|A Better Tomorrow (2010)|
|Writers:||Hyo-seok Kim, Taek-kyung Lee, Geun-mo Choi, Hae-gon Kim, Hing-Ka Chan, Suk-Wah Leung|
|Starring:||Ju Jin-mo, Song Seung-heon, Kim Kang-woo and Jo Han Sun|
|The Plot: Hyuk (Ju Jin-Mo) is a North Korean ex-patriot who has moved to South Korea in order to find his riches via the gun smuggling business. His intentions are actually earnest, as he hopes to make enough money to help save his family from the despotic North, but he is quickly caught up in the criminal element. When he finds immense success, he begins the search for his only surviving relative… his brother. When he finds his brother, Chul (Kim Kang-woo), it turns out that the young man had actually been searching for Hyuk as well. However, he searches for him with the intentions of killing him. Chul feels that Hyuk abandoned the family, and inevitably lead to their mother’s death. When Chul is found in an internment camp, Hyuk manages to have his brother released. However, Chul still resents his only brother. While this is going on, Hyuk and his partner Lee Young-Choon (Song Seung-hun) run into some trouble due to a snitch within their organization. The young and seemingly naive Jung Tae-Min (Jo Han-sun) is the snitch, and it turns out that his naivety is nothing more than a ruse to place Young-Choon and Hyuk in a compromising situation. When Hyuk is abandoned by by Tae-Min, he is imprisoned for two years. During this time, Chul manages to become a police detective and must face up to his brother’s past. With Hyuk hitting the streets again, what will become of this sordid situation?|
Ultimately, the film shares many of the same beats as the original A Better Tomorrow, but it differentiates itself in some important areas. With a film such as this one, the main obstacle that it must overcome is the comparisons that fans will make to the original. As a reviewer, watching the movie with a critical eye, I find it hard not to continually think of John Woo’s masterpiece. How does one not? It is as if someone were to remake Goodfellas. Scorsese’s movie may be much more famous, but the point is that it’s an extremely popular and iconic title within the world of crime cinema. The same is true for John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow, and its legacy is something that honestly cannot be ignored while watching any attempted remake. Although I do enjoy those previously mentioned winks to the audience throughout the movie, there are times where the movie simply seems content to rehash complete sequences from the original film in a nearly shot-for-shot basis. The moments where the movie attempts to be something different are probably the aspects that I most thoroughly enjoyed. The changes made to the character of Chul, a role originally played by Leslie Cheung, are probably the most prominent. The other two lead roles, however, also feature some fairly dramatic changes as well.