Follow TV Tropes


Film / Flaming Brothers

Go To

Flaming Brothers is a 1987 Hong Kong Heroic Bloodshed drama-action-romance film starring Chow Yun-fat and Alan Tang, as the titular brothers.

Alan Chan (Alan Tang) and Cheung Ho-tin (Chow Yun-Fat) are orphans who spend most of their childhoods wandering the streets of Macau, and having known each other since young, they've become inseparable, bonding through their daily lives stealing food to survive and going through the rough life on the mean streets. Growing up to join a local triad, Alan goes on into becoming a top hitman and fell in love with Macau singer Jenny, while Cheung, after advice from his old friend/benefactor Richard and becoming engaged with Pat, a Catholic church worker, decides to go straight. However, their faith in brotherhood is put to test when Ko Lau-sei, a ruthless triad leader, tries turning both brothers against each other.


One of Chow's lesser-known films, being released between the first A Better Tomorrow and The Killer, Flaming Brothers remains a little seen gem in Chow's filmography.

This film contains examples of:

  • Anyone Can Die: Alan, Cheung, Jenny... all three main characters failed to outlive the credits.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Alan and Cheung against more than 30 mooks in the climactic shootout. And then inverted when there are a dozen mooks remaining in the middle of a narrow corridor, Alan and Cheung at either end, where the blood brothers then gun down all the mooks by firing ahead of them.
  • Blood Brothers: Alan and Cheung, in fact their brotherhood is the very premise of the entire movie.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Alan wears one in the final shootout, which protects him from being shot at least 8 times by enemy mooks. It doesn't save him from being shot at by more than 20 police officers in the end, though.
  • Advertisement:
  • Car Fu: In the climax, Cheung drives a car and rams his way into the stables where the final shootout is taking place, knocking over more than one mook before crashing into the stables.
  • Covers Always Lie: Some remastered / re-released DVD covers will put Chow Yun-fat's face on the front and center of the cover, despite the fact that Chow is merely the deuteragonist in this movie.
  • Darkened Building Shootout: The shootout in the docks/warehouse, which has Alan surrounded by triads before a gas tank explosion lights up the place.
  • Death of a Child: Richard's son, a fourth-grade kid, gets shot by the triads in front of his father.
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: After leaving the triad and going straight, Cheung ends up becoming a worker in a convenience store. He does find Happiness In Minimum Wage though, more than eager to leave the gangster life behind.
  • Fruit Cart: A cart of coconuts shows up during the chase scene in Thailand.
  • Groin Attack: During the climax, Alan shoots a random mook through the nads with a concealed pistol. We get to see it in great detail too, because that was a Between My Legs shot.
  • Hate Sink: Ko Lau-sei serves as the despicable Big Bad whose existence is to be hated by everyone; being cunning, manipulative, and ruthless, he's willing to start gang wars to boost his own ranks, sends his most loyal followers to their deaths on suicide missions without informing them, and prefers to "punish" his failed subordinates by having their families killed, as seen in Richard's case. He spends the last few moments of his screen-time gloating of how Alan and Cheung are helpless to stop him as he walks unarmed towards the exterior of his stables which is surrounded by cops to surrender himself, but eventually Alan and Cheung decide to intimidate the police into firing at all three of them instead.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Cheung showing up in the climax, just in time to back up Alan, who then confidently steps out of concealment guns-a-blazing.
  • Human Shield: Alan does this more than once in the climax, grabbing mooks and shoving them into gunfire while shooting other mooks with his pistol.
  • Playing Both Sides: Ko Lau-sei manipulating the brothers into going against each other, as well as tricking the triads and an arms dealing gang to shoot each other apart.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Hot tempered, strong-willed and trigger-happy Alan is the Red Oni, compared to the calm, proactive Cheung as the Blue Oni.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Richard's son gets executed as Richard's punishment for betraying the triads. Also, Jenny gets shot while trying to convince Alan to leave the triad life behind, succumbing to her wounds shortly afterwards.
  • Screaming Warrior: Alan and Cheung in the final shootout, especially when they collectively gun down a narrow corridor full of mooks. Heck, the YesAsia DVD even features their screaming from that very scene!
  • Suicide by Cop: In the ending after Alan and Cheung have killed off all of Ko Lau-sei's mooks but run out of bullets, leaving Ko all alone, Ko simply proclaims that the stables where the shootout just happened is now surrounded by the cops, and he can simply walk out unarmed and surrender himself while the police arrests Alan and Cheung for the massacre. Alan and Cheung instead decide to pull a Taking You with Me move by grabbing Ko and revealing their guns, causing the entire police force to pump all three of them with bullets.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: Alan and Cheung join them in their ranks, and move their way upwards, but later get double-crossed.
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: The chase scene in Thailand features tuk-tuks (Thai taxis with three wheels).
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: A drunk lady throws up in the convenience store where Cheung works, and he has to stay overtime to clean up, but we didn't see the vomit (thankfully).