A Better Tomorrow Blu-ray review

            In the last fifteen years Korean cinema has made great strides. With the dissolution of censorship and a new group of Hollywood-influenced filmmakers, Korean cinema has produced some of the greatest entertainment in the world lately. It has always been Hollywood that pillages foreign films in order to make their own remakes, but now Korea has gotten to the status of being able to achieve the same. Taking the Chinese ‘bullet ballet’ which is thought by many to be one of John Woo’s greatest films, this Korean remake brings its own national strengths to the storyline and creates an original experience.

            The major changes in the storyline are made to adapt the film to Korea, including the reason for separating the brothers at the center of the film. Kim Hyeok (Jin-mo Ju) flees North Korea to South Korea, abandoning his younger brother, Kim Cheol (Kang-woo Kim). Hyeok grows to be an assassin, working alongside a skilled friend named Yeong-choon (Seung-heon Song) whose loyalty makes him more like a brother than Hyeok’s own blood. These two assassins are at the top of their game until Hyeok is betrayed by Tae Min (Han Sun Jo), and is sent away to a Thai prison. When he is released and returns to Korea, Hyeok finds his brother has become a cop.

            Cheol is on a task force that is trying to take down Tae Min, and he has no interest in knowing his brother. All he cares about is keeping his distance from his criminal brother, even when Hyeok assures him that he no longer wants a life of crime. Inevitably, however, both brothers get pulled into a battle with the powerful arms dealer. The film has plenty of action, but fans of the original may be disappointed that the melodrama has been increased even more. There may be more tears than bullets in this version of A Better Tomorrow, but what action there is in the film is top notch.  

            The Blu-ray combo pack also includes a DVD of the film, though the high definition presentation is preferential in the action sequences. The special features include a making-of featurette, and interview with executive producer John Woo, as well as the cast members and director Hae-Sung Song. There is also a trailer gallery.

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