Friday, January 06, 2006

Review: Twin of Brothers

Okay, please disregard the nonsensical English title for this Hong Kong historical-kung fu drama series. The story is actually very well written.

Characterization - The two main protagonists, Kau-jung and Zhi-ling are similar in some ways, but very different in other ways. They both care a lot about justice and friendship. Zhi-ling is more philosophical, more temperate. Kau-jung is a lot more ambitious and action-driven. One believes that he must not sacrifice his moral code unless the means does not result in causing others pain. The other believes that the ends justifies the means, even if an innocent has to get hurt. This plays out later in the story, and Kau-jung's lack of moral judgement continues to haunt him to the end of the story.

Theme - I like stories where the main characters have to make important decisions about how to face a problem and resolve a conflict. The main theme of this story is about a person's choices in life, not their upbringing or pedigree. For example, Wan-wan is a girl who was brought up by an evil witch. She was brought up to hate men, and to treat people disrespectfully. After she fell in love with Zhi-ling, a man who taught her about what is right and how to act on what is right, Wan-wan did learn from his lessons and turned good. She even sacrificed her own life in order to compel Fei-hun to show Zhi-ling how much she loves him, even if that means Wan-wan will lose Zhi-ling to Fei-hun.

Plot - The story is very exciting. It talks about war, which is usually a very boring topic for kung-fu dramas. This movie is able to make the historical aspects of the story important, relevant and meaningful to all the kung-fu you see being used. There is a struggle between good and evil, but how can the good be sustained if the government is corrupt? How can there be peace if there are wars constantly being fought? How does one fight wars and win? Not using kung-fu. The most powerful kung-fu characters are Kau-jung and Zhi-ling. But, unlike other kung-fu stories, these two are not allowed to use their powerful kung-fu because it is so devastating. They have to rely on their experience with strategy and leadership to achieve power, and bring peace to the land.

It has been a very long time since I've seen such a good kung-fu story.

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