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Big Brother (2018) Review

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

Movie Name: Big Brother (North America)

Director: Ka-Wai Kam

Producer: Tai-lee Chan

Actors: Donnie Yen, Joe Chen, Kang Yu

Box Office: Limited Release


I have been a fan of Donnie Yen for a very long time. From Iron Monkey to Flash Point, you cannot go wrong with a Donnie Yen movie. Recently, He even played in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as Chirrut Îmwe. He seems to be trying not be type cast as only a martial artist but an actor that can bring more to the table.

His career started in 1983. This means that he has been cast in numerous roles. Let us see if this movie is one that is worth watching.


The best way that I can describe the movie is that it is a cross between Dangerous Minds (1995) and The Substitute movie franchise.

The official plot from IMBD is as follows:

A soldier-turned-high school teacher uses unusual methods to reach to a class of poor students, while dealing with a greedy entrepreneur and his gang of fighters as well as the government.

Donnie Yen plays the character of Henry Chen Xia. As the synopsis above mentions, he was a soldier that comes back to his home town to give back to the school that he graduated from. He lived in the United Staes for quite a few years before returning. The school that he is applying for is running out of funds as students are not great students and they have a horrible reputation.

Where this story is like Dangerous Minds is that it is a teacher that tries to teach a band of misfits. There are about 9 or 10 students that you see they have troubles outside of school. School is not their number 1 priority. So, Henry tries to go out of his way to help these kids to be more than they think they can be.

Where it is like The Substitute franchise is that he battles a local entrepreneur that is corrupt and provides drugs to the local students. These scenes are where the action sequences reside. Henry also works to fight these criminals so that their influence on the students will be eliminated.

Big Brother (2018) - Trailer


The movie is promoted as being an action movie. I think the advertisement is a little misleading. Yes there are great fight sequences but these are minor compared to the rest of the story. Although the trailer shows some nice fight moves, if you are going in thinking that it will be a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, then you will be disappointed.

I do respect Donnie Yen for trying something that is not as action focused. However, this formula is not new at all. Like I mentioned in the story, this is very similar to The Substitute, Dangerous Minds or even The Principle starring Jim Belushi. Here in North America we have seen these teachers who want to make a difference to poor kids, seeing their full potential.

I think that the movie is alright. If I remove Donnie Yen and put someone else in his place, would the movie be as good? I do not think that it would be. In fact, his star power is what attracted me to watch this movie. The film feels generic. Yes there are parts where it tries to be moving, but again I can't help but think I have seen and experienced this before.

I do not think that I would spend money on this movie if I did not have to. If you see it on Netflix, it is worth the watch but that is about it. This type of movie has been done to death and this just gets lost with the other movies of its genre.

It is too bad as I really wanted to like this movie more than I did. Still, I think Donnie Yen is still one of the best action and movie stars that this generation has produced and I will continue to watch his movies, even if they are sub par.

What about you, did you like this movie? Let us know below.

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