Blazing twin handguns, flashing Ray-Bans, a matchstick lolling in the mouth. This is it: the cult archetype that rocketed studio-system director John Woo and nowhere-man actor Chow-Yun Fat to glory as the twin godheads of Hong Kong bullet-blasters. Twenty years on, A Better Tomorrow’s hyperbolic melodrama of brotherhood and loyalty has weathered sorely but Woo’s action set-pieces are seminal. Melville’s doomy cool cannons into Peckinpah’s crackerjack kinetics against Hong Kong’s urban megalopolis – and Woo stitches a new chapter in the grammar-book of action cinema.
This two-disc Ultimate Edition sees Asian cinema expert Bey Logan deliver another dizzyingly informative commentary, while Woo and Chow salute the film and each other in a pair of ’90s interviews. Also included is a fleshy 45-minute documentary covering Woo’s background, his influences, his legacies and his eventual assault on Hollywood.