THE BROTHERS SUN Review – The Suns Shine Light on Complex Family Drama with Intense Action and Hard-Hitting Comedy

Netflix new action-comedy family drama, 'The Brothers Sun,' is all about family, food, fun, and gangster S#!+
The Brothers Sun

Netflix’s new series, The Brothers Sun, masterfully intertwines action, comedy, and family drama, is a refreshing addition to the television landscape. Set against the backdrop of the vibrant San Gabriel Valley, the series not only showcases the complexities of the underworld of organized crime but also delves into the depths of family dynamics, cultural identity, and where and how we’re raised influences us as much, if not more, than who raised us or what they raised us to be.

A Charming Slice of Reality in an Outrageous Situation

The Brothers Sun
Michelle Yeoh as Mama Sun in episode 108 of The Brothers Sun. Cr. Michael Desmond/Netflix © 2023

One of the series’ most striking features is its authentic portrayal of the San Gabriel Valley. This setting, often overlooked in mainstream media, is brought to life with a richness and vibrancy that is both engaging and educational without being overtly promotional. The series does a commendable job of highlighting the cultural diversity and the everyday life of this unique community, making it another character in the narrative.

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Another character present, but not being forced front and center is food. Food plays a significant role in The Brothers Sun, serving as a cultural touchstone and a symbol of family and tradition. The series beautifully incorporates various cuisines, particularly highlighting the rich culinary landscape of the San Gabriel Valley. This appreciation of food adds an authentic and sensory layer to the storytelling, making it a feast for the eyes as well as the soul.

The Stars of Sun

The Brothers Sun
(L to R) Sam Song Li as Bruce Sun, Michelle Yeoh as Mama Sun, Justin Chien as Charles Sun in episode 105 of The Brothers Sun. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

Michelle Yeoh, as Eileen ‘Mama’ Sun, delivers a performance that is nothing short of spectacular. Her portrayal of the matriarch of a crime family is ruthless yet nuanced, adding layers to a character that could easily have been a one-dimensional stereotype. Yeoh’s Mama Sun is a force to be reckoned with, balancing ferocity with a subtle vulnerability that only a seasoned actor of her caliber could achieve.

What is even more impressive is the absolute lack of martial arts in her role. One of Yeoh’s greatest assets is purposely untapped which distinguishes Eileen from many of Yeoh’s roles, but also allows for Yeoh’s many other talents to dominate. There’s a scene where her wants beyond her parenting are revealed that is absolutely awards-worthy.

The Brothers Sun
Michelle Yeoh as Mama Sun in episode 106 of The Brothers Sun. Cr. Michael Desmond/Netflix © 2023

Justin Chien, in the role of Charles Sun, brings a tortured nuance to his character that is both compelling and heart-wrenching. His portrayal of a man torn between his duty to his family and his personal demons is a standout. Chien’s ability to convey deep emotional turmoil, particularly in scenes where he grapples with his identity and past actions, adds a profound depth to the series. Which he also wonderfully embodies physically when he’s grappling with the numerous people trying to kill him.


Sam Li, as Bruce Sun, provides a reliable and relatable presence throughout the series. His portrayal of the younger brother, who is thrust into a world he was sheltered from, is both authentic and endearing. Li’s performance is a grounding force in the series, offering moments of levity and sincerity amidst the chaos.

Innovative Action, Grounded Comedy

The Brothers Sun
Justin Chien as Charles Sun in episode 102 of The Brothers Sun. Cr. Michael Desmond/Netflix © 2023

The action sequences in The Brothers Sun are a highlight, showcasing innovative choreography and execution. The series does not shy away from high-octane action, yet it manages to keep these scenes grounded and realistic. The use of drones and other modern filming techniques adds a dynamic quality to the action, making it a visual treat for the audience. This is incredibly showcased in a scene at a driving range which solidifies the series in the upper echelons of action television.

