I don’t need to leap to hyperbole within the first week of the yr, however I’m fairly assured in saying that The Brothers Sun has the perfect combat scene with males in inflatable dinosaur costumes that I’ve seen in 2024. Positive, it’s the one one I’ve seen on this or any yr, and I doubt there will be one other anytime quickly. However that doesn’t diminish how a lot it kicks ass. It’s merely nice to start out the yr with a present that capably offers me one thing I’ve been missing in tv for a while: a collection that’s simply as fascinated about good goofs as it’s killer brawls.
Created by Byron Wu and Brad Falchuk (co-creator of many exhibits within the Ryan Murphy empire, from American Horror Story to Glee), the brand new Netflix martial arts dramedy — there’s one thing you don’t get to say every single day! — introduces viewers to Bruce Sun (Sam Tune Li), a regular-ass nerd dwelling in LA. A little bit of a pushover, Bruce loves improv comedy greater than something, a lot in order that he’ll spend faculty tuition cash on comedy courses and let himself get talked into promoting medication by his finest buddy — which might be an issue for him, if he had been any good at it.
Bruce doesn’t know this, however he’s additionally Triad royalty. His father, Massive Sun (Johnny Kou), leads probably the most revered gangs in Taipei, and somebody’s focusing on all of them. That is how Bruce lastly reunites together with his long-lost older brother, Charles (Justin Chien), who flies in from Taiwan to guard Bruce and their mom, Eileen (Michelle Yeoh), after an assassination try on their father.
The Brothers Sun kicks off with such a heavy setup and brutal opening combat scene that it’s straightforward to assume it’s extra of a severe crime drama than it really is. Positive, all that’s there, and fairly satisfying. But it surely’s all within the service of a household dramedy, as Eileen insists that Bruce adhere to the conventional life she introduced him to LA to have, at the same time as he will get drawn additional and additional right into a simmering, over-the-top gang battle the place he frequently has to ditch masked martial arts masters.
Nonetheless, what makes The Brothers Sun actually sing is that its comedy isn’t restricted to Bruce Sun’s hapless antics within the face of his mom’s and brother’s hyper-competence; the present’s writers and choreographers work laborious to unfold the laughs round. Charles isn’t simply the badass older brother — his savvy is undercut by the belief that realizing the Chinese language half of Chinese language American tradition is sufficient to get by. This trigger him to frequently blunder and get taken benefit of (being tricked into delivering an enormous lizard) or embarrass himself (together with his low spice tolerance).
The fights in The Brothers Sun are additionally stuffed with wit. The aforementioned dino-suit combat culminates in a killer Jurassic Park sight gag, and a complete combat within the Sun household house revolves round Charles repeatedly trying to kick off his opponent’s sneakers in his mom’s home.
There’s lots to like about The Brothers Sun — the best way it delights in cross-cultural specificity, luxuriating in lavish pictures of mahjong video games, churros frying, and improv exhibits in equal measure; how properly it builds its style thrills round a household story; how propulsively plotted its eight episodes are. If there are any points to be discovered, they’re in how slight all of it feels. In a grievance that’s uncommon for a Netflix drama, the present merely retains transferring too quick for anybody to really feel fairly actual, but its characters are portrayed with simply sufficient grounding to not veer into cartoonish caricature. Cease and give it some thought, and the collection matches too snugly within the liminal house between what you had been watching final and what you will watch subsequent, a really enjoyable binge that doesn’t fairly linger.
Not the hitmen in dinosaur fits, although. They linger simply superb.
The Brothers Sun is now streaming on Netflix.