"A Better Tomorrow 2018" is director and scriptwriter
Sheng Dings homage to John Woo's 1986 "A Better Tomorrow"
as can be seen in the
pic above, but it's also a homage to actor and singer Leslie Cheung
by using his songs in the film. Male bonding, sentimentality and heroic
bloodshed, it's all here in this Chinese 2018 update of the old Hong
I was surprised to see the pretty poor reviews on IMDB as i really liked
this film. There are some very fine action scenes, and especially then
the Japanese Shoot-Out, but it was the crime-drama that enchanted me
with the fantastic chemistry between the two main actors -
Wang Kai and Darren
Talu Wang. Great actors and their portrayal of the friendship
between two smugglers in the coastal town of Qingdao
felt very true. Hong Kong legend Lam Tsuet also is great as crimeboss
Ha but Yu Ailei as the young cop brother could've been better.
The differences in acting style and cinematic style
between the two films are major. John Woo's 1986 gangster epos "A
with it's sequels were made in the unique Hong Kong Golden Era hyperkinetic
style with operatic bullet ballet and acting put in 2nd place,
as the Mainland crime dramas i've seen most often have better more schooled
actors than their Hong Kong counterparts and are grittier.
In the coastal city of Qingdao, China, two smalltime
criminals Zhou Kai (Kai Wang) and Ma Ke/Mark (Darren Wang) are members
Boss Ha (Tsuet) crime gang and their trade is smuggling stuff between
China and Japan using freight ships.
Kai has a younger brother Chao (Yu Ailei) that idolizes his older brother
as a great seaman and he don't know about his real work. But,
Kai do have some limits as he refuses to smuggle dope even though that
would be more profitable for the gang.
Some of the gang members wants to start doing dope smuggling
instead and they want Kai's list of Japanese contacts, and they set
Kai for a fall with the result that the police get involved and Kai's
brother Chao, a freshly baked cop, finally gets to know that Kai is
gangster. Kai and Chao also have a father sick in Alzheimer and Chao's
is devastated. Kai goes to jail where Eric Tsang, an actor and
director from the HK Golden Era, makes a cameo. Mark goes to Japan to
revenge Kai and a very nice shoot-out á la Woo style enfolds.
A recommended gangster drama and i would like to rewatch
it on a blu-ray.
The DVD film is presented in anamorphic widescreen with a Dolby Digital
EX mandarin audio and with english subtitles, trailer