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Film / Blood Brothers (2007)

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"The Entrance to Heaven closes early tonight. Everybody get out!"

Blood Brothers is a 2007 film produced by John Woo, starring Daniel Wu, Liu Ye and Tony Yang as the titular trio, a band of sworn brothers living in 1930s-era rural China, who decides to travel to Shanghai for a better life.

Ah Fung (Daniel Wu), Hsiao-kang (Liu Ye) and Hsiao-hu (Tony Yang) are sworn brothers and close friends who grew up together, and works as laborers in rural China hoping to make it big in Shanghai, the city of their dreams. But upon their arrival, they discover the glamorous city of Shanghai turns out to be a haven for criminal activity and ruled by the triads, and the only way for them to make it big is to join the mob, firstly as gunrunners, and later on as killers. Worse of all, getting dragged into a dangerous love triangle involving a singer who is a mob leader's mistress (Shu Qi) threatens their brotherhood, which can only end in bloodshed. Given that John Woo is the producer, that's not really a surprise.


Blood Brothers is Alexi Tan's first feature film, although according to Tan he only serves as a director in charge of filming sequence, most of the film is a combination of the work of collaborators, writers and producers, with John Woo contributing majority of the ideas for the film. Much of Tan's influence for the film are inspired directly by Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah, the same people who inspired Woo.


