THE BROTHERS SUN on Netflix is a new action-crime series that also offers dark comedy and a whole lot of violence and killing. All of it works surprisingly well thanks to a strong script and cast. Read our The Brothers Sun season 1 review here!
THE BROTHERS SUN is a new Netflix series with a predominately Asian cast and I am loving it. Not just due to the chance given to Asian talent – though that is certainly great in itself – but especially due to the tone and style.
Season 1 has 8 hour-long episodes and lots of story to tell. The fast-paced script and great cast are more than enough reasons to check it out.
It’s a very violent and bloody story, with a lot of killing, but it’s not without comedy and a focus on characters. That is what makes it work. Also, because I know it matters to many viewers, it is predominately in English. Though several Asian languages are in the mix too.
Continue reading our The Brothers Sun season 1 review below. Find it on Netflix from January 4, 2024.
The brothers and Mama Sun
Sure, this is called The Brothers Sun and it absolutely should be. However, a huge reason to check it out is also Mama Sun. She’s portrayed by Michelle Yeoh and I, for one, will watch pretty much anything she does.
The Brothers Sun is her first leading role since winning her much-deserved Best Actress Oscar for Everything Everywhere All at Once. In this new Netflix series, Michelle Yeoh (Crazy Rich Asians, A Haunting in Venice) stars as the tough love Mama Sun.
In this series, it really is all about family. Well, family and crime. And violence and death. Lots and lots of violence and death. But such is the life of a crime family at the top of the Taiwanese triad.
The story begins when the head of the Sun family is shot by a mysterious assassin. When this happens, the eldest son is sent to San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles to protect the part of the family that has been living in hiding.
The older brother is legendary killer Charles “Chairleg” Sun (Justin Chien). In L.A., he must protect his mother, Eileen Sun (Yeoh), and younger brother, Bruce (Sam Song Li). Young Bruce has been living a very sheltered life and knows nothing about his family being in the triad.
Mama Sun can handle herself just fine, but Bruce is studying medicine while dreaming of doing improv. The whole passion for improv is a running gag. Just as big brother Charles – the legendary killer – is obsessed with baking!
Protect the family
In The Brothers Sun, the focus is on protecting the family. While this sounds very sweet and loving, it’s just as much about respect and honor. Also, this is a crime family, so it’s about protecting their reputation and keeping the key members of the family safe.
Anything else would be a sign of weakness!
Having arrived in L.A., Charles is shocked to learn that Bruce has absolutely no skills in terms of fighting. Or even protecting himself. Well, apart from his improv. Obviously!
This does make for quite a challenge as Taipei’s deadliest societies and a new rising faction are going after dominance as the head of the Sun family has been shot (Papa Sun). Charles, Bruce, and Mama Sun must band together to keep their power.
Before they can do that, however, they must heal from their long separation – and get Bruce up to speed on what the family business truly is. Also, they need to do it fast, before one of their many enemies kills them all.
A gorgeous genre mix
This is an action-crime series, but there is lots of comedy in there as well. Also, you’ll witness more violence and murder than most horror movies or serial killer stories. So, there’s that. Oh, including the disposing of bodies worthy of Dexter, of course!
If you loved the dark Netflix comedy series Beef, which also had Asian lead characters and mixed genres in the best and craziest ways, then do check out The Brothers Sun as well.
Just as was the case with both the aforementioned Dexter and Beef, this series works thanks to both a strong script and an amazing cast. Michelle Yeoh is great, but so are the two actors portraying the brothers, Justin Chien and Sam Song Li.
Also in key roles, we see Joon Lee as Bruce’s friend, TK, who is a wannabe gangster and delivers some great moments from the very first episode. Plus Highdee Kuan as Alexis Kong. She’s a driven and ambitious assistant district attorney – and whipsmart!
As the story evolves and escalates, we meet a lot of characters and so many great Asian actors are given brilliant stuff to work with.
In recurring roles, we see Alice Hewkin (The Crown, Sex Education), Jon Xue Zhang (Marvel’s Eternals, The Gentleman), Madison Hu (The Boogeyman), and Rodney To (Parks & Recreation). It’s wonderful for them and us. After all, we get to enjoy the fruits of their labor!
Languages in The Brothers Sun and maybe a season 2?
As mentioned already, the language spoken mostly (by far) is English. However, for obvious reasons, we also hear quite a bit of Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, and a lot of Taiwanese curse words. Good to know if you need some “undercover” curse words around kids!
Fortunately, a few of the key actors all speak Mandarin fluently – including Michelle Yeoh (who also speaks Cantonese) and Justin Chien. As with any family that knows more than one language, it switches back and forth a lot. I loved that because it makes it realistic!
No matter the languages spoken, the story in The Brothers Sun is very universal. It’s about family and expectations. Also, a lot of crime and violence, I’ll give it that. As a whole, this Netflix series is one I suspect will be a great success. It should be.
Especially because we’ll get The Brothers Sun season 2 if it is. And I cannot wait to watch a season 2 of this series. Eight episodes is a good length for a season, but there’s clearly plenty more story to explore in a second season. Fingers crossed we’ll get that!
Watch season 1 of The Brothers Sun on Netflix now!
The new Asian-American Netflix series was created by Brad Falchuk (American Horror Story) and Byron Wu. Most horror fans will be familiar with previous Brad Falchuk-created series. They include American Horror Story, American Horror Stories, and Scream Queens.
Kevin Tancharoen directed five out of the eight episodes in The Brothers Sun season 1. Kevin Tancharoen previously directed series such as Helstrom, The Book of Boba Fett, Tell Me a Story, and many other huge productions.
You should expect that The Brothers Sun is the kind of series you’ll want to binge-watch. It’s the perfect kind of series to kick off a new year for Netflix. Especially if you need a something a little lighter after watching the true story of the tragedy in Society of the Snow. Just a little tip for ya!
All 8 episodes of The Brothers Sun season 1 are on Netflix from January 4, 2024.
Creators: Brad Falchuk and Byron Wu
Directors: Kevin Tancharoen, Viet Nguyen
Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Justin Chien, Sam Song Li, Highdee Kuan, Madison Hu
When a mysterious enemy targets his family, a Taipei triad member heads to Los Angeles to protect his strong-willed mother and oblivious younger brother.