It does not forsake the fine art of character development in lieu of stylized action sequences (though the latter are extremely well done and retain that good ol’ John Woo technique). Instead, it manages to hold on to a lot of the grace, artistry, and emotion of the original, delivering a gun-toting drama worthy of its Hong Kong predecessors. All in all, this incarnation of A Better Tomorrow is a good one. Even if it doesn’t have Chow Yun-fat in it.
The film also has a heightened sense of lighting and photography, as evident in Well Go USA’s remarkable Blu-ray/DVD Combo release, which preserves the film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and shows off the movies color scheme, contrast and detail to the best of its ability. Two Korean audio options, a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and a 2.0 Dolby Digital one, are present here, with the 5.1 mix delivering an auditory smorgasbord of dialogue, music, and — most importantly — sounds. While some of the movie’s lines are spoken in English (as well as Thai and Russian), optional English subtitles are present for the entire length of the feature.
The only really disappointing part of this release are the succinctness of the supplemental materials, which consists of a three brief (mostly Standard Definition) features and a couple of trailers. But, such a thing is forgivable, and A Better Tomorrow (2010) still emerges as being worthy of your time — especially if you were ever (or still are) a big John Woo fan.