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同根生 (1989)
Bloody Brotherhood

Reviewed by: Frank Lakatos
Date: 09/29/2005

Wang Lung Wei or some producers who understood Wang's Hong Kong Godfafther(1985) concept were inspired to recreate Hong Kong Godfather, but they didn't know that they didn't have the right ingredients to even attempt a remake. But with a lousy script, budget, and miscast of Andy Lau as the lead (we need a man, not a teenager!), the movie went down the tubes. Wang tries to make up this abortion by choroegraphing a chopper brawl similar to that of the astonmishing Hong Kong Godfather (1985) finale, but the script is bad, there is too much misdirection(Ken Lo and Philip Ko aren't used at all, and Dick Wei is bumped off mid way through the movie) and bad action design(not the choreography) which complete aborts the movie. The only redeeming quality is Lam Wai, who should have been cated as the lead. Shum Wai wa shired again to play the two faced triad leader, who causes a triad war as he did in Hong Kong Godfather, but his presence alone cannot save this abortion. This is an example of the Hong Kong industry, greedy and at the same time, chicken headed, which is a horrible combination, a combination which has ruined and continues to ruin whatever remains of the Hong Kong movie industry. If you are bored, this is a decent filler, but don't expect Hong Kong Godfether here. This is just another routine triad movie. **1/2/*****

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/18/2003

Bloody Brotherhood didn't make much of a splash at the HK box office (just reaching that "magic" two-week theatrical run where most HK movies reach the break-even point) and it's gone largely ignored by fans, even though it stars Andy Lau, arguably the biggest star in HK right now. To some point, this is justified. Bloody Brotherhood doesn't really offer up anything new or do it in any sort of spectacular fashion. In fact, many parts of the film are merely adequate, or even sub-par. However, after watching a spate of recent half-ass over-CGIed movies, Bloody Brotherhood brought back memories of a time when even the most average HK crime/action flick was better than anything Hollywood could (or would) churn out.

The film begins with Andy Lau, his brother (Lam Wai) and parents being smuggled in a boat to Hong Kong. The coast guard finds the boat and begins shooting it up. Washing ashore, Andy is befriended by a kindly old man and his daughter (Irene Wan) and begins to look for work. After his stall is shaken down by the local hoods, Andy goes to the Big Brother (Triad movie mainstay Michael Chan), where his fighting skills gain him entrance into the gang. Things seem to be going well -- Andy even begins to go legit -- until a face from his past changes everything and a gang war threatens to destroy everything he has worked for.

This is by-the-numbers Triad movie stuff; most long-time viewers of this type of film will see the big "plot twist" a mile away. However, things are handled well for the most part. The movie moves at a crisp pace (even forgoing the dreaded musical flashback/montages which usually pop up in films like this), most of the actors do a good job, and the action is well-done. Don't expect any John Woo-like antics here; this is the "get big choppers and cut everyone up" kind of stuff (Andy even uses a handsaw in one scene). Film-makers at this point didn't favor the fancy camerawork which would later come into vogue after the success of films like Young and Dangerous, and as such, there is an immediacy and brutality to these scenes which is sorely missing in many new movies, which often try so hard to look cool that they forget to put any actual emotion into the picture.

Really, besides the somewhat pedestrian nature of the film, Bloody Brotherhood's only major flaw is its' star. Andy Lau simply wasn't that good of an actor at this point in his career. Well, okay, to be blunt, he sucked. This is actually some of his better work from his earlier years, but it's still not very good. I swear there were some points where I thought he was reading off of cue cards -- at least he keeps his shirt on and doesn't sing any cheesy ballads this time out. If you can get past Andy's less-than-average performance, and enjoy the old-school gangster stuff, then you should check out Bloody Brotherhood. It's not a classic by any means, but it's still an entertaining way to spend ninety minutes.

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/12/2002
Summary: Another gangster film

No more than that. It could have been a good movie the way it started out, but after a while you can guess what is about to happen every 5 minutes as it turns into a usual brutal gang fight kind of scenes.

Nothing special, Andy Lau didn't act so well.

Rating (out of 5): 2

(This rating is based on the year & genre, so don't think it's based as a comparison on new releases etc.)

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/21/1999

Wah is the only one in his family lucky enough to survive thedeadly boat passage from China to Hong Kong. Once in Hong Kong, he searches for opportunities he heard so much about. After struggling for months, he discovers that this is all but a myth.

[Reviewed by Tai Seng Catalog]