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  • "Brothers" (Hing Dai) is your typical Hong Kong gangster movie, and it doesn't fail to deliver. At the beginning, a fortune teller tells the Tam family mob boss that his two sons will fight against each other in the future, so he sends one of them to the US to separate them. Inevitably, they end up getting together again and the story unfolds. While the story isn't exactly groundbreaking, the cast does a stellar job playing their roles. Lead actor Kiu Wai Miu is cold, resilient, and mysterious as the older brother who takes care of the family business, while Eason is the innocent "clean" younger brother. Eason does a decent job but his role doesn't really require anything out of the ordinary. Kiu Wai Miu pretty much holds the movie together with his unpredictability. You have no idea if he's good or bad, if he still has a hidden hint of decency, or just ruthless. Mainland actress Li Huang is the female lead, although her role is fairly small, I was a bit disappointed in her to be honest. She must have some connections within the entertainment circle because she gets an awful lot of roles, yet each time she's really nothing more than a (decently) pretty face. In most of her scenes, she gives me the impression of a deer caught in headlights. In Mainland China, she started out with smaller roles such as the helper or assistant of the female leads, and I think that's what she does best.

    The real show stealer here, is Andy Lau, also one of the producers of the movie. He plays an arrogant cop, blatantly over the top with his attitude, but there is only a very small handful of actors who can pull it off and look legit. Andy is definitely one of them. And my goodness, the guy is in fantastic shape! In his first scene, he makes instant impact with his coolness and suave exterior. I don't know if he got a facelift, some anti-aging treatment, or just a healthy diet, he is in great shape and looks much younger than before. He is so cocky, that even his coworkers are played (fooled) on a constant basis, yet he doesn't become annoying. Rather, I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions, and shaking my head at how arrogant this guy is. He certainly adds spice to the movie and keeps things interesting.

    Brothers, while not an incredible film, is still a decent rental at the least. The reason I give it 7 rather than 5 or 6, is because it's very well paced, and the solid acting from Kiu Wai Miu and pure entertainment from Andy Lau kept me on the edge of my seat at all times. There are very few dull moments, and the final scenes of the movie were tense enough as well. A good gangster flick to end the year on.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Need to lower your IQ in order to accept the weak plot.

    What Gang? Miu, while always called himself a Gang leader/running a triad society, but only one bodyguard, and no one else. Even needs to drive himself, and goes to Thailand to kill others with his own hands! How can he survive for that long? Unbelievable!

    What cops? They act more like Gang members indeed, insulting, beating clients/suspects all the time. "someone" told them (Andy Lau) there might be drugs and he, without using his brain first, was willing to turn around someone's coffin in a funeral to search, and yet suddenly withdraws because Miu threatened to kill those who disrupt the funeral and all his families! And he even has one of his man's hand almost crushed! Weird.

    Miu, knowing he has terminal illness and wants his little brother to take over. So what is his way of doing this? He setups his brother, who had gone to police before to accuse another gang boss for killing his father, by letting him to crash that gang boss with his own car! In front of so many witnesses, how can his brother be safe in the future? He even asked his brother to flee to Thailand, so not only will he be chased after by the other gang for revenge, he will also be chased by the police for suspected deliberate killing. That is surely the quickest way of nurturing him. 5 stars!

    All in all, don't waste your time and money on this film.
  • The production values are respectably high for this rather ordinary and typical Hong Kong gangster flick. The requisite shoot-outs and car chases are interesting and hold ones attention, but unfortunately the story lacks that quality. I did like the fact that Thailand could so easily be integrated into the story. I look forward to seeing a HK gangster film with New York City as the venue.

    For the neophyte this could be a primer for HK movies. There is nary a cliché which is not explored. Filial bonds/obligations, brother love - responsibility to ones family and siblings, an incurable illness, betrayal, the irresistible charm of a "bad" boy, responsibility for ones actions, doing the "right" thing, sacrifice, "good" bad guys, "bad" good guys - it's incredible how they can cram all this stuff into one movie! (There's actually more - much more.) So, the over the top acting is the natural complement needed to put the story over.

    There's often actions taken (things happen) which keep the story going. Things which have little or no logic - yet, they happen. I often wonder why the writers are so concerned with continuity when the stories have so little logic that continuity really doesn't matter. (It's probably a Hong Kong thing.)

    As for the phony blood and such, the acting and dialog usually draws your attention and you don't notice it. (Sometimes the translations are as challenging as the plots.)

