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A Better Tomorrow/A Better Tomorrow II


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Product Details

  • Actors: John Woo, Chow Yun Fat
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, Surround Sound, Digital Sound, NTSC
  • Language: Cantonese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: March 2, 2004
  • Run Time: 198 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001BKBDO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,476 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Better Tomorrow/A Better Tomorrow II" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

A Better Tomorrow is the John Woo gangster classic that started it all, a romantic, violent, swirlingly stylish melodrama about dueling brothers--with a mesmerizing lead performance by Hong Kong's favorite actor, Chow Yun-Fat. In repose, Chow's sleepy magnetism recalls the glory days of Robert Mitchum, Steve McQueen, and Takakura Ken; when he's stepping high, Chow has a unique, ebullient star presence, a man who embraces life so unselfconsciously that he becomes vulnerable to all kinds of suffering and heartache (he endures masochistic megadoses of violence here). The sequence in which Chow's Mark avenges his betrayed best friend---by blasting his way into, and then out of, a Chinese restaurant, twin .45s blazing---is a swashbuckling standout. Woo's film technique may have been more polished in later efforts, but Tomorrow has a direct emotional power that is still unique. Kung fu star of the 1970s, Ti Lung is also terrific here as the 40ish established mobster, relied upon by all, who allows conflicting loyalties toward Mark and toward his younger brother, now a cop, to undermine the stability of his position.

"I won't give you nothing, man; I give you shit," sneers charismatic superstar Chow Yun Fat, speaking English (with a De Niro accent) in his role as a New York restaurateur who won't knuckle under to the (Italian) mob in A Better Tomorrow II. Chow plays the twin brother of the character he played in the original, and the blatancy of that device is a fair indication of the sequel's shortcomings--and of its screwy charm: this is a film that knows no shame. The bond between the natural siblings played by Ti Lung (as a reformed mobster) and Leslie Cheung (as a hot shot cop) still resonate tellingly. As a good-guy ex-thug driven batty by the slaying of his only daughter, real-life Cinema City studio chief Dean Shek gets to play a garishly extended "mad scene," foaming at the mouth, chewing on soup bones. A later episode in which a dying man crawls to a phone booth to call his wife (and newborn daughter) in the hospital must also be some kind of lurid first in the soap sweepstakes. The final 15 minutes could be the bloodiest single shoot-out sequence ever committed to celluloid. The story line hasn't been shaped to any particular purpose here, but the images have a golden Godfather-like glow, and this faintly anachronistic, all-stops-out wish-fulfillment approach to moviemaking still has a lot of power. --David Chute

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. M. Meade on November 20, 2004
These two movies together stand as a milestone achievement of not only Hong Kong cinema but movies in general. John Woo is a god and Chow Yun Fat is justly celebrated for these performances. People who don't like subtitles need to get past their hang-up and view these two landmarks of action moviemaking. All the signature moves now common in action films in the past decade (yes i mean you Keanu Reeves) were copyrighted in these two movies by director John Woo, who has to be the most imitated director since Hitchcock.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jason Rogers on June 20, 2010
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This double pack is a must have for John Woo fans or anyone with a craving for foreign style action from the 80's. Yes it looks extremely dated and the dvd transfer is horrible but don't let that stop you from experiencing some graphically violent set pieces that at the time were unheard of in cinema. John Woo had an ability to make the violence look incredibly realistic, yet over the top and artistic at the same time. His direction at the time was innovative featuring slow motion shots that american directors would later copy and unfortunately become a cliche in movies. A Better Tomorrow's plot is much more cohesive than the sequel's but it features less action and violence. The story of the sequel is a mess though. I've read that the director John Woo and the producer had creative differences on the sequel so the plot is just all over the place. It really is a disaster story wise. The sequel however has an awesome, tension filled 15 minute finale. It's literally a non stop bloodbath. It's pretty violent for an 80's film and it holds up well today. I still show the finale of A Better Tomorrow II off to friends and even they are speechless when watching it. Although Woo's later films would look sharper and tighter(Hard Boiled, The Killer), A Better Tomorrow 1 and 2 are perfect introductions into what made Woo a great action director. It's kind of sad that his american films wouldn't contain the humor, stories, violence and energy of his hong kong films with the lone exception being Face-Off featuring John Travolta and Nicholas Cage.
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This review is for the box set of dvd's, NOT the movies. I bought these for my boyfriend, a movie zealot. At first he was overjoyed, but then a fellow movie collector alerted him to the digitally remastered region zero trilogy available FOR THE SAME PRICE!. He said to look around the internet & you will find it easily from reputable dealers. His words, "The video transfer on this edition is very poor, the subtitles are craptastic. Watchable, but just".
"As for the movies themselves, classic John Woo, outstanding action flicks!!! Hard boiled is my ultimate favorite, but it is closely followed by these two. (Never seen #3). So, while i do heartily recommend these movies, i do not recommend this particular transfer."
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By chanra on July 2, 2014
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Positive experience
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