Death by cliche

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 October, 2007, 12:00am

Brothers Crime drama

As if to prove that some things never change, Brothers - a gangster drama directed by Derek Chiu - ends in bloodshed, a scene that makes no sense and undoes most of the good work in the first half of the film.

Why can't gang bosses and cops in movies - supposedly intelligent people since they are on top of the ladder at different ends of the spectrum - come up with a better solution than throwing their lives on the line unnecessarily? Why is a director of Chiu's calibre willing to sacrifice logic and common sense for some cliched action scenes?

The plot involves veteran TV actor Michael Miu Kiu-wai as the elder son of a mob boss who literally gets stabbed in the back. The younger son (Eason Chan Yik-shun), an IT guy in America, returns to attend his father's funeral, which lifts the curtain on a bloody gang war in the family.

Miu - a member of the 1980s 'Five Tigers of TVB' - returned to acting in 2005 for a drama series. Since then he has been getting better with each performance. In Brothers he is in top form, playing a mob boss who is a caring brother, a family man and a criminal mastermind caught up in a situation that he has no control of.

The supporting actors - especially members of the 'Five Tigers' - are equally impressive. Andy Lau Tak-wah plays a smiley and world-weary cop. Ken Tong Chun-yip returns as a baldy bad guy, while Felix Wong Yat-wah plays a loyal servant to Miu's big brother character.

Unfortunately, these first-rate performances are let down by an ending marred by the 2Bs - bullets and bloodshed. Michael Clayton has proved that good crime thrillers have nothing to do with action, which is only the icing, not the cake. Mistaking the former for the latter is where Brothers, despite having all the right ingredients, fails.

Brothers is now showing