DVD Review: ‘Outlaw Brothers’

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Our friends out at Vivendi Entertainment sent over something in the martial arts action department for us to review, and “Outlaw Brothers” will generally live up to what’s expected of an action film in this stripe. The question is, of course, will that be enough to make it worth watching?

“Outlaw Brothers” follows the titular duo–a pair of car thieves, no less–out to make a dishonest buck. Naturally, they’re being constantly pursued by the police–rather, one police officer, a young lady as beautiful as she is relentless. But when a new threat emerges in the form of a powerful drug smuggling ring, the titular outlaw brothers may well have to work with the police instead of against them. That’s going to be a new experience for all concerned, but the situation may well require it…or their lives.

Naturally, “Outlaw Brothers” will have some absolutely spectacular fight scenes. This kind of movie has always done well in terms of their martial arts choreography, pulling off impressive stunts that continue on for up to several minutes at a clip with a level of sheer complexity that would dazzle most anyone.

But there’s also a healthy dollop of comedy in here that’s hard not to draw a few smiles, especially on the discovery that the brothers’ names are “James” and “Bond”. I’m usually pleased with movies that can blend genres into new and exciting wholes, and action-comedy is one of the better twists. The brothers’ ingenuity in their car thievery is also surprisingly fun to watch, as this duo manages to circumvent all sorts of security to pull off their thefts.

Fair warning, though: the soundtrack is in Chinese. But there will be both English subtitles for those who like the more authentic touch as well as a separate English-language track for those who want it in their native language.

Additionally, those who like believability in their action films will be sorely disappointed here, as there’s plenty of unrealistic action going on in this one. But that same quality of sheer over-the-top excitement will draw plenty, as this one really knows how to exaggerate what’s going on. It’s not going to be all good here, though–some plot elements are introduced and then brushed aside like that of the car racer / abusive husband arc–and the ending looks almost tacked on, but there’s still plenty to like.

“Outlaw Brothers” won’t be everyone’s idea of a good time, but for those who like Chinese action films with a bit of crime drama and a couple healthy dollops of laughs tossed in, it will be on par with some of the better entries in Chinese action, like the “Once Upon a Time In China” series or the “Drunken Master” series.


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