Flaming Brothers
(Jiang hu long hu men) (1987)
Directed by Tung Cho 'Joe' Cheung

Artistic Value: * *
Entertainment Value: * * *

DVD In Association with
Rent DVDs online!
In the USA:
Try Netflix For Free.In the UK:

As homeless children surviving on the streets of Macao, Chang (Chow Yun Fat) and Alan (Alan Tang) were helped by Ka-Hsi (Pat Ha), an orphan girl living in a convent, for which kindness they never forgot her. Years later, the two friends, having become involved in organized crime, cross paths with a powerful gangster, who offers them a chance to win his favor by negotiating a gun deal in Thailand. After arriving in Bangkok to complete this deal, Alan meets a singer and falls in love with her. Meanwhile, back in Macao, Chang happens upon Ka-Hsi and initiates a relationship with her. Unfortunately, further troubles await the two friends because of the insidious plots of the gangster with whom they have become involved.

Tung Cho Cheung's Flaming Brothers is a forgettable action film. The acting ranges from mediocre to dreadful. The amorphous story serves little purpose other than to propel the characters into some situation or conflict, and the director's attempts to touch the viewer are often laughably clumsy.

The movie's characters would all be completely unmemorable if they were not frequently ridiculous. The villain is a monstrous, deceitful, child murdering fiend. The heroes, even though they have taken the wrong course in life, are, nonetheless, brave, loyal decent individuals, and their girlfriends are feisty and genuinely goodhearted. None of these persons is likely to make much of an impression on the viewer, except insofar as they amuse him with their exaggerated personalities.

Fortunately, the frequent action sequences included in Flaming Brothers are reasonably entertaining. Although a few are, admittedly, rather poorly done, most of the movie's fights are decently if not impressively choreographed. The final confrontation between the heroes and their enemies, for instance, consists of a surprisingly bloody gun battle in a stable which, despite its occasional misstep, is genuinely exhilarating. Regrettably, it does end with some of the worst portrayals of dying I have seen in any film.

Finally, I should add that several of the comic routines included in the movie are actually somewhat funny. While I cannot say that they are ever inspired, it is likely that a few of them will make the viewer laugh. For instance, one, in which Ka-Hsi, Chang, and one of Chang's henchmen perform for a group of elderly persons, though completely tangential to the movie's narrative, is genuinely amusing. Within the space of a couple of minutes, the viewer will have the opportunity to see Chang imitating Boy George, Chang and Ka-Hsi exchanging a fake moustache and, in the process, sharing a kiss, and the three performers, along with their audience, dancing with silly glee.

It is extremely unlikely that the viewer will be impressed by Flaming Brothers, but the film does have enough appeal for it to be enjoyable.

Review by Keith Allen

Home Page / Alphabetical List of Films
List of Films by Star Ratings
Aesthetic Principles / Guide to Ratings
Criteria for Inclusion / DVD Stores / Blog

© 2005 Keith Allen. All rights reserved.

Click Here

banner 2