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A Better Tomorrow II (1987)

Ying hung boon sik II (original title)
A restauranteur teams up with a police officer and his ex-con brother to avenge the death of a friend's daughter.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sung Tse-Ho (as Ti Lung)
Ken / Mark Lee / Mark 'Gor' (as Chow Yun Fat)
Dean Shek ...
Shan Kwan ...
Ko Ying Pui
Emily Chu ...
Uncle Ken
Boss Wong
Ming Yan Lung ...
Peter Wang ...
Father Sam
Fui-On Shing ...
Pui's Right-Hand Man
Chung Lin ...
Pui's Partner
Regina Kent ...
Peggy Lung
Ken Boyle ...
Bearded Crime Boss


Restaurant owner Ken Gor, twin brother of Mark Gor, teams up with police detective Kit and his struggling ex-con brother Ho to avenge his old friend's daughter's death by a Triad gang. Written by L. Lim <penny1@es.co.nz>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

brother | mafia | police | twin | boss | See All (83) »


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Release Date:

17 December 1987 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

A Better Tomorrow II  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


John Woo's first cut of Better Tomorrow 2 was about 160 minutes long. Woo and producer Hark Tsui had disagreements over the focus of the film. Tsui felt that the film should focus more on the Lung, while Woo's original version focused more on characters Ken and Kit.

Hark also insisted that the film should be shortened to a commercially viable length, which in Hong Kong is considered under 120 minutes, so theatre owners could show the film at least eight times a day. Woo refused to cut the film down and when he and Hark couldn't agree about the focus of the film and how it should be re-edited, Hark went and started secretly re-editing the film himself, since he had equal control with the editing of the film along with three other editors (Woo being the fifth editor). At the same time when Hark would cut some parts out Woo would went and also secretly put the missing parts back in. With only a week remaining before movie was to be released in theaters, and with pressure from the studio and distributors to trim the film down, Woo and Hark agreed to send the movie to "Cinema City Editing Unit", which meant that they sent each reel of the film to one of Cinema City's editors, who would then go to work on his particular reel. There was no overall supervision whatsoever by either Woo or Hark. Each of these editors just cut things out as they saw fit, then they returned the reels. What they came up with is now the official released version of the film.

When Woo saw this final version of the film which was 105 minutes long in the theatre for the first time, he was so shocked to see how badly it was re-edited that he disowned the film and till this day only part which he said he considers to be his work is the final shootout sequence. According to Woo, reasons for why lot of the sequences with Yun-Fat Chow and Leslie Cheung which he really liked were completely cut out and why his original version focused more on them is because he realized while filming that parts with Dean Shek's character wouldn't work. But Hark insisted on having Shek in the film which is another reason why he wanted for lot of his scenes to be left in the final cut and lot of other actors' scenes to be cut out. Woo's director's cut was only shown once to film executives in Hong Kong, before all the re-editing problems began.

The five and a half minutes long Hong Kong trailer for the film is the only source to see glimpses of some deleted scenes; Blood covered Kit being brutally beaten up, Kit seeing his wife while still having injuries from the beating on his face, Ken and Lung playing with the bird. See more »


Reflected in Mark's glasses throughout most of the final battle. See more »


Ken: [To Ko and Sung, after a bloodbath] We're dying; can we leave now?
See more »


Referenced in Nel cuore della notte (2002) See more »


Forward To The Days In The Future
by Leslie Cheung
See more »

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User Reviews

Better moments make a better sequel
17 November 1999 | by (Orangeville, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

The original "A Better Tomorrow" changed the face of action films forever. A shoot-em-up gangster melodrama from a then-little-known filmmaker named John Woo, "Tomorrow"'s rampant violence and stylish action scenes instantly established Woo as one of the greatest action directors in the world, and the result was one of Hong Kong's highest grossers ever. After the trend-setting scene where Chow Yun-Fat burst into a room and gunned down a group of bad guys in all sorts of stylish and inventive fashions, everybody in Hong Kong had to go out and buy a trench coat like the one he wore, which guaranteed the actor instant stardom as well. Naturally, a sequel had to be made right away, and in 1987 came "A Better Tomorrow II". You can tell it was rushed into production because it's a little rough around the edges (which probably explains why John Woo has never made another sequel since). And, unfortunately, most of the copies you are likely find of this movie will be marred by atrocious subtitles, which are hard to read, chopped off at the sides of the screen, and are fraught with spelling errors. You're not even two minutes into the movie before you see "hopefully" spelled "hope_lully". But bad subtitles do not ruin a film where what you see on the screen is too explosive to be described with words.

This was the film where John Woo demonstrated that he could just go all-out, and two of his works that followed this, "The Killer" and "Hard Boiled", are placed by many among the ranks of the greatest action films of all time. While "A Better Tomorrow II" is certainly a dynamic piece of work by Woo, it will never be looked upon as a strong example of action movie storytelling. The plot is often confusing and lazily constructed, and commits the ultimate "sin of sequels" when Chow Yun-Fat is introduced into the story. You may recall that his character, Mark, was killed at the end of the original "Better Tomorrow", so how can he return for the sequel? Why, by saying that Mark had a twin brother, of course. Normally, absurd contrivances like that are enough to destroy the credibility of an entire movie, but all is instantly forgiven in Chow's introductory scene when he responds to a mafioso kingpin's bullying by forcing him to eat his rice. It's a delightful, hilarious sequence, and NO other action star could've pulled it off. After watching it, I was quite happy that Mark had a twin brother.

It's the individual moments like that which make "A Better Tomorrow