Flaming Brothers

Reviewed by: spcnet

November 05, 2003

Rating: three

ATV's "Flaming Brothers" starring Michael Tao Dai Yu and Patrick Tam Yue Man as the two rival brothers was a decent effort by ATV to change their style of modern series. This time, with famous Hong Kong movie director Wong Jing, a fresh new look is seen in "Flaming". The female cast includes Kristy Yang Gong Yi and Kathy Chow Hoi Mei who also play siblings and fall in love with the same man.

The scenario that "Flaming" is set in seems like a rip-off from TVB's "Secret of the Heart"--rich brother vs. poor brother both brought up in completely different environments and are the victims of their parent's generation. One of course turns evil while the other is good but, unlike "Secret," it is the poor brother who becomes evil. Michael Tao, who plays Lei Siu Tin, a rich playboy, must have played the good guy too much in previous TVB films because one can really see him struggle to portray the ruthless tycoon that he was supposed to be. There was almost this sense of relief in him as he got back the comfy role of the bullied good guy when he becomes bankrupt.

The pathos that was created later on in the series for Lei seemed too forced because all of a sudden, a merciless man who would do anything to achieve his goals turns completely good while his brother, a filial and nice guy, turns into Mr. Mean. While these occurances may be possible in real life, the transition points that the film went through to show it was too shallow making it unbelievable. I honestly felt sorry for the younger brother (before he turned all out and evil) because everyone in the film liked Lei so much even though he was such a jerk at the beginning. Then when Lei was in his rundown period after losing all of his wealth, one could tell that the producers tried to mount more misery to his situation so that we would forget he was the jerk who had tried to murder his own brother in just a few episodes prior.

Patrick Tam's performance was notable in this series as a villain. Patrick has always had acting talent but his few films with TVB had not been particularly successful. In "Flaming," he plays Ming Chi Kit who, under circumstances, was separated from his mother, looked down as a bastard child, grew up in Mainland China, and had ambitious dreams of making it rich and famous one day. Tam gives his role a fair shot, deserving every compliment he has received from critics.

fbchow1The love relationships in the series were not ideal. There was no special spark between any two couples. Kathy Chow's role, Lo Wan, was cut down to scenes where we see her back-side but not her face. But then this was also when she broke down with some serious skin problems and could not work for days. Kristy Yang plays the younger sister, Lo Sheet, who has a secret crush on Lei. I was aghasted with the series when they had Kristy show almost no sorrow whatsoever when her sister died and instead, went over to comfort the devastated Lei.

Aside from some faulty points in the series, "Flaming" is a worth a watch..I certainly liked it better than "Secret of the Heart."


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