The Brothers Sun Review: Yeoh, Chien, and Sam Song Li make this binge-worthy

The Brothers Sun is Netflix’s newest binge-worthy original series. Led by the formidable Michelle Yeoh, and also starring Justin Chien and Sam Song Li, this eight-episode dramedy starts with an expertly coordinated fight scene with Great British Bake Off playing in the background. That’s the perfect way to set the tone and start the series. 

The Brothers Sun is about family

In the pilot, Charles (played by Chien) fights off these intruders all on his own, yet the only thing his dad can focus on is the fact that he burned the pastry he was making before they broke in. Charles’ allies (and fellow Jade Dragon members) are trying to figure out why someone attacked him. Soon after, someone tries to off Charles’ father, Big Sun (Johnny Kou). 

Charles is sent away from Taipei to Los Angeles to protect his mom (Yeoh) and younger brother Bruce (Sam Song Li). Bruce was not raised in the same world as Charles. He’s a college student who is an aspiring improv actor. He drives for a ridesharing company and lives a pretty boring life until his brother drops in with a BANG! Bruce soon learns that his family is part of a notorious crime family in China.  

Naturally, this completely rocks his world, and despite learning this audacious fact about his life that has been hidden from him, his mom still expects him to go to school. She wants him to become a doctor, and he doesn’t want that. There are a lot of scenes in the show that reveal interesting dynamics that Asian families have, especially with children and their parents. 

The Brothers Sun Review - Joon Lee Sam Song Li Michelle Yeoh Justin Chien
Joon Lee, Sam Song Li, Michelle Yeoh, and Justin Chien in Netflix’s The Brothers Sun. Image courtesy of Netflix.

The Brothers Sun shines as an example of representation

As a first-generation child of immigrant parents, I love seeing these kinds of conversations happening on television. It is a perfect example of why representation matters, and I find it hilarious how Eileen still wants her son to do anything but join the life of crime. After discovering that he wants to do improv, she would rather him try doing improv than follow his older brother along in his secret organized crime ways. 

Even though this show has spectacular combat scenes, it always has the emotional core of a family drama. I find it so sad that the two brothers spent so much time apart from one another, and now the time they are spending with each other has the looming threat of an unknown but incredible assailant. The show does a great job displaying the dynamic of how Americanized Bruce is compared to his stoic older brother, who is simply doing what he has been trained to do his whole life: protect the family no matter what. 

The action in The Brothers Sun is impressive

It would be a huge mistake if I didn’t discuss this show’s intensive hand-to-hand combat scenes. From the first five minutes, we are treated to one of this year’s most impressive and funny action scenes so far. It can be hard to balance the expert hand-to-hand combat sequences, emotional family drama, and playful comedic scenes. Nevertheless, this show does it perfectly. Justin Chien makes a name for himself with his incredible martial arts skills.

Since Bruce, his younger brother, doesn’t know how to have fun, it’s hilarious to see him kind of stumble through these scenes. Charles is a skilled fighter and holds nothing back, and Bruce is just trying not to die. It’s action-packed and hilarious, and the kid’s birthday party scene with the inflatables is my favorite. I think it’s a perfect comedic scene that sets in stone the action-comedy focus of this show. (As if the baking scene from the pilot wasn’t enough.)

Justin Chien as Charles in The Brothers Sun. Image courtesy of Netflix.

Michelle Yeoh anchors The Brothers Sun

Of course, we also need to talk about Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh. She plays Eileen “Mama” Sun, who is the most powerful, intelligent, and magnetic person in the show. She’s an overprotective mother who seems to know everyone in LA who is in the Taiwanese community. She knows how to get what appears to be impossible information from business owners, and she knows how to use a power drill to dispose of a body when she needs to. Like many matriarchs, she is the glue that holds them together. Eileen holds all of the cards, and she runs the show. Seeing that show creators Byron Wu and Brad Falchuk have worked with talented women before, I did not doubt that Yeoh’s character would be formidable and influential, which she was. She has great focus, and Yeoh knows how to balance the two sides of this character. 

Overall, this is a strong start in terms of the Netflix original series for this year. Xing (Jenny Yang) and Blood Boots (Jon Xue Zhang) are two of my favorite henchmen, and they add to the show’s action-packed vibe and playful comedic zeal. Also, Sam Song Li shines on the screen playing Bruce. Comedic relief characters who are awkward, cute guys are my weakness. I can’t wait to see what else he’s in and (fingers crossed) Season 2 of The Brothers Sun. 

Justin Chien in action as Charles
Justin Chien as Charles in The Brothers Sun. Image courtesy of Netflix.

The Brothers Sun is now streaming on Netflix.

Have you watched the series yet? What did you think of The Brothers Sun? Connect with us on X @MoviesWeTexted to share your thoughts.

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