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[Review] Brother (Japan/U.S.)

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[Review] Brother (Japan/U.S.)

Old 10-25-01, 10:23 PM
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[Review] Brother (Japan/U.S.)

Brother (2000) (Japan & USA)

Running Time: 113 Minutes

DVD - Universe Laser. Region 3 (R3), NTSC

Picture - Widescreen Letterbox

Sound - Original Language (Japanese & English) in 2.0 Stereo, DD 5.1 Surround, and DTS

Subtitles - English, Chinese Traditional and Chinese Simplified (all removable).

Extras - Chapter Search and Stars Files - that's it.

The Film - 7/10
The DVD - 7/10

Starring - Omar Epps and Beat Takeshi
Director - Takeshi Kitano (also wrote and edited)

Brother is about a Yakuza big brother in the Japanese Mafia named Anaki who pisses off too many people so he's sent out of Japan. He finds himself in America where he locates his younger brother who is a small-time drug dealer in LA. Anaki ends up getting involved and soon finds himself back in the gangster life. He becomes their leader and they war with rival gangs and take over turf and blah blah... it's a gangster movie - not gangster like thug life or anything, but like the Triad stuff or the Godfather movies.

It's very atmospheric and dramatic. It's the classic rise and fall story that's been told a million times before. I found myself getting a little bored with it at times, but I can see a person who is really into these types of films could fall in love with this one. It has some really good detail in it from the beginning that didn't quite carry through to the end, but it's still a solid film. It seems to have been done on the cheap, but still looks like a big budget film. Some of the effects are bad and there are plenty of holes and situations which defy logic, but overall - it's entertaining to watch. There is indeed alot of blood and bodies - this picture is very violent. The moral of this film is "Don't F*** with the Italian Mafia."

The DVD transfer is very very clean - but the colors bleed a bit like they do on VHS... but it's not transferred from a tape media like that. The subtitles are typical of Universe - they subtitle everything - even what is being said or written in English, so it's mildly distracting... they also have a few mistakes here and there, but they are getting better and better with each DVD they produce. The DTS track is very nice - there's not much need for it because most of the film is long periods of silence with bits of dialogue and then every once in awhile the speakers explode with rapid gunfire that is over as quickly as it began.

The acting in the film is a mixed bag... The American actors were halfway decent - some being fairly good and others being just ok, but nobody was pathetically bad. Omar did a decent job - I think he could've done better if he had more takes or time to prepare or something because I've seen him give some good performances - better than this one at least... still, he wasn't that bad. Beat Takeshi was a badass. He was mostly quiet and maintained an ominous demeanor even when he was smirking. His character was pretty stiff and he played it appropriately - he played it as a one-dimensional character with a great deal of other things going on underneath the surface. He was good. The rest of the main support was decent as well - we're not talking about the craptacular acting from China Strike Force or anything. It's a solid film.

I think if you like films like Scarface, Godfather, and Triad films - this one would be worth picking up for sure. If you are looking for a John Woo shoot-em-up style action film, look elsewhere. This is more of a drama. I liked it ok. It's at least worth a rental. Recommended.
Old 10-25-01, 10:31 PM
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Thanks for the review Trigger! I am looking forward to watching this when it arrives. I only have one other Takeshi Kitano filme Violent Cop, but liked it very much. It's very likely I will pick up some of his other works in the future. Impression on me from Violent Cop is that Takeshi has great on-screen presence.

cheers,
Gabe
Old 10-25-01, 11:12 PM
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Originally posted by gabegarwick
Thanks for the review Trigger! I am looking forward to watching this when it arrives. I only have one other Takeshi Kitano filme Violent Cop, but liked it very much. It's very likely I will pick up some of his other works in the future. Impression on me from Violent Cop is that Takeshi has great on-screen presence.

cheers,
Gabe
I'd like to hear a comparison between Brother and Violent Cop when you watch Brother...

Oh - and by the way - I took the time today to watch Brother (had other things lined up) just for you people - so I hope you appreciate it. Now that I've watched it, I can get back to watching Shu Qi Body Show (j.k. - I wish I had that.)
Old 10-26-01, 01:03 AM
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Violent Cop is classic Kitano. Brother on the other hand...well not nearly as good.
Old 10-26-01, 09:21 AM
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Originally posted by Trigger


I'd like to hear a comparison between Brother and Violent Cop when you watch Brother...

Oh - and by the way - I took the time today to watch Brother (had other things lined up) just for you people - so I hope you appreciate it. Now that I've watched it, I can get back to watching Shu Qi Body Show (j.k. - I wish I had that.)
Well, I say THANKS TRIGGER for taking the time out to watch and review it.... You ROCK!!!

Your review, is exactly what I wanted to hear I can't wait to get it....

I also bought:

Boiling Point
Fireworks
Gonin

For a little more BEAT

I also would like to see the comparison between Violent Cop and Brother. I have heard mixed things about VC, but it sounds like it should be one of my next purchases.
Old 10-26-01, 02:35 PM
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Is Gonin available with subs?

I was under the impression that the only Beat Takeshi movies available with subs were:

Kikujiro (HK disk)
Violent Cop - US disk
Boiling Point - US disk
Brother - US/Japanese disks.

One guy at asiandvdguide.com also said comparatively speaking, the VC and BP disks aren't too good quality wise. I was able to rent VC (some very good scenes, but overall, not really my thing) and I'll try and rent BP soon too.

