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3BlackChicks™ "Guest Starring" movie commentary
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Leonard Johnson's commentary on Brother (2000)

Review Copyright Leonard Johnson, 2002
http://www.lenzine.com/


Brother

I checked out Brother, starring Takeshi Kitano (who also directed) and Omar Epps.

It is a quirky, violent tale about the rise of a small group of punk drug dealers, to full-fledged gangbangers.


STORY TIME
Their leader is a Yakusa mobster, Yamamoto, who was booted from the Family after the gang that he was in was assimilated by another upon the execution of their leader.

With the help of a friend, he comes to America and takes up with his half-brother, Ken. Ken was originally sent to America to attend college, but drops out and takes up with some small-time street dealers.

Yamamoto sees his brother get disgraced by his supplier and takes matter into his own hands. He forces this group to become serious players in the business and forges a multi-ethnic gang that starts doing big business. When his friend from Japan shows up, things kick into high gear as the younger gang members learn from these two. Until...

The mafia takes notice, demand their cut, and things spiral downhill rapidly.


OPINION TIME
I liked it because it was done in a way different from most gangsta flicks. Takeshi stayed away from most of the cliches that pervade these films: no Love Interest who brings out his Sensitive Side, no idolizing the Mafia and Yakuza rituals. No talks about Honor and Vendettas.

The violence was served straight up with no chaser. And it was performed in well-conceived manner.

The bond between Kitano and Epps really shines at the end and while it was certainly unusual, you can see how they become closer than Yamamoto was with his own half-brother. In that sense, it does lend a feeling to what many gang members are talking about when they speak of the Family being stronger than their own families.



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