A Japanese Yakuza gangster is exiled to the United States. Takeshi settles in Los Angeles where his younger, half brother lives and finds that although the turf is new, the rules are still the same as they try to take over the local drug trade.Written by
Impressed with Europeans' interest in the yakuza, Takeshi Kitano wrote what he described as an old-fashioned yakuza film. To greater contrast the character against more familiar elements, he set it in a foreign country, choosing Los Angeles as a place-holder. When producer Jeremy Thomas asked Kitano if he was interested in foreign productions, Kitano told him about the script. Thomas promised him complete creative control, which Kitano said he got. See more »
Ken takes the photo of the potential blackmail victim with his right hand while his left hand is on the table. In the close-up he's holding it with both hands, and then he returns the picture with his right hand while his left hand is on the table again. See more »
The UK Region 2 DVD from Film Four is the full cut of the film. It includes the extra POV chopstick death scene, a full pan across on the severed head in the stairwell, as well as many other small cuts made in the U.S. to attain an "R" rating. See more »
The Least Interesting Of Kitano's Films, But Still Good
I am a huge fan of the brilliant cinematic genius Takeshi Kitano, his films "Hana-Bi" (1997) and "Violent Cop" (1991) are two of my all-time favorites and I also found several other Kitano films such as "Zatoichi" (2003) excellent. "Brother" of 2001 is in my opinion Kitano's weakest film up to date, which does not mean that it's bad. It is just not quite as brilliant as Kitano's other work. Kitano is once again director and leading actor, and he once again delivers a great performance in the lead.
Yakuza Aniki Yamamoto (Kitano) flees to America after his death is ordered by a Yakuza clan. Yamamoto goes to LA where his younger brother Ken is supposed to study. Instead of studying, however, Ken deals drugs with some American friends. And it doesn't take Yamamoto long to plan some drastic improvements for his little brother's gang...
Takeshi Kitano's performance is once again superb, this guy certainly is one of the greatest cinematic multi-talents who ever lived. I found the Japanese characters great in general, and if it was only for them, "Brother" would have probably almost reached Kitano's masterpieces in brilliance. I personally didn't like the American characters though. Omar Epps certainly is a good actor, but his character of Denny is just not very deep, simply the very stereotypical African American street gangster seen in two out of three cheesy Hollywood blockbusters. And that counts for the other American characters too. It wasn't actually that bad with Omare Epps, simply because he is a very good actor. Besides the flatness of the American characters, I found the movie very good. It is once again beautifully and imaginatively filmed in typical Kitano style, and it has the typical Kitano humor that I love. The movie is also very violent, so it's probably not for people who are easily offended by brutality in films. What I also really like about "Brother" is the fact that at least half of the movie is in Japanese. The Japanese characters also talk Japanese when they are in the US.
"Brother" is arguably Kitano's weakest movie, and definitely my least favorite of his movies, but that doesn't mean it's bad. We're talking about a great cinematic genius here, and "Brother" certainly is a good, suspenseful, entertaining, stylish and interesting film. In case you don't know Kitano yet, i recommend to watch "Hana-bi" or "Violent Cop" before watching this, but in case you're already familiar with Kitano "Brother" is certainly worth watching. My fellow Kitano fans should not miss this. Recommended 7/10
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