A Better Tomorrow

A Better Tomorrow by John Woo (1986)

Ho and Mark are involved in the counterfeit money trade, but betrayed by their boss, they end up in prison. After two years, upon their release, they want to change their lives, but their criminal past continues to haunt them.


“Guardami bene! Cosa possiamo darti in cambio di un nuovo inizio, se il credito da parte delle persone è così difficile da essere concessi facilmente? Non si è mai visto un ragazzo così spaventato in bocca.”

(Mark “Gor” Lee)

The Hero According to Woo.

The main characteristic is suffering and the ability to cope when experiencing tragic events.

Suffering seen as an inevitable companion within a cynical and ruthless universe.

Memorable, in this sense, is the film’s opening sequence where we are shown the protagonist’s harrowing nightmare.

He dreams of his younger brother’s death and then wakes up screaming, drenched in sweat, with the camera lingering on an extreme close-up of his dilated pupil.

In this way, we are immediately catapulted into the tense and relentless atmosphere that will accompany us throughout the film.

But suffering is also caused by the awareness of not being able to change one’s destiny, in the face of the great moral corruption that infects the society one would like to join.

And so everything becomes disillusionment, and words are emptied of hope, while the film’s title takes on an increasingly mocking connotation.


John Woo creates a film of fundamental importance that achieves enormous commercial success, allowing Hong Kong cinema to conquer the West.

It sets the guidelines for the entire renewal of the gangster/noir genre.

An international work where the focus is not on the story being told, but on the feelings, pain, conflicts, honor, and defeats of the characters involved.

Everything is taken to the extreme limit of endurance.

The camera seems like a wild spring always in motion, with rapid movements, counter-shots, and sudden tracks.

Action scenes as well as those showing shootouts are limited but incredibly effective, tense, original, and spectacular.

Special mention for actor Chow Yu-fat, whom Woo considers his alter ego and who will become, thanks to his immense talent capable of excelling in both comedic and dramatic situations, the symbolic face of the rebirth of Asian cinema worldwide.

“A better tomorrow” is a wonderful film, with innovative staging, which has inspired all future genre cinema.

Tarantino, for example, fell in love with it so much that he declared..”drop dead gorgeous film with a long-impermeable, deliciously cynical attitude in the vein of no one else in the business”..

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