Hong Kong tepid on remake of John Woo classic
The South Korean remake of the John Woo gangster classic “A Better Tomorrow” has received a tepid response in its spiritual home Hong Kong, with the new version receiving lackluster reviews and box office results.
Woo’s 1986 classic wowed audiences in Hong Kong and overseas critics by combining smooth action sequences and a passionate story of brotherhood.
It starred Chow Yun-fat, veteran actor Ti Lung and late heartthrob singer Leslie Cheung. Chow became an instant icon with his swashbuckling, match stick-chewing gangster character who mowed down enemies stylishly one gun in each hand. The standout work helped pave the way for both Woo and Chow to launch their Hollywood careers.
The remake, which was authorized by Woo, changes the setting to the southern South Korean port city Busan but largely preserves the story of two brothers on opposite sides of the law, recreates many of the classic scenes, as well as retaining the English title of the original. Director Song Hae-sung, however, adds a Korean twist, making the two brothers defectors from North Korea who were separated during their escape.