Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Better Tomorrow


The passage of a heroic character in the under world seeking vengeance against conspirtor and the love of his younger brother. The brothers are in conflicting roles, the outlaw and cop. Sung Tse-kit (Leslie Cheung), a deicated policeman blamed Tse-ho (Ti Lung) for father's death as much as obstructing his career in the police force. Flamboyant Tse-ho and Mark (Chow Yuen Fat)are betrayed by their jealous subordinate Tam Shing (Lee Tse Hung) into he countereit syndicate. Gun wounded Tse-ho gives himself up in order to let Tam Shing escape. After serving his jail term. repentant Tse-ho returns to Hong Kong to lead a new life and finds out Mark was cripped in the massacre for his vengeance. But crooked Tam Shing as a rising lieutenant in the syndicate would not take chances. He wastes no time to plot against Tse-ho and Mark....

A Better Tomorrow is one of the most influential films in Hong Kong film history, a massive hit which launched the "Heroic Bloodshed" genre, made an instant superstar of Chow Yun Fat, set director John Woo on a path to Hollywood blockbusterdom, and spawned a series of hit sequels starting with the inevitable A Better Tomorrow II (1987). The story is a gangster archetype: Ho (Ti Lung) and best friend Mark (Chow Yun Fat) are counterfeiters, while Ho's younger brother Kit (Leslie Cheung), is a trainee law officer. When tragedy strikes Ho determines to go straight, and Kit seeks to bring them to justice. It's an age-old plot which leads to wholesale mayhem and a blood-soaked finale. Yet unlike many Hong Kong action movies, A Better Tomorrow packs the powerful emotional resonance of the best gangster flicks through coherent storytelling and believable characters struggling with impossible dilemmas. Rather than draw on crime movie imagery, Woo appropriates much of the visual style, not to mention individual set-pieces, ferociously intense gunplay, menacing electronic soundscapes and blue backlighting from James Cameron's then-recently released The Terminator (1984). That the result launched a filmmaking revolution testifies to John Woo's skill behind the camera, a talent which would reach full flower in The Killer (1989).

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