This film provides examples of:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Several in the movie, including Fung, Kang and Hsiao-hu bonding over their dreams of making it big after moving to Shanghai, Fung and Lulu bonding in a romantic, intimate moment, and scenes in Fung’s hometown between him and his mother.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Kang may end up having a Face–Heel Turn and turning on his sworn brothers, and trying to shoot Fung in a Mexican Standoff as both men pulls the trigger on each other, but his final moments where he re-affirms Fung that they will remain brothers even after their deaths is still genuinely sad. Made even worse is that Mark then puts an extra bullet into Kang after his statement.
    Fung (to Mark): "Just... stop it. Enough of the killings!"
  • At the Opera Tonight: Several scenes in this movie is set in the Entrance to Heaven Opera, where Lulu works as a singer and as Boss Hong’s mistress.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Fung and Mark in the final shootout.
  • Badass in Distress: Mark, getting stabbed by another hitman during an assignment. He managed to kill the rival hitman, only to end up staggering out in an alley, where Fung finds him and brings him back to his rented house before he can succumb.
  • Battle in the Rain: Fung’s first shootout scene occurs in the middle of heavy rain, where five rival mobsters are about to execute Xiao-hu and Kang, but in the cover of the rain Fung managed to kill all five in a few seconds.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Fung is the sole survivor of the three brothers, and Lulu dies indirectly as a result of him bringing her back with him. But he can still secure a good future for his mother and sister, which is all that matters to him in the end.
  • Blood Brothers: Fung, Kang and Xiao-hu may not be biologically related, but they grew up together and have sworn to be each other’s brothers when they made it big in life. Its right in the title.
  • Burlesque: In the nightclub scenes. The climatic shootout is notably kicked off when Fung marches up a stage full of burlesque dancers, shotgun in hand, and fires a shot into the air while shouting for everyone to leave.
  • Cacophony Cover Up: One of Mark’s assassinations is carried out during an opera performance, where he stabs his victim just as the audience is applauding on what is happening on stage.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Fung, after discovering he’s been assigned to transport stolen machine-guns for gunrunners, decides to bail from the operation, despite protests from Kang and Hsiao-hu. After walking away for some distance, Fung decides to come back, just in time to realize five rival mobsters have interfered with the assignment and is about to execute Kang and Hsiao-hu, where Fung in the nick of time guns down all five mobsters to save his brothers.
  • Cool Hat: On Fung, Kang, and Hsiao-hu. One scene of them bonding as brothers have them swapping each other’s hats to see how cool they look.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: Invoked in Mark’s first scene, an Establishing Character Moment that proves he’s a Hitman with a Heart. Attempting to kill his target in a crowded restaurant, Mark notices three boys playing in front of him, where he motions the boys over asking if they would like to have a game of hide-and-seek. They agree, and as one of the boys covers his eyes and starts counting and the other two hid under tables, Mark then shoots all three of his targets without the children seeing and leaves.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: In the final shootout, a chandelier atop the stage gets hit by stray gunfire, falling on the spot where Fung was standing on earlier before he jumps down.
  • Fingore: Nearly happens to Xiao-hu when the brothers’ attempts to transport guns out gets interrupted by rival mobsters. Xiao-hu is dangerously close to losing his index finger to a mobster, but Fung arrives in a Big Damn Heroes scene and kills all five mobsters in seconds.
  • Gangland Drive-By: One that tries to gun down Fung, Lulu and Mark. The worse thing is that Kang is personally leading the assassins doing the shooting…
  • Happy Flashback: In the last few moments of the film after the final shootout where Fung and Mark are the only named characters still alive, the film then goes back to Fung thinking of happier times he had with his sworn brothers
  • Heal It with Booze: When the wounded Mark wakes up in Fung’s place and adjusts himself to his surroundings, he immediately asks for wine. Fung gives him a bottle, where Fung takes a sip and pours the rest in his stomach wound.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Kang, near the end of the film.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Kang, by Mark.
  • Man on Fire: An unfortunate mobster suffers this fate after an interrogation scene. Initially threatened with a revolver, he ends up getting executed when a tankard of fuel gets poured on his body and having a lighter dropped on him.
  • Meaningful Name: The unnamed dragon whose face is covered in huge, criss-crossing scars turns out to be named Scarface, as shown in the credits.
  • Mood Whiplash: The bonding scene between Fung and Lulu in a movie set, where they share a moment together in an empty movie set while romantic music plays in the background. But when Lulu asks for Fung to leave with her, only for him to refuse out of fear of being discovered by Boss Hong, Lulu immediately slaps Fung. The romantic background music abruptly stops at that point.
  • The Place: The Chinese title of the movie is "Entrance to Heaven", which is the name of the opera Lulu works in as a singer, and the location where the final shootout occurs.
  • Professional Killer: Mark, the professional assassin Fung befriends, which inevitably leads him into being part of a triad.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Lulu, in her own makeup room, throws her makeup brush at her own reflection before breaking down and crying, realizing that she may never escape from life in the triads and is stuck being Boss Hong’s mistress.
  • Rugged Scar: On The Dragon’s face. The one on his cheek forms an "X" shape.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Lulu gets shot by The Dragon barely a week after leaving Shanghai to follow Fung back to his hometown to escape life in the triads.
  • Scenery Porn: The rural scenes outside of Shanghai is shot in Zhouzhuang, the same quaint rural village shown in Mission: Impossible III released a year earlier.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Fung uses a shotgun in the final scene, using it to kill around 10 mooks without missing even once.
  • "Shut Up!" Gunshot: Fung, before the final shootout, walks up the stage with his shotgun and tells everyone to leave, firing a shot in the air as he does so.
  • Slashed Throat: During the house ambush scene, Fung sneaks up on two assassins and slices their jugulars.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: From Boss Hong.
    Boss Hong: (normal tone) "I do believe you are aware, of course, that other day when… (raises voice) SOMEONE TRIED TO KILL ME!!!"
  • These Hands Have Killed: Subverted after Fung’s first shootout scene. Fung confesses to Mark, a seasoned hitman, that he will never forget the faces of those five men he killed in a single night, but after his confession he seems to have gotten over the initial shock, being capable of killing enemy mooks in shootouts later on without batting an eye.
  • The Pen Is Mightier: The mook who gets the pointy tip of a fountain pen shoved into his jugular learns the definition of this.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Fung and Kang. They used to be Blood Brothers!
  • Wham Line: Delivered by Kang, to Fung.
    Kang: "If you step out through that door, then consider our friendship over!"
    (Fung steps out all the same)
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Fung, at the beginning of the movie, being a town boy with big dreams of becoming a success after moving to Shanghai, before discovering the city to be a hive of criminal activity run by the triads, and ends up joining them to become part of their ranks.
  • Wine Is Classy: After their gunrunning assignment turned out to be a success (despite Kang and Xiao-hu nearly getting killed) the three brothers are shown at a banquet being run by Boss Hong, where they are instructed to have a toast to swear their allegiance to the triad.


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