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Better Tomorrow remake gets new director

JohnWoo.jpgThe John Woo film Ying hung boon sik, aka A Better Tomorrow, is getting a remake and it's not by Hollywood. Prepare yourselves but Korea is going to be remaking the Hong Kong noir gangster film which starred Leslie Cheung and the legendary Chow Yun-Fat in a story about an ex-gangster trying to reform and mend his relationship with his brother who is a policeman, all the while the ties to the gangs are pulling him back in.

It's a really good film, and I'm surprised that it's getting a remake, especially as the remake isn't from Hollywood.

The Korean film was set to have Jang Hyeon-su remaking it, two of his previous films are Everybody Has Secrets (Nuguna bimileun itda) and The Rules Of The Game (Gameui beobjig), some time after the rights were bought back in 2006. However he's been replaced with Song Hae-sung, who has directed Failan, Maundy Thursday (Urideul-ui haengbok-han shigan) and Rikidozan (Yeokdosan).

To be honest these titles mean little to me as I haven't seen the films, but I have seen John Woo's A Better Tomorrow (Ying hung boon sik), and really enjoyed it, so I'm keen to see how a Korean take on the film will play out.

Having seen a number of Korean films and in particular crime and gangster films, I have to say that I'm excited for what this might bring to the cinema.

According to the very thorough story in Screen Daily Song Hae-sung's version is called Moojeokja, although it's still listed as A Better Tomorrow, which means invincible, or a person without country, both intriguing titles. Furthermore they tell us that the film is going to take little from the original other than the characters and the basic set-up, so perhaps as much as I've said above. With just that to the film there's certainly a lot of possibility for it.

They also tell us that Song Seung-hun and Ju Jin-mo are set to star. Song Seung-hun is set to play the role Chow Yun-Fat once did, while Ju Jin-mo will play a former North Korean special forces soldier who is looking for redemption, the role played by Ti Lung in the original, and Kim Kang-woo will play the cop who is struggling to forgive his older brother, the role once played by Leslie Cheung.

I'm quite surprised that the film is getting remade, but to be honest I'm more positive about this than I would be a Hollywood remake. After all Korean cinema has come out with some similarly themed films to the Hong Kong gangster genre from which A Better Tomorrow comes, and they have delivered strong stories and cinematic styles. I wonder if Moojeokja is going to be a better tomorrow than the original? It's certainly a huge task to try remake a John Woo classic such as this.



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