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兄弟 (2007)

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 11/03/2008
Summary: It's been done before and better...

After an attempt on their father's life, two brothers are reunited and must decide how to continue their family's crime business. Yiu Tam (Miu Kiu-Wai) has been effectively running things in Hong Kong since his father's retirement, trying to keep firm control over a crime family that is quickly becoming frayed at the edges. After the assassination attempt, Shun Tam (Eason Chan) returns from America where he has been working since leaving Hong Kong when he was 9, his father having received a portent of misfortune that will occur between his sons. It turns out that Yiu Tam is gravely ill, and he must decide how and if to shift the power into Shun's hands. Shun is an unwilling participant in the transfer, but quickly is indoctrinated into the violence of the criminal underworld. All the while, they are being tracked by Chief Inspector Lau (Andy Lau), who is determined to figure out the hierarchical struggle and avert any violence that may spill out into the streets of Hong Kong.

Brothers explores a story that has been done before, and unfortunately has been done better. Really, the only compelling actor in this film is Miu Kiu-Wai and his portrayal of a failing Yiu Tam. Eason Chan is ok, but seems over matched in his scenes. Maybe that's a positive since his character is equally over matched in his new role in the family. Andy Lau plays the same cop character he seems to always when faced with this type of movie and he fails to move the needle once again. Luckily, I didn't know about his tendency to hawk his goods in his film, so the CYMA watch scene didn't annoy me too much. Henry Fong is effectively creepy as Uncle 9, but Ken Tong doesn't do enough to continue the feeling of being a threat to Tam's legacy. For the most part though, the plot of the film feels stale and a retread. Who hasn't seen the younger brother unwillingly forced to take over the crime business film before? "The Godfather" anyone? It's tough to match up with one of the greatest films ever.


Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 01/10/2008

Despite having some star power behind it, with Andy Lau as a star and executive producer, as well as having a solid crew, such as veteran Chin Kar-Lok handling the action direction, Brothers ends up just being your standard Triad picture.

Miu Kiu-Wai plays Yiu, who's a pretty nice guy as far as hardened gangsters go, which probably explains why the nasty Brother 9 (Henry Fong Ping) wants to take his arm of the "family" out.

Making matters worse is Lau (Andy Lau), a hard-boiled cop that's determined to bring down the local Triads. After Yiu's father is killed, his brother Shun (Eason Chan) comes home to Hong Kong from America and wants to help with the family "business". Will this lead to prosperity or defeat?

I'm sure most of you harderned Triad movie veterans out there know the answer to that burning question, and Brothers doesn't do anything to dispel that notion of deja vu during its' running time. This is by-the-book stuff all the way.

To their "credit", the film-makers seem to make a half-hearted attempt to change things up. But it mostly ends up being minor snigglets, like using Cantorock tunes versus the usual Cantopop ballads during the "emotional" bits.

There does seem to be a place for these kinds of movies in the Hong Kong movie industry, since they provide reliable entertainment for the viewer and a steady stream of income for the film-makers. But, really, how many times can one dine on the same diet before they bring it all back up in disgust?

And can somebody please tell Eason Chan to invest in some shampoo and a comb? Seriously. I'm sure they have Super Cuts in Hong Kong, and there's really no reason a star of a movie (much less one that's supposed to be a gangster) can't invest a few bucks and actually try and look the part.

[review from]

Reviewer Score: 5