Though certainly not without the sequences of manic gunfire and spurting blood you might expect from a remake of a John Woo classic, Song Hae-Sung’s A Better Tomorrow puts more emphasis on the emotional aspect of sibling rivalry and regret.
At the center are Hyuk (Joo Jin-Mo) and Chul (Kim Kang-woo), who blames his older brother for his imprisonment and their mother’s death after they tried to flee to North Korea. Hyuk winds up a prominent member of a Busan-based gang, while Chul joins the police force.
That old story.
It’s clear that Song Hae-Sung wanted to highlight the tension and importance of the brothers’ relationship and falling out rather than choreographed gunplay. But then why even try to bring his version of A Better Tomorrow to a Woo-level of cool, with slick suits, loud firearms and showy slow motion? Was he trying to pay tribute to the Hong Kong director? Or just attach his name and reputation to the marketing?
Having never seen Woo’s classic, I can’t offer any sort of comparison. It can only be concluded here, then, that A Better Tomorrow works on no levels: as action, it’s feeble; as drama, it’s hammy.
Making of (3:50): This short piece, with clips of interviews and on-set footage, doesn’t give itself enough time to be too useful to fans who may want to know more behind the making of A Better Tomorrow.
Challenges and Transformations (1:50) takes a quick look at a few of the differences between this version of A Better Tomorrow and John Woo’s 1986 original.