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*** Official "BETTER LUCK TOMORROW" Review Thread (1 Viewer)

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1999
The irony of Asian teenagers using their brains in not-so-legit enterprises to raise not only cash, but self-esteem, power and popularity, is on full display in this film. The idea that supply and demand can be profited from the trafficking of information is simply a portents of life after the high school years. The 4 main characters in the film have a "Lord of the Flies" feel to them, and together they are a force, and apart, the engine simply doesn't run well.

The storytelling is done well, but there's some camerawork that has that "everything...and the kitchen sink" feel to it (meaning, some shots were probably a good idea in theory, but should have been cut out for a better, simpler, shot without all the fancy "look at me" camerawork that didn't add much to the scenes).

The acting is good all around, and the main character of Ben is the most developed in terms of character. The other characters are a little shortchanged, but are sufficient to drive the narrative to where it finally ends up.

It's definitely not a film you'd see being put out by Hollywood, but its point of view and the light it shines of human nature is well worth the effort to find a nearby theater playing the film.

I give it 3 stars, or a grade of B.

Robert Crawford

Senior HTF Member
Dec 9, 1998
Real Name
This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Better Luck Tomorrow". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.


Edwin Pereyra

Senior HTF Member
Oct 26, 1998
Better Luck Tomorrow desperately wants to be another film about alienation and teen angst in a coming of age high school setting. However, it quickly turns into yet another gangster film full of moral ambiguities that ultimately becomes its biggest weakness.

As a gangster movie it really doesn’t have anything new to offer. It is predictable, full of clichés and is even hardened by the presence of a bombastic rock soundtrack. And since this is from MTV Films, the quick cuts and edits that are aimed primarily at its target audience of teenage kids are ever so present.

For a gangster film, turning the characters into Asian Americans might be a novel idea to the filmmakers to satisfy affirmative action to show a certain segment of the U.S. population that is rarely represented in Hollywood films. But having been around and with a living knowledge of the Asian American community, this choice feels more of a deliberate ploy or a gimmick rather than an honest intent.

It would also help if director Justin Lin had actually chosen a cast that look and act like high school students. While Parry Shen does a good job as the lead character Ben, most, if not all of the so-called “teen” actors in this film look like they are pushing 30.

Better Luck Tomorrow is a very ambitious little film that wholeheartedly misses its target.



Jan 10, 2003
Watching the brilliant Better Luck Tomorrow (A) is like riding a thrilling roller-coaster ride. The film started like what seems the Asian-American cinema's version of creepy Blue Velvet, playfulness in Go, feel good atmosphere in Bend It Like Beckham & goofiness in a typical Hollywood coming of age high school films combined and ended unexpectedly (it's beautifully realized story) like Tarantino's chilling Pulp Fiction & Reservoir Dogs and in a smaller scale like the sensational City of God. It has everything what truly a brilliant film should have, natural & very effective performances, small budgeted but have a very expensive feel & look with the obvious masterful direction by the unknown but very promising Lin.

Overall, one can say that it has a story that is not that original but Better Luck Tomorrow is a simple but extraordinarily well-made, honest & thought-provoking coming of age film made by a talented director who has a great cinematic vision.

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