    Hong Kong gangster movies can be very interesting and educational, but you can pass on this one.
  • Tagline: A disappointingly average genre flick + Andy Lau + CYMA… Review by Neo: Andy Lau in 2007 has officially become a product placement in marketing terminology and a supporting actor in the HK film industry. Look no further than his ever existing presence in nearly every single MTR stations in HK and Kowloon, his every movement with that CYMA watch is noted as the busy and quick-paced HK work force steam pass without noticing every morning. In fact, it have become a piece of cliché that everyone have already gotten used to and making only former HK residents like Neo noticing it as he was holidaying in the small island during 2007-08 Xmas. When a reviewer begins a review talking about marketing and product placement, it usually comes with caution that the movie isn't any good. While the good news is that Brothers isn't outright bad, since it is average, on the bad side, there isn't really that much to talk about. Perhaps the only piece realism that director Derek Chiu is able to inflict is quite frankly, Andy Lau and his CYMA watch, as both are probably the most memorable and real moment in the film. Without being a condemning critic, but to be honest, Neo is finding it extremely difficult to forget the moment that Andy Lau took his CYMA watch off and pretends to give it to Gordon Lam. Perhaps, it assists the current reviewer to bring back memories of the HK visit, but really Brothers is not a film about Andy Lau or his anonymous watch, rather yet another triad story.

    Back in 1991, there was The Tigers and there were 5 of them and moving on some 17 years later, only two and a half have gone on to better things. The first two is pretty damn obvious, as we need to look no further than mentioning the name of Andy Lau and Tony Leung Chiu Wai and the half is notably a resurrected TVB career in Miu Kiu-Wai. Without being slack, Felix Wong Yat-Wah and Ken Tong Chun-Yip does make an appearance as the good and the bad respectively in Brothers, but it seems more likely that both have disappeared from the spotlight for nearly a decade. Such is life as an Australian icon used to say (Ned Kelly is an outlaw if you didn't realise), it just goes to show how much effort and luck people like Lau and Leung (and Miu Kiu-Wai to an extent) require staying in demand in the HK industry. In a rare starring film role for Miu Kiu Wai, he has more than enough presence to be a capable leading man, but there is no doubt that he is more suited to the small screen than the silver screen.

    Let's not forget that the film contain someone called Eason Chan, who may seem to be miscast, somehow managed to look more convincing than the rest of the cast. Neo have always claim that Chan is an actor filled with unlimited potential ever since his dramatic performance in Funeral March and since then have gone on to prove the current reviewer correct in flicks like Love Battlefield and Crazy N the City and last year's critically acclaimed The Pye Dog. His expression when he first shot someone is certain priceless to note and a stark contrast to the stoic and emotionless Wong Yat Wah and Miu Kiu-Wai to an extent. Special mention must also be made to the most required eye candy in Crystal Huang Yi. While Neo is bias when it comes to pretty faces, but she does light up some of the pretty cliché proceedings, though a criminal lawyer as pretty as Huang is might actually take some convincing. Andy Lau also appears here and there in his post-Infernal Affairs role as a cop who seems to worry more about his CYMA watch and his stylish suit than anything else.

    With that being said, Brothers is by no means an outright bad film, but it is just a genre film that takes no new risks and no new turns. The result is an efficient, emotionless and ultimately flat head average flick that never seems to attempt to rise above genre conventions. Director Chiu have the backing of Andy Lau, and it is a shame that he can not get more out of his established cast and it doesn't help when the ending is more cheesy than it should be. In what should have been an emotional final sequence, Chiu misses the mark and perhaps also due to the stoic role of Miu Kui Wai, the audience never feels for the lead and the effect is a feeling of distance than relating.

    All in all, Brothers isn't a film that plays itself very seriously and perhaps it is the main reason why it did not work, when a film focus more attention to product placement than developing characters, you know that the audience is far better off switching to some TV commercials or simply stare at all those Andy Lau's posters across the MTR lines. At the end of the day, the good news is that despite the obvious criticism, Brothers is really an average genre flick and some moments of fun can be had, as long as the audience goes in not expecting the next Infernal Affairs. Then again, anything with the brand Andy Lau works in HK… (Neo 2008)

    I rate it 6/10

  • 'Brothers' is a true to form HK gangster/triad film. I won't get into the plot since previous commenter here did a great job at that.

    One of the highlights for me was Andy Lau. He gave a great performance, believable in every sense, and has a great presence. Other highlights for me included a stylish chase scene through narrow streets & alleys involving a 3-wheeled motorbike and 2 cars, and the one of the final gun battles which was very well done.

    There was a lot of dialog in the movie, which I like, but I wished there had been a little more action. It was half drama/half action film, more heavily on the drama in my opinion.

    Not an incredible film but worthy of watching if you enjoy this genre.
  • In search of Asian organized crime films to rival Johnie To's Election I & II (which have become my standard to which other such films are compared), with more drama, critical relationships, pointed words, clever actions, and tense standoffs instead of shooting, kicking, shouting, blood (why do these HK filmmakers love blood?), and car chases, I rented Brothers (which based on the translations used in the film, may or may not be the proper title), and wanted to like it. A few strong characters, scenes, and story with potential shadowed by poor edits, poor translation, weak characters, and lack of development. The search continues.