The Brothers Sun stars an all Asian cast in a tale about family and the Taiwanese Triads. The 8 part series is an unusual combination of violence and family love and loyalty. It always feels a little tongue-in-cheek and trope busting, especially Michelle Yeoh’s character. There was plenty of Mandarin spoken by the characters.
The Brothers Sun begins with Big Sun (Johnny Lou), the head of the Jade Dragon Triad in Taipei being attacked. He’s left in the hospital in a coma. His eldest son, Charles Sun (Justin Chien), is dispatched to Los Angeles to protect his mother and brother. Eileen ‘Mama’ Sun (Michelle Yeoh) and Bruce Sun (Sam Song Li) have lived a quiet life in LA for over 10 years.
Bruce is a softie. He’s in college studying medicine and wants to do improv. Mama Sun brought him to the US because she knew he wouldn’t survive in the gangster life in Taiwan. He’s been raised as totally American, a bit of a Mama’s boy.
Charles, on the other hand, has been a fighter and famous killer since the age of 14 and has been raised to run the Jade Dragons. He’s 100% bound by tradition and loyalty and obligation to family. Even though all he really wants to do is bake delicious things.
Having Big Sun in a coma and Charles in LA causes all sort of trouble. Everyone in every Triad is suddenly interested and involved. The district attorney and the police are interested. People who seem to be innocent bystanders are interested. Many of these interested people are deadly killers. There’s plenty of action.
Michelle Yeoh, however, is not the center of the action. She has one rather awkward action scene near the end, but overall she’s a gentle little Chinese lady who plays mah-jongg and takes care of Bruce. Using her in this way in The Brothers Sun is actually brilliant. She is tender, dramatic, tearful, and emotional in ways she isn’t often able to be in front of a camera. I loved seeing her this way and thought she gave a wonderful performance. Her going against type was an excellent idea.
Brad Falchuk and Byron Wu created this Netflix series. I thought it was a winner. If you’ve watched it, I’d love to hear what you thought.