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The Brothers Sun: Michelle Yeoh is Still Awesome


The Brothers Sun Netflix Series Review Cover Image

Michelle Yeoh reigns as the badass matriarch in "The Brothers Sun," a series mixing family drama, Triad turf wars, and wild humor. Think immigrant struggles meet "Crazy Rich Asians" action, seasoned with laugh-out-loud moments and a fire soundtrack. Brace for nuanced action, unexpected heart, and a goofy brother who'll win you over.


The Plot of The Brothers Sun


The plot revolves around Michelle Yeoh playing Eileen Sun, the wife of Big Sun who is the Dragon Head of Chinese Triads. Big Sun therefore runs all of the Chinese underworld with organized crime units called ghosts. When people attempt to take out Big Sun in Taipei, his son Charles Sun flees to California to protect his mother and brother Bruce Sun.



Thus begins the trials of Sun family, to fight off intruders, stave off internal conflict, and put on a strong face while doing it all.


The intro music displaying the series name is badass and really sets the tone for the whole episode each time. In fact, it reminds me of the trailer music in Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings when they display the movie name - very similar.



This series combines so many plot devices and movie tropes and executes them really well. There's the immigrant family story of coming to America to make it, there are conservative family values that are being adapted to the present day.


Then there's also the sibling dynamic of one brother being hardcore, tough, and street smart and the younger brother being more delicate, slow on the uptake, and not physically fit.



Cultural references are great here and done very well. They have a few scenes where older women play mah-jong in a club - I still remember Woody Allen mentioning in Annie Hall that her mother overdosed on Mah-jongg tiles. Also in the sitcom "That's 70's Show" Eric watches Annie Hall with their mom and both of them have the same thought "Mah-jongg? what the hell is Mah-jongg?"



The Cast


You see a lot of familiar faces in this series such as Madison Hu playing Grace -the leader of the boxers. The boxers are a faction of people who rebel against the Triads' tyranny and intend to wipe them out.


Lee Joon who plays TK and is the Turtle of the group. Jenny Yang who plays Xing is an American comedian of some repute. Justin Chien is the action lifeblood of the series and Jet Li to Sam Song's comic relief.



It's hard to root for anyone in particular because everyone is so damn likable - in no small part due to how good-looking they are. But there's so much more to it than that, it's their layered backstory, their behavior despite societal constraints, style - all plated on a platter of great acting. What you end up doing is root for the series!



Michelle Yeoh looks amazing for her age. But she may have had some Botox done. That aside she is physically fit, and as usual, is a legend in her acting craft. Even when she speaks in Mandarin her emotions come through so well which is simply amazing.


The only weak link I saw is the younger brother Bruce played by Sam Song Li who seems to ham it up for no reason at all. One real-life parallel to Bruce is Jimmy O. Yang who took up standup comedy against his father's wishes but eventually both of them ended up in the same series Space Force. In this series, Bruce is interested in improv.


Byron Wu does a great job of writing and is a co-creator of this show along with Brad Falchuk. Falchuk is known for hits such as Glee and American Horror Story. Kevin Tancharoen is the director of this epic series.



Comedy and Action


The humor is really on-point here with great comedic timing. It's a shame that this series couldn't be made into a movie. I guess there's still lots of time. There is also a nice Easter Egg that refers to The Glass Onion Netflix movie where there is a Dong! every hour.


The central theme here is family: not the Vin Deisel kind, but the kind you can relate to. It is a family trying to stay together despite what life throws at them.



In most films, the Triads are shown to be gaudy and flashy and are portrayed as an amorphous blob of bad. But The Brothers Sun shows the human side of things in the Triad equation. In the episode "Gymkata" Charles Sun is seen bonding over an obscure movie with his unruly friends. When Bruce Sun disapproves of his friendship he says those people had saved his life countless times and that's how they get focused before a big task.


Later on in the episode, they show a Triad meeting where the different ghosts or leaders arrive in style. They have a lot of swag and live super-cool and luxurious lives - it is shown well. The Triad leaders have really fun names and entertaining character traits. One of the Triad members Frank Ma also tends to monologue a lot and it's really funny!



The soundtrack for this series is pure fire, to say the least. The action sequences are legendary and it's not just for one episode - each episode is a self-contained buffet of nuanced action, intrigue, adventure, music, and pure badassery.


A scene where Bruce tactfully rescues his mother from one of the Triad gangs without throwing a single punch is really impressive and funny in equal measure. Bruce uses his tact again to reach out to his brother when it seems almost impossible to do so.


The last episode shows Bruce "Limitless"ing and is bound to make the audience like him - of course, he does it in his own goofy way.



Should You Watch It? Hell Yes!


This is one of the best series I have watched in a long time and I recommend all of you to watch it! It has something for everyone unless you are Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne. It has some of the best writing I have seen for a show in a long time. There are no dull moments in the episodes, it's cool, sometimes cold, and most times a lot of fun.


I think the folks at Disney/Marvel can learn a lot from this series when compared to how Echo was handled.


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