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Luke Greenfield
Luis Gerardo Méndez, Connor Del Rio, Juan Pablo Espinosa
Writing Credits:
Jason Shuman, Eduardo Cisneros

Mexican aviation exec Renato is shocked to learn he has an American half-brother he never knew about.

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DVS
Spanish DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 3/2/2021

• Audio Commentary with Director Luke Greenfield
• “Three Men and a Goat” Featurette
• “A Matter of Perspective” Featurette
• “Finding Eloise” Featurette
• Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes


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Half Brothers [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 4, 2021)

Can I claim to name when we got the first “mismatched couple stuck on the road together” movie? No - I know the concept goes back at least as far as 1934’s classic It Happened One Night, though, and it probably originated well before that point.

Whatever the genre’s origins, we’ve seen scads of films in the same vein over the decades. Toss 2020’s Half Brothers onto the pile as another entry in this domain.

As a kid in Mexico, Renato Murguia (Ian Inigo) grew up with a close, almost brotherly bond to his father Flavio (Juan Pablo Espinosa). However, when economic catastrophe strikes in 1994, Flavio needs to emigrate alone to the US to earn a living, and he promises to soon return to his family.

This never occurs. 25 years later, Renato (Luis Gerardo Méndez) enjoys life as a successful aviation executive. Though engaged to be married, he lacks other close relationships.

Renato hears from Katherine (Ashley Poole), an American who states she’s Flavio’s wife. When he learns that Flavio is terminally ill, he reluctantly agrees to fly to Chicago and see his estranged dad.

After he arrives in the States, Renato meets Asher (Connor Del Rio), a free spirit who turns out to be his half-brother. To go along with Flavio’s dying wish, the pair set out on a long road trip where they butt heads and get to know each other.

When I saw the trailers for Half Brothers, I thought it looked fairly awful. As I noted at the start, the film belongs to a genre well-trodden over the years, and the previews made no promise that it would bring anything fresh or invigorating to the domain.

Because the ads made Brothers seem like nothing more than 96 minutes of idiotic slapstick, I can say the final result surpasses my (low) expectations. However, that doesn’t mean it brings a good movie. It may work better than I anticipated, but it nonetheless becomes a flawed flick.

The main problem stems from the film’s abrupt, radical tonal shifts. Half of Brothers indeed wants to follow the goofball comedic path I mentioned, but the rest attempts an earnest family drama.

Perhaps superior filmmakers could pull off these transitions and meld the two sides. Unfortunately, the contrasting aspects of Brothers usually feel like they come from separate universes, and they don’t link in a meaningful manner.

That said, the dramatic side fares better, as Brothers shows a greater commitment to those scenes. While they tend to feel manipulative and melodramatic, at least they come across as coherent and semi-believable.

Unfortunately, the silly stabs at laughs fail to seem organic, and they come across as tacked on just to leaven the serious scenes. These feel contrived and never manage to generate any actual mirth.

Also, the filmmakers can’t resist the urge to create Serious Political Commentary, so we get more than a few scenes that make sure we see those viewpoints. Admittedly, I agree with the film’s perspective, but I don’t care for the obvious, clumsy way the film mixes these various components.

The actors seem fine for their thinly-written parts. Actually, I appreciate that Del Rio resists the urge to go Full Wacky Dude as the oddball Asher. The role leans toward a broad slant that Del Rio largely avoids, and that makes a potentially irritating character more tolerable.

Ultimately, Half Brothers does surpass those low expectations that I cited earlier, as it remains a moderately watchable affair. However, it just doesn’t click in a meaningful manner and it falls short of its potential.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Half Brothers appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a strong visual presentation.

Sharpness looked positive. Only a little softness affected wide shots, but those stayed minor so the film usually looked concise and well-defined.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. I also failed to detect any source flaws.

In terms of colors, the movie featured a teal and amber palette. These tones didn’t seem overwhelming, but they leaned that way. Across the board, the hues looked fine.

Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. I thought the movie consistently looked solid.

I felt that the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Brothers seemed fine but it didn’t excel because of a lack of ambition. The movie featured a limited soundfield that favored the forward channels. It showed nice stereo spread to the music as well as some general ambience from the sides.

Some of the broader road scenes opened up the mix, though, and those added pizzazz to the presentation. The tracks offered nice localization and used the surrounds in a compelling way on those occasions when it decided to go “big”.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion.

Music was perfectly fine, as the score and songs showed positive dimensionality. This track was good enough for a “B”, as it seemed fairly immersive, if not particularly active.

We get a mix of extras here, and these launch with an audio commentary from director Luke Greenfield. He offers a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, music, sets and locations, editing, photography and related domains.

While Greenfield touches on a number of topics, he applies the heavy-hand of praise too much of the time. This means that we get a decent overview of the film but find ourselves stuck with too much happy talk.

Three featurettes follow, and Three Men and a Goat fills five minutes, 16 seconds with remarks from Greenfield, co-writers Eduardo Cisneros and Jason Shuman, animal handler Chelsey Lewis, producer Jason Benoit, and actors Luis Gerardo Méndez, Juan Pablo Espinosa and Connor Del Rio.

We learn about the project’s origins and development as well as cast, characters and performances. While we get a few decent notes, much of the piece revolves around praise for the participants.

A Matter of Perspective spans four minutes, six seconds and features Greenfield, Méndez, Shuman, Espinosa, Cisneros, Del Rio, and costume designer Daniela Moore.

Here we find notes about the characters’ relationships as well as a few production specifics. Like the prior piece, a couple useful nuggets emerge, but a lot of the clip seems superficial.

Finally, Finding Eloise lasts three minutes, 19 seconds and includes statements from Greenfield, Méndez, Espinosa, Del Rio, Benoit, Cisneros, Shuman, and production designer Ra Arancio-Parrain.

This clip discusses elements related to the mysterious “Eloise” – and it comes with massive spoilers, so don’t watch it until you view the film. It becomes another mildly informative but mostly meh featurette.

Eight Deleted/Alternate/Extended Scenes occupy a total of eight minutes, 33 seconds. These mainly offer minor expansions on the Renato/Asher relationship. They don’t add a whole lot.

An awkward mix of heartfelt drama and wacky comedy, Half Brothers fails to gel. This never becomes a genuinely bad ovie, but it seems underdeveloped and erratic. The Blu-ray brings appealing picture and audio along with a few bonus features. Brothers can’t find a groove.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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