Issue #210           HOME          E-mail:        BACK ISSUES                  May 3rd, 2004

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(1986; D & B Films)

Cantonese: Hing dai
Mandarin: Xiong di
English: Brothers


RATING: 6/10


One evening, police inspectors Lui (Danny Lee Sau-yin) and Keung (Alex Man Chi-leung) apprehend two suspects at gunpoint and Keung (already on edge because of financial problems) overreacts and severely beats one of them. A complaint is filed and, after being dressed down by his superior, the policeman quits. Keung tries working at a construction site but loan sharks torch his truck. Lui is suspended from the force when he stands by as his friend proceeds to trash the triad's office. Deciding that he has no way out, Keung joins a gang of jewellery store robbers (including Shing Fui-on) in order to pay his debt. Although he planned to participate in only one or two jobs, Keung decides to remain with the gang. Lui learns what his friend has been doing and is torn between loyalty and duty. Meanwhile, his gung ho younger brother (a recent police academy graduate) is putting two and two together.

Danny Lee Alex Man Danny Lee

Not to be confused with Billy Chan Wui-ngai's CODE OF HONOR (which also goes by the name BROTHERHOOD and is reviewed in issue #145a), this D & B actioner breaks no new ground but remains a solid crime thriller from the "Heroic Bloodshed" phase. The storyline gives HK cinema's paragon of justice, Danny Lee, the chance to stretch a bit by playing a tarnished knight. He effectively conveys the torment Lui undergoes and Alex Man (usually not the subtlest of actors) manages to endow his character with a few more shadings than usual. Stephen Shin Kei-yin (probably best known among Western fans for D & B's BLACK CAT films) directs with only a modicum of flare but considerable competence; the climactic stand-off is particularly suspenseful and well-executed. Ku Feng makes an impression in a small supporting role as Lui's mentor, a former cop who now runs a restaurant.


The print is in excellent shape for a film of this age and the transfer offers decent hues and detail. Mild smearing can be detected during a sequence set during a downpour. The Cantonese track has patches of distortion in two places and strays out of sync in the final reel; the Mandarin version is adequate. English subtitle translation is poor but the intent of each conversation is adequately conveyed. A trailer is included, along with trailers for three other Danny Lee vehicles from this period (FINAL JUSTICE, LAW WITH THE TWO PHASES, and COP OF THE TOWN). The keep case incorrectly lists the running time as 88 minutes.

Alex Man (left) Shing Fui-on (left), Alex Man Ku Feng (right)

M.S. wrote in to say that Media Asia has delivered a cut print of BROTHERHOOD to DVD distributors. The DVDs all run 80 mins at PAL's 25 frames-per-second, whereas the old HK PAL VHS runs 88 mins and the NTSC Mei Ah Laserdisc is approximately 91-92 mins at 24 frames-per-second. The shorter version apparently surfaced first in France on VHS and has been the standard print since then (anyone know about the VCD versions?). M.S. prefers the longer edit, feeling the middle of the movie jumps around a little too much in the 80 min cut. (written May 8th, 2004)

Mike wrote in to say that the Mega Star VCD does offer the longer version of the movie. (written May 16, 2004)

This DVD is available at:

Images in this review courtesy of Universe. To read captions, hover mouse over image.

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DVD Specifications

  • Hong Kong Release
  • NTSC -- Region 0
  • Universe Laser & Video Co. #5175
  • Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Post-synced Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
  • Subtitles (Optional): English, Traditional & Simplified Chinese, and Malaysian
  • 8 Chapters
  • 4:3 Letterbox (1.89:1)
  • 80 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)

Ratings & Consumer Information

  • Ontario: AA
  • Quebec: 13+
  • Singapore: PG (cut)
  • Contains moderate violence


  • 10 A Masterpiece
  • 9 Excellent
  • 8 Highly Recommended
  • 7 Very Good
  • 6 Recommended
  • 5 Marginal Recommendation
  • 4 Not Recommended
  • 3 Poor
  • 2 Definitely Not Recommended
  • 1 Dreadful