgeous young actors that mixes sci-fi and teen romance. Alex Pettyfer stars as John Smith, an alien originally from Lorien who escaped the planet before its destruction. As one of nine Lorien refugees known as the Garde, each of the aliens is known by their number, and they can only be killed in sequence — and John is number four, hence the title.
Another, more creepy alien race called the Mogadorians seek to wipe out John's kind, tracking him and the other members of the Garde who are hiding on Earth. When a Garde member is killed by the Mogadorians, the remaining aliens receive a scar. John's only family is Lorien warrior Henri (Timothy Olyphant), who functions as John's father figure while guiding him away from harm. When John get his third scar, warning him that he's next in line to die, he and Henri pick up and move to small town Paradise, Ohio.
Though I Am Number Four gets excessive at times with nearly every element (special effects, stunts, romance), it's entertaining. And while the story is not always clear, you're never bored. To find out what else I thought of the movie, just
When he enrolls at the local high school, John must deal with typical new kid problems, like being picked on by the jocks, but he has more to deal with than settling in a new place. It's in Ohio that he discovers his special power: "Lumen," a bright light that shoots from John's hands and gives him new abilities like super strength. The adjustment is made a bit easier by Sarah, a fellow student who is instantly attracted to John (played with fresh-faced sweetness by Glee's Dianna Agron).
Pettyfer and Agron have a believable chemistry that thrives on the teen angst they both ooze. It has to be noted that the filmmakers seem to be going for a Twilight-style vibe, starting with the romance between its two leads (the brooding, otherworldly guy and the sweet human girl who needs his protection). Some of the action sequences are eerily reminiscent of the first Twilight film, and Pettyfer's accent is also as inconsistent as Robert Pattinson's.
Pettyfer has the looks, build, and chops to be an action star, and he does a satisfactory job for a relative newcomer. But it's his costar Teresa Palmer who really leaves an impression. As a badass fellow Lorien who's also on John's trail, Palmer is decked out in leather, only speaks when necessary (and in clipped, clever quips), and is the kind of girl who blows up a house and never looks at the explosion. I only wish Palmer had gotten more screen time, as her character and back story hint at something far more interesting than John's biography.
Pettyfer, Palmer, and Agron make I Am Number Four extremely watchable in spite of cheesy dialogue and situations that occasionally keep you from being completely immersed. When you giggle over the sweet nothings John and Sarah breathe at each other with big saucer eyes, it takes away a little something. But if you can cast cynicism aside and appreciate the explosions and silly sci-fi for what it is, you're in for a good time.