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The comedy in The Brothers Sun is grounded and relatable, often stemming from the characters’ interactions and the absurdity of their situations. The series skillfully balances humor with drama, ensuring that the comedic elements do not undermine the gravity of the narrative. This approach to comedy provides a much-needed respite from the series’ more intense moments and allows the series to include truly gruesome scenes and scenarios. The impacts of which are fully realized but tampered down, allowing the viewer to move on with a subtle influence of the event. Like suppressed childhood trauma.

A Bit Uneven at Times

The Brothers Sun
(L to R) Joon Lee as TK, Sam Song Li as Bruce Sun, Michelle Yeoh as Mama Sun, Justin Chien as Charles Sun in episode 104 of The Brothers Sun. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

While The Brothers Sun excels in many aspects, the series does have its uneven moments. Certain plotlines and character arcs occasionally feel underdeveloped or rushed, leading to a lack of cohesion in some episodes. However, these moments are few and do not significantly detract from the overall quality of the series. I just feel obligated to be extra critical as an Asian reviewing a predominantly Asian series, to force the reader to see my objectivity.

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Despite its occasional unevenness, The Brothers Sun consistently delivers when it matters most. The series excels in building tension and delivering impactful, emotionally resonant scenes. The action, drama, and comedy are well-balanced, ensuring that the series remains engaging and compelling throughout.

The Sun Family Shines

The Brothers Sun
(L to R) Sam Song Li as Bruce Sun, Justin Chien as Charles Sun in episode 102 of The Brothers Sun. Cr. Michael Desmond/Netflix © 2023

The Brothers Sun is a triumph in storytelling, blending action, comedy, and drama in a way that is both innovative and deeply human. The series’ utilization of its setting, combined with stellar performances by Michelle Yeoh, Justin Chien, and Sam Li, make it a must-watch. Its appreciation of food, innovative action sequences, and grounded comedy add layers of depth and enjoyment. While it may have its uneven moments, the series ultimately delivers a powerful and satisfying narrative that resonates long after the final credits roll.

I give The Brothers Sun an


The Brothers Sun (Season One) is now streaming exclusively on Netflix.

About The Brothers Sun

The Brothers Sun

Release Date: January 4, 2024
Created By: Brad Falchuk, Byron Wu
Executive Producers: Brad Falchuk, Byron Wu, Mikkel Bondesen, Kevin Tancharoen
Producers: John H. Radulovic
Distribution: Netflix
Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Justin Chien, Sam Song Li, Highdee Kuan, Joon Lee, Jon Xue Xhang, Alice Hewkin, Jenny Yang, Madison Hu

When the head of a powerful Taiwanese triad is shot by a mysterious assassin, his eldest son, legendary killer Charles “Charileg” Sun (Justin Chien) heads to Los Angeles to protect his mother, Eileen (Michelle Yeoh), and his naive younger brother, Bruce (Sam Song Li) – who’s been completely sheltered from the truth of his family until now. But as Taipei’s deadliest societies and a new rising faction go head-to-head for dominance – Charles, Bruce and their mother must heal the wounds caused by their separation and figure out what brotherhood and family truly mean before one of their countless enemies kills them all.

Have you watched The Brothers Sun yet? If not, why are you still reading this? What do I have to say for you to stop reading this and go watch the show? Also, thank you for reading this and please share all your thoughts about the series with us on Discord.

KEEP READING: THE BROTHERS SUN – Justin Chien Shares How He Channeled Personal Memories for His Powerful Emotional Performance in THAT SCENE


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Kevin Fenix

Professional Nerd | Amateur Human | Creative/Content Director The best way to describe Kevin Fenix is the kid you never tell what the buttons do in video games so you have a chance to win. Being 6’ 4” and Asian, he never really fit in, so he got comfortable standing out. Not only is it easy to find him in crowds, he dabbles in the culinary arts, does a little stand up and improv, and can honestly say Spider-Man is the Jesus-like influence of his life. Kevin Fenix loves dogs, movies, television, comics, comedy, and to shoot people… with video.