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| Wednesday, October 17, 2007


STARRING: Andy Lau, Eason Chan, Michael Miu, Felix Wong, Ken Tong, Lam Ka Tung

DIRECTOR: Derek Chiu

RATING: ** 1/2

The skinny: Two brothers, separated since young due to a fortune- teller's prediction, are reunited when their triad-chief-turned-businessman father gets stabbed and dies.

The older Yiu (Michael Miu) intends to take revenge on his own, but the younger Shun (Eason Chan) wants to call the cops to investigate.

The review: Nostalgia is the biggest draw of this triad film - the chance to see four of TVB's Five Tigers reunite on screen after 16 years.

Not so much to see Andy Lau, as he has kept a high profile all these years, but rather, the more low-profile Miu Kiu Wai, Felix Wong and Ken Tong.

It was a nice idea to begin with, championed by Andy who also produced the film.

But without a solid storyline to bind the four characters together, the idea loses its intended impact.

Brothers turns out to be a simple and draggy tale of revenge.

The insipid plot unfolds so slowly, there's just no kick in following it.

All the action normally associated with triad flicks is toned down, as the producers attempt to play up the human drama - particularly the dire consequences of mistrust among brothers.

But the producers forget that viewers have been spoilt by the avalanche of triad flicks already churned out, so it becomes a lot harder to impress them.

One major tuk-tuk chase on Thai streets was less exciting than a certain credit card commercial, while another man-hits-car scene simply screams Infernal Affairs.

Brothers attempts to give a new spin on the good guy/bad guy mind game as the key characters try to guess one another's real intentions, but it gets tiresome after a while.

Quite obviously, mean-faced Ken is the baddie here while the earnest Felix is the good, loyal one.

But it is not so easy to read Michael, who puts up a restrained performance as the older brother who was trained since young to be cold and ruthless.

Andy's cop role provides some comic relief when he tries to turn the two brothers against each other, and it is quite refreshing to see him being irreverent for once.

As the untainted younger brother who was sent to study in the US, the usually goofy Eason comes across as being so naive, it's funny.

His was the role that should have gone to Tony Leung Chiu Wai, the last of the Five Tigers. But this film would still need a lot more than Tony's arresting presence to lift it above mediocrity.

The one scene that justifies the ticket price: When Shun goes to the cops to report who killed his father and realises, to his horror, how naive he is.

The one scene that will eject you from your seat: Let's just say it has to do with a hand and a coffin.

Best quote: 'Have you ever seen a cat let go of a mouse it caught?' asks a smug cop (Andy Lau) who nabs Yiu for drug possession, and the latter claims he was set up.

Moral of the story: Nostalgia is nice, but it doesn't always work.

Chang May Choon

news from: The New Paper