Plot: “Blood Brothers” is the story of three friends, Fong and two brothers; Kang and Hu. They leave their old village lives behind in the slums of the mainland. They travel to Shanghai where they seek wealth and a better live for themselves as well as their families.
Kang manages to score them job working in one of the most swanky night clubs in Shanghai “Paradise”. Paradise is owned by successful movie producer Hong, but Hong also leads a double life as highly feared crime lord who rules Shanghai with deadly enforcers.
The group of friends find themselves tested as become enforcers for Hong. Wealth and power comes their way at a price, a price so grand it could only be paid in blood.
Let the gangster’s paradise of lust, loyalty and betrayal begin…
Review: When hearing that new director Alexi Tan was remaking John Woo’s classic “Bullet in the Head”, I honestly felt ill. After seeing the still shots of the movie, my faith was re-ignited and my love for Shanghai in the 1930s pulled me back into purchasing this movie when it first became available.
My initial first impressions of the movie were mixed and after watching the movie recently I must say my feelings haven’t changed. A friend explained it perfectly by saying, “it’s a great idea but it just wasn’t executed well”. I weighted out my pros and cons, believing I loved the most of the casting choices, the exquisite setting, the authentic wardrobe and my love/hate relationship with the movies sound effects wondering if they were meant to be corny on purpose or not. I could only describe my opinion of this movie as mixed.
Now let me dissect our leading cast…
Daniel Wu is an actor to who has already impressed me in the past with his work, his role in “One Nite in Mongkok” to “Beijing Rocks” and again Wu puts a 100% percent into his role of Fung. His character being the natural party throughout and being included in two love triangles, both subplots which I believe are pretty disposable and easily forgettable.
When it comes to Liu Ye I do find that he really steals the show as his role of Kang, the eager brother of Hu, who only wants a better life for him and his brother at any cost. The character makes this transition from eager beaver to sinister bastard who wanted nothing more to physically hack his way to the top of the food chain. It’s a character we’ve seen in a dozen movies before, but **** they’re usually the best characters!
Tony Yangs character; Hu turns the table by playing the role of the young careless gullible brother who cant stomach his drink. His silver lining I believe that he is the most passionate character in the entire movie, the voice of reason. It’s another stereotypical character, but hey we need these sorts of characters to keep the movie moving to be honest. Tony Yang only having a limited acting background behind him, I think he don’t alright in this movie.
One of the notable stars in the movie is Hong Sun-Lei who portrays the role of Boss Hong, his menacing role in the movie could be compared to his villainous role in Tsui Harks “Seven Swords”. Since I’ve only seen less than a handful of his work, I want to believe this mans acting skills truly shine when he depicts the role of the criminal.
Chang Chens character Mark, who is Hongs most lethal enforcers is a fairly flat during the first half of the film, its when the full story between him and Shu Qi is revealed and his story of revenge really ignited my interest in the later half of the movie.
Now how could I forget about the female lead in this movie? Fairly easy unfortunately, I found Shu Qi’s character as troubled lounge singing beauty Lulu seems the most out of place in the movie. She did put effort into her role, the behind-the-scenes footage shows you her revising his dance routines and trying to keen everything legitimate to the period of the movie, but I just found that when watching Shu Qi in the movie and rather than the character “Lulu”, nothing personal hen!
When it comes to the much needed shoot outs in the movie, they are pretty damn good I must say. It is definitely fitting to what I’d expect from the typical 30’s Gangster flick. With Chang Chens role of the cold hearted enforcer, he gets away with most of the action. When it comes to the finale with Daniel Wu walking onto the stage in Paradise and announcing “Paradise is closed” with the blast of a shotgun, I thought to myself – About time mate! Let the bodies hit the floor!
In a more professional reviewing sense, I mean – the final shoot out is worth a watching at least.
To some things up, I believe the movie was a valiant effort at remaking a classic, but you remake a better Bullet in the Head. Nice try!