Tuan Jim
Old 10-26-01, 02:45 PM
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Originally posted by Tuan Jim
Is Gonin available with subs?
Got mine off of Ebay, just search for "Gonin DVD" it's an R0, and says it has English & Chinese Subtitles
Old 10-26-01, 03:03 PM
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Originally posted by roseart


Got mine off of Ebay, just search for "Gonin DVD" it's an R0, and says it has English & Chinese Subtitles
I finally watched my copy and the subs are a bit distracting (not as bad as Bodyguard from Beijing though). There is a German version but apparantly it's not very good either.

The Ocean Shores version is the cheapest version and most widely available version of the film.

From KFC:

DVD: Unfortunately there is no DVD version of this movie that does it justice. The version from Leo Films has a mediocre LTB transfer, it looks a lot like VHS quality. The ocean shore version is apparently not any better. The sounds is Mono 2.0 and is very ordinary, the subtitles are burned onto the copy and the letters look a little strange and will be annoying for the first few minutes, at least the subtitles go at a nice speed and is easy to read. The DVD has no extras, if you would like to have Gonin on DVD we suggest go for the cheapest copy as all the version are pretty much the same.
Old 10-26-01, 07:51 PM
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Originally posted by Tuan Jim
Is Gonin available with subs?

I was under the impression that the only Beat Takeshi movies available with subs were:

Kikujiro (HK disk)
Violent Cop - US disk
Boiling Point - US disk
Brother - US/Japanese disks.

One guy at asiandvdguide.com also said comparatively speaking, the VC and BP disks aren't too good quality wise. I was able to rent VC (some very good scenes, but overall, not really my thing) and I'll try and rent BP soon too.

Tuan Jim
A few others by Kitano that have subs are Scene At The Sea, Kids Return. Also if you want to get Fireworks(Hani-Bi) Then I think the French version is supposed to be the best. Mine just shipped a day ago, so I'll know soon for sure.

Also the UK region 2 disc is anamorphic and has a nice documentary on Kitano. The picture was very nice as well. I think Bullets and Babes have a review for the disc.

Last edited by ScreachingWeasel; 10-26-01 at 08:44 PM.
Old 10-31-01, 04:25 PM
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FYI... Columbia is putting out Brother on 01/02/02, I posted it in the DVDTalk forum.

http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...hreadid=155215

I was wondering if anyone new away to tell if it will be cut or not?
Old 10-31-01, 10:26 PM
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well according to imdb, Brother got cut by the MPAA, and seeing how Columbia doesnt release unrated version (i.e, Universal) it would be safe to assume that the CHTV version will be the censored R-rated version
Old 11-01-01, 08:33 AM
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Originally posted by Giles
well according to imdb, Brother got cut by the MPAA, and seeing how Columbia doesnt release unrated version (i.e, Universal) it would be safe to assume that the CHTV version will be the censored R-rated version


So, the R3 & R2 should be uncut, right???
Old 11-01-01, 02:12 PM
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For Malata owners, bear this in mind...

I picked up the UK R2 disc of Brother, as its 16:9 enhanced and has a documentary. However, unlike any R2 disc I've bought to date, watching the feature using the STILL filter results in "combing" artifacts. To be rid of these, you have to switch to SMART filter, which will solve this problem, but then you will have shimmering.

While I've had to make this choice with extras before, this is the first time that I've bought a R2 disc where the feature has presented this problem.

If 16:9 and the documentary are not important to you, and you use a Malata, perhaps the R3 might be a better choice.


Bleddyn
Old 11-12-01, 10:04 AM
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Brother vs. Violent Cop

After watching Brother last week I'll see if I can make some comparisons...

Well, Violent Cop was his first movie as director. Brother is 8 movies and 10-11 yrs. later. Takeshi's character in both movies is very similar. Quiet, calculating, occasionally humorous. And yet also capable of explosive violence. In VC he was a police officer, although a kind of rogue police officer. In Brother, a Yakuza member. He gets to demand respect in both roles.

The storyline in Violent Cop was more personable I think. What with him investigating the drug-homicides and trying to stop the supplying of drugs from the precinct. Also trying to protect his mentally unstable sister from herself added to the depth of his character. The ending is quite good, feeling no other choice, he sets off to hand out his paybacks (justice).
A dated movie yes (1989), but not terribly so, and a solid movie. Very enjoyable.

While I did enjoy Brother, the storyline didn't pull you in so close to the main character(s) IMO. Good performances by some of the cast. Only so-so from the others. For the most part, a basic gangster movie storyline. A lot of the movie is in English so there's not as much reading to do. (Not much reading in VC either though )
If you're into gangster/mafia type movies or are a Kitano fan... By all means get Brother. To viewers new to Kitano, I'd easily recommend Violent Cop first.

cheers,
Gabe
Old 11-12-01, 10:29 AM
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Thanks Gabe I look forward to watching VC when I get it....
Old 11-19-01, 12:39 PM
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Dvd planet has Brother listed as R rated but running at 113 minutes which is the length of the R3 uncut version. I'm confused as to whether this will be uncut or not. Does anyone have a sure answer. I don't have a region free player and was hoping to get the R1. I did see it in the theater and although it's not one of his strongest movies I still liked and would like to watch it again.

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