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What happened?! Tonight, Donovan and Harrison don their shades and dusters for a viewing of A Better Tomorrow 2, a true knockout — but for all the wrong reasons? A sequel to a bona fide classic, this semi-reluctant follow-up, with its tale of emotional amnesia, psychiatric rehabilitation, and killing 100 people in a house, is a bewildering ride. Through the eyes of director John Woo, we investigate themes of masculinity, foreign cool, and action violence.
A bad HK John Woo is better than most, including “good” American John Woo, and A Better Tomorrow 2 remains a genre landmark, whose visuals show up in stateside cinema and anime. He’s a master of cinematic time and space, and this is where the aesthetic was forged — messily, to be ironed out in time.
“Specifically, the ways in which the spectacle of violence propels, rather than interrupts, the narrative indicates how Woo’s model of masculinity provides an important counterpoint to the kind of film theory which frequently assumes that the realm of spectacle is reserved only for women and that spectacle always draws the story to a halt.” (Jillian Sandell)
Next time on Questions: We Don’t Have Answers…
Anime at the Gates