What You Need To Know:
The incredibly bloody carnage in BROTHER may remind some people of the movie SCARFACE. As usual, Takeshi displays a cinematic flair for surrounding his world-weary heroes with quirky humor, including some irony. Although the movie clearly shows the futility of violence and uncontrollable anger in the end, it also seems to revel in the carnage it depicts. Furthermore, the friendship between Yamamoto and Danny is a pagan friendship, not a friendship based on God and Jesus Christ.
(PaPa, LLL, VVV, N, AA, DDD, MMM) Sometimes fatalistic pagan worldview with references to the Shinto Buddhist code among Yakuza gangsters; at least 103 obscenities, 5 strong profanities & 11 mild profanities, plus a few racial epithets; extreme graphic violence including terrible shootouts, dishonored Japanese gangsters cut off their fingers to make amends, man accidentally kills himself by blowing out his brains, & man graphically disembowels himself when his honor his challenged; no implied or depicted sexual scenes but gangsters shown hanging around women & geishas in several scenes; upper male nudity; alcohol use & drunkenness; smoking & gangsters are drug dealers; and, much unscrupulous gangland behavior, lying, gambling, corruption, & Russian roulette.
BROTHER is one of the first NC-17 movies to be released in theaters in recent years. It’s an extremely violent Japanese-American gangster movie directed by one of the most popular TV actors in Japan, Beat Takeshi. Takeshi’s real name is Takeshi Kitano, the other is just his acting name, a nickname developed from his years as part of a stand-up comedy act called Two Beats. Kitano has been writing, directing and editing his own movies since 1989. In 1998, his movie FIREWORKS, or HANA-BI, was a minor hit in the United States. Besides gangster movies, he also makes comedies like 1999’s KIKUJIRO. In many ways, Kitano’s on-screen presence is like a weird combination of Buster Keaton and Charles Bronson.
This time out, Kitano stars as a violent-tempered, laconic gangster named Yamamoto, who’s upset when his gangland family loses a gang war in the violent world of Japanese organized crime families, or Yakuza. The remaining leader of his gang decides to become part of the winning family, which also angers Yamamoto, who’s forced to leave Japan.
Yamamoto hooks up with his half-brother Ken in Los Angeles, a small-time drug dealer. He quickly proves to be a silent, deadly force. Soon, Yamamoto and Ken’s gang flourishes, growing in number due to Yamamoto’s cavalier philosophy of shoot first, take no prisoners later. The gang even joins forces with a young rival Japanese crime lord, whose taste for blood surpasses even that of Yamamoto. The gang eventually refuses to bow down to the Italian Mafia, despite Yamamoto’s warning that they will all now die. Their decision leads to an all-out war without sanctuary. As the gang starts getting mowed down, Yamamoto tries to save one of the gang’s African-American members from destruction, an affable young man named Danny, played by Omar Epps of LOVE AND BASKETBALL.
The incredibly bloody carnage in BROTHER may remind some people of the movie SCARFACE with Al Pacino, except for its moody jazz score and its idyllic premise that friendship survives death. As usual, Kitano displays a cinematic flair for surrounding his world-weary heroes with quirky humor, including some irony. Although the end of movie clearly shows the futility of violence and uncontrollable anger, it also seems to revel in the carnage it depicts. Furthermore, the friendship between Yamamoto and Danny is a pagan friendship without biblical values, not a friendship based on God and Jesus Christ.