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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 9 January 2002
Many before me have sung the praises of this movie and I completely agree with every word. No movie fans collection is complete without this classic of th HK action genre.
What I want to talk about is the appaling transfer on this DVD. The shortcomings of the HK movie industry when it comes to preserving film stock is well known but I was dissappointed to find that little or no restoration attempt had been made by the producers of this DVD.
The major problem is that the image is a non anamorphic transfer with burnt in subtitles that are positioned so that they get partially cut off if you're viewing with a widescreen TV.
If you have a multi-region player, I'd advise getting the Anchor Bay release from America. It's far superior.
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on 18 August 2009
So here we have (at last) a good looking transfer of this classic movie, with good subs, some good extras and at an affordable price.

This film has been mistreated on DVD for years, and only a very expensive OOP Asian release of all 3 "ABT" films gave it a worthy release.

So here we had a God send! An easy to get, affordable release...AND THEY BLEW IT!!!!!
For some reason known only to them they gave this otherwise fine release a totally messed up audio track that replaces most of the original well known music with stolen cues from the likes of "Speed" and....wait for it..."Forest Gump"!!!

So any fan of the movie will be sorely grieved to see so many scenes they know and love ruined by alien music gremlins!

I HATE them for messing up this essential release.
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VINE VOICEon 2 July 2007
'A Better Tomorrow' is where it all started for John Woo's now-signature style of filmmaking. Without this film, there would never have been 'The Killer', 'Hard Boiled' and who knows what else. Bringing the classic themes of brotherhood, redemption and loyalty to the modern day setting of Hong Kong, John Woo has made a film that will appeal to both fans of quality drama and action enthusiasts.

Ti Lung stars as a criminal named Ho, who along with his best friend Mark (Chow Yun Fat) are well-respected and live in luxury. Ho's younger brother Kit is a police officer in training who is unaware of his brother's illegal lifestyle. But when Ho is betrayed and sent to prison, Kit learns the truth and when their father is killed by Ho's associates, Kit disowns his brother.

Upon his release, things have changed for Ho and his best friend is now a down-trodden cripple while Kit is a successful detective who still wants nothing to do with Ho. Very soon, Ho is drawn back into the criminal life and the loyalties of all three men are about to be pushed to the absolute limit.

The dynamic relationship between the three lead characters is utterly believable and is what makes the film work. By the end of the film, you are so anxious to see if the brothers can be reunited and you'll even shed a tear or two. But let's not forget that this is a John Woo film - the action sequences are entertaining but compared to his later films, they are quite static. The trademark dual-pistols makes its first appearance and Chow Yun Fat cements his long-standing relationship with Woo.

My one criticism of this disc, however, is the soundtrack. The audience has been short-changed, by having the original score replaced with modern library footage. At certain times, you'll hear the music from films like 'Speed' and 'Forrest Gump', which have pretty distinctive tunes! Admitedly, the use of those scores do actually fit the drama very well and certainly don't ruin the film - but they still stand out and it's distracting. According to Bey Logan (who does the excellent commentary for this disc), you can actually send off to the manufacturers to have the original soundtrack re-inserted - whether this applies today, I'm not sure.

If you're unsure about 'A Better Tomorrow' and haven't seen it before, your best bet is to approach it as a thoughtful and engrossing drama WITH action rather than a straight-up action thriller (which it is sometimes considered).
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on 19 June 2016
Reviewed Version: 2007 Optimum Asia UK DVD

Audio: Cantonese 2.0 Mono, English DD 2.0 Mono
Subtitles: English
Runtime: 90:08 mins.
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Region: 2 (Locked)
Extras: Audio Commentary, Trailer (3:49), Trailer from various films

A BETTER TOMORROW is one of John Woo's best films, along with its first sequel, THE KILLER, HARD BOILED and BULLET IN THE HEAD and noticable for being the first of Woo's "Heroic Bloodshed" movies. Unbelievable action scenes with over the top gunplay made Woo famous, combined with drama about loyalty and some comedy and of course Woo regular, Chow Yun Fat.
While the drama parts sometimes are a bit overdone, the acting isn't the best (except for Chow Yun Fat and Ti Lung who stand out), the incredible action scenes work out perfectly, and that is what counts. Woo's choreography of epic gun fights is unique. Even compared to today's action films, Woo's masterpieces rank among the best action movies there are. Seriously if you are into action movies, Woo's Hong Kong classics are a must!
I also highly recommend the first sequel, A BETTER TOMORROW II (1987), which also stars Chow Yun Fat and Ti Lung and a few more gallons of blood. Disregard the thrid sequel however, which is NOT a John Woo film!

Video Quality: 3/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Extras: 1/5

An average DVD release, this is not the Ultimate Edition released by the same company, but the single disc version which misses about 1 1/2 hours of extras on a second DVD.
Video and audio quality are average and rather disappointing but better than the Hong Kong DVD counterpart.
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on 24 June 2015
My comments are for this MIA release rather than the StudioCanal 2007 release which I understand has a very different soundtrack tacked on. This MIA release has the original soundtrack but picture quality is just okay depending on the kind of TV one has. On mine, I can adjust the picture that upgrades picture quality a tad. I have the MIA Special box edition VHS and had to get this on dvd despite poor comments regarding picture and sound quality.
On this MIA label release, the sound quality is great and uses the original soundtrack. Picture quality is just okay depending on whether you can adjust the picture on your TV.
Had to remove one star as this film should have been released with better picture quality in this day and age and it is a crying shame that such a classic piece of Hong kong cinema should not have been so upgraded for better viewing pleasure!

Am not a gun play movie fan, but this film has a really great story that packs quite an emotional punch. All fans of gun play heroic bloodshed and/or the gangster genre should include this gem in their collection. It was this film that led me on to Woo's classic 'The Killer', 'Once a Thief', 'Hard boiled', and 'Face-off'.
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on 26 October 2008
An OK Woo heroic bloodshed movie from the mid 80s. It's very dated though. However, how on earth can the DVD be called 'Ultimate'. The print of the movie is an old European copy - it's very soft in places and some scenes just look horrible on the eyes. If you're used to the superb 'Hong Kong Legends' titles this isn't a patch on them. Extra's wise it falls down too. There's a ood Bey Logan commentary on disc one, disc two includes a John Woo documentary - not one specific to 'A Better Tomorrow' - it's not that good either spending a lot of time on Woo's Hollywood career. And there's a couple interviews. Not so much Ulimate as the 'That'll do for now' edition. However, the movies enjoyable enough and we're unlikely to see a better copy in the near future. There's just a lot of better examples of this kind of movie out there.
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on 30 March 2013
The movie deserves full five stars, but I'd give this edition zero stars, if I could. This "special" edition is so bad video-vise, like the direct transfer from VHS, hardsubbed, the picture is jumping, is blurred, just bad, bad! And audio is out of sync, too. Okay, it is widescreen, but as the picture is so blurred, you can't admire this either. I would love to have this movie in some decent format, but this is just a waste of the money!
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on 26 January 2008
This is a good action film without reaching the heights of some later Woo features. A epic tale of crime vs law with a brother on either side of the divide. There are good performances from the two brothers (Chow Yun-Fat and Leslie Cheung) that make the conflict between the two believable. However, the story doesn't fold out as cleanly as Hard Boiled, for example, and the action never approaches the same levels.

If you are a fan of other works of John Woo then this is definitely worth a watch and there are still some brilliant set pieces; as an introduction to Woo though - Hard Boiled and The Killer are probably better places to start.
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on 28 May 2000
A Better Tomorrow is a classic John Woo film, showcasing Chow Yun-Fat. However the DVD itself is quite pathetic. The picture and sound quality is poor, but it is an old film.
It seems to have suffered the region 2 disease and lacks any decent extras. The region 1 release has additional footage, behind-the-scenes footage and is not pathetically dubbed.
It's just not fair!
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on 5 March 2016
A better tomorrow is an early john woo film starring chow yun fat. Its a great film and the action scenes are really well choreographed. The DVD itself is standard and apart from the main film just contains a trailer. The picture quality of the film is very poor, it's like it's been copied from a VHS tape. Would give extra star if picture wasnt so bad.
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