At a glance:
While Tony Leung was somewhere wipin the sweat off his testicles from his BDSM sex romp with Tang Wei in a little movie called Lust, Caution, the rest of the one-time TVB tigers had a nice get-together in this aptly titled triad offerin. Considerin that this effort was widely seen as Andy Lau's helpin hand to his theatrical ‘brothers', it's surprisin that the film doesn't appear to be a forced project at all. Flyin in the face of popular assumption, Brothers comes off as an immediately mature piece of film. The patriarch of a criminal family separates his two sons by sendin one abroad in fear of a religious foretellin by temple monks. Years on, the elder brother helms the family business while the younger is struggling as an IT student in America. Bad blood between rival contemporary Uncle Nine Fingers (still unhappy about his nine fingers) and the patriarch is carried through to their respective sons, played by Michael Miu (pic, left) and Ken Tong. Enter Eason Chan as the IT student to throw an unknown quantity into the conflict – does the elder want the younger to die, as prophesised?
Bad news on the doorstep:
Lackin the meditation in, say, Protege or the elegance of Blood Brothers (both of which were served earlier that year), the movie has strong negative overtones, and in that, extremely successful in resonatin Chinese sentiments behind triad life. Globalisation is to blame if the Chinese diaspora fails to understand the magnitude of meanin behind the words and motives in the film. Sometime in the last 10 to 15 years, HK gangster fare decided to be more realistic – and that set the tone for the celebrated Infernal Affairs trilogy to banish the Young & Dangerous franchise to the kiddies DVD bargain bin. Bleak and unglamorously dark, this did one better than most movies of the genre by drainin you in a frustratingly good way. 20 minutes in, the fate of all the characters appear sealed and yet the movie encourages you to root for those who are doomed anyhow, against your better judgment. Not everyone's idea of a good gangster flick, though.
Watch out for:
Andy Lau and Lam Ka Tung indulgin in cop banter for a disarmin backdrop to the seriousness of the affairs that were unravellin. Police subculture is sadly brutal but the sick dialogue between ever-laughing triad bosses are scarier still. At any level, Brothers is never borin - but it is quite tirin. It even tires you to the point of not carin for the film's only actress, a sensual gangster's moll-cum-lawyer played by Crystal Huang. Therein lies the strength of the picture – it refuses to do the things which other gangster movies do to bring out the feel-good factor.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?Brothers lets the viewer ponder on the inescapability of fate and family – while suggestin a loaded gun at the end of every path. After all, it's always been about money and power for five thousand years.