Big Brother review by Bobby Blakey
There is no denying that Donnie Yen has cemented himself as a martial arts icon in the film industry. As a huge fan I will watch anything he does and know that he will deliver the action every time. Recently he has stepped a bit out of the usual action for some new projects including his 2017 mobster flick Chasing the Dragon. Sure there was some fighting but it was mostly a crime drama. Now he is taking on the education system in his latest film Big Brother, but does it offer up any big action and something new or will it fail to pass the grade?
Big Brother follows a former soldier recruited for his toughest mission yet – teaching a class of teen delinquents. As he kicks his way into their school and home lives, it becomes clear that his unconventional teaching style might be just what they need. The trailer for this movie showcased some of Yen fighting which is clearly what fans are most excited to see, but you need to know that this is not that kind of movie. There are two big fight sequences in the film and make no mistake they are great and long, but this is a film about the education system first and foremost. The film is very much like films such as Stand and Deliver or Lean on Me with a martial arts twist.
Knowing this information makes the film itself feel a lot more familiar and impactful. There are some really great heartfelt moments here dealing with these troubled kids and the struggling school. Yen is great in the role bringing a positive vibe to his new teacher character while still bringing the pain when it is necessary. The story isn’t anything we haven’t seen numerous time, but it just feels fresh with Yen in the role. This is really looking to bring more focus on the issues with the education system around the world and makes for a great focal point outside of the characters growth.
The big issues with the film come more in just how average it is at times due to some clichéd and sometimes silly moments. This was meant to be ways to push the kids stories along and while successful aren’t always as effective as they were hoping for. There are some strange cuts that feel out of place making it kind of confusing in a few places, but does find its way back on track. Some will likely find this movie a bit strange with all of the montage sequences, but give it a shot and decide for yourself. I was expecting a lot more action from the trailers, but was pleasantly surprised with what I got nonetheless.