Slim shades of Woo magic

Slim shades of Woo magic

November 04, 2012
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A Better Tomorrow is a Korean remake of the 1986 John Woo gangster shoot-'em-up of the same name. The original Hong Kong film made Chow Yun-fat a household name, and launched Woo's Hollywood career.

The story is about brothers Hyuk (Joo Jin-mo) and Chul (Kim Hang-woo) who have been separated since childhood. Older brother Hyuk is a senior member of a gang of arms dealers, while Chul works for the police. After a botched arms deal, the make-up of the gang changes drastically, and the trouble begins.

Woo may be credited as executive director, but he's there to lend the film "star quality" - and his lack of input shows.

The film is divided into two chunks. The first part - where everyone is prosperous - is a real sleeper. There's a gun battle that makes Young-chun seem indestructible - but he's not nearly as cool as Chow Yun-fat.

The film picks up a little in the second half when Hyuk and Young-Chun become shadows of their former selves. Even though they're gangsters, you can't help but feel sympathy for them.

The final bloody showdown between the good, the bad and the cops is more a reminder of Woo's magically choreographed gun battles than proof of director Song Hae-sung's skill. But if you will try to remake a classic, you will be judged harshly.

Contains scenes of violence

Opens January 20

YP rating: 2/5

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