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Remembering 'Brothers Mario': The fan-made, 'John Wick'-esque trailer that went viral back in 2010
In a fan video that went viral years ago, The Super Mario Bros. prepare for action in a way that's closer to 'John Wick' or 'Fast X.'
The newly released Super Mario Bros. Movie finally puts the beloved video game characters in a narrative feature-length film that does justice to the decades of in-game lore that came before it. However, it is far from the first time someone has imagined the Super Mario Bros. franchise in a full-length movie.
Obviously, there was the 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. But in 2010, more than a decade ago, two filmmakers took the characters from the beloved franchise's universe out of their game and, well, put them in another, incredibly unlikely game — Grand Theft Auto IV.
The end result was a fantastic, dark and gritty romp through the Mushroom Kingdom as you’ve never seen it before. Unlike the new Super Mario Bros. Movie, this viral concept trailer is not exactly family-friendly. The jocular project went viral online at the time the affectionately named Brothers Mario craze was born.
What is Brothers Mario?
The trailer debuted on The Game Station YouTube channel, which put billed itself as a content company by gamers, for gamers back in the early 2010s. Sadly, they haven’t uploaded to their channel in almost a decade, but their videos still live on the site for all to see — including the immensely popular Brothers Mario.
The premise of the hilarious concept trailer is simple. Being gaming enthusiasts, they modified Grand Theft Auto IV to make a trailer that reimagined characters from the Super Mario games in a dark action epic about a heist gone wrong in a Mushroom Kingdom that looks closer to crime-ridden Gotham or GTA's Liberty City than anything else. The fake film's plot appears to open with the Shy Guys gang hiring Mario and Luigi to unknowingly steal coins from crime boss Bowser. In retaliation, Bowser kidnaps Mario’s girlfriend, Peach, and holds her hostage. When the Mario Bros. hit back, Bowser calls in every high-concept hired gun on his payroll, including mercenaries the Koopa Troopas, a sniper named Bullet Bill and Russian hand-to-hand combat experts nicknamed The Hammer Bros.
With the help of their intrepid allies, street-level heroes Yoshi and Toad, the Brothers Mario take on Bowser, all his Goombas and his master assassins in an action-packed, bullet parade that’s closer to a Fast and the Furious or John Wick film than the bubbly Super Mario universe.
The video currently has more than five million views and even spawned a sequel. Well, sequel trailer that is. In the imaginary follow-up, Bowser’s claim on the Mushroom Kingdom's criminal underworld is threatened by the arrival of a new crime don… “Don Key Kong.”
Bowser allies himself with his reluctant former adversaries to stop this new threat, and the end results are just as over-the-top, hilarious and clever as its predecessor.
Who Made Brothers Mario?
The not safe for work trailers were originals of The Game Station but were created by directing partners Nathan Kitada & Aaron T. Umetani who were known at the time as The Country Club. At the time of their release, both of them were working as senior creators for The Game Station's company Maker Studios Inc. They too have stopped uploading to their YouTube channel but for good reason.
Both have gone on to lucrative careers in production with Umetani working as a full-time director for various production houses doing branded videos for major companies. Meanwhile, Kitada, a Yale graduate, went on to work at YouTube as well as Netflix and Amazon Studios.
Both of them are still making cool things even though it’s hard to top their magnum opus, Brothers Mario.
The two directing partners were clearly big film buffs. Both trailers are rife with tongue-in-cheek references to popular action movies like Bad Boys II, Leon: The Professional and Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan, just to name a few.
Is Brothers Mario real?
Sadly, no. It is merely an unsanctioned fan homage to both the Super Mario Bros. franchise as well as the action genre in general. While this bold reimagining of the characters is likely a bit too violent for something the typically family-friendly Nintendo brand would put its weight behind, we have to admit it’s a fun concept to consider. For now, and looking for a more family-friendly action-packed thrill ride involving the Mushroom Kingdom’s greatest heroes and villains can head to the theaters to check out the Super Mario Bros. Movie.