|François||4.5||The beginning of an era...|
Considered all alone, A Better tomorrow is not such a great movie. Chow Yun-Fat was not yet at the top of his carrer. John Woo's directing was not as smooth as in the near future. The story is nothing really original. Isolated from the rest of HK cinema, the movie is quite good, thanks to the solid performances from the cast and the already convincing directing from John Woo.
But it's when you put it back into 20 years of HK cinema that A Better Tomorrow becomes a classic. Because it's the start of a new era, a new genre, the heroic bloodshed. Or maybe the rebirth of the heroic bloodshed, born in the late 60's in front of Chang Cheh's camera. This time swords are replaced by guns, and swordsmen by triad members. It's also the beginning of two careers, Chow Yun-Fat the king of Coolness, and John Woo the master of stylish violence. Both them had good movies in their filmography before, but this is truly this movie who defined their style. It's also a rebirth for Ti Lung, whose character is made even more credible thanks to the Shaw Brothers wu xia pians of his filmography.
Thanks to all those historical facts, A Better Tomorrow deserves its reputation. Of course, the movie is far from perfect, but it really has a genuine heart. With this movie, John Woo becomes the righful heir of Chang Cheh, using violence as a way to enhance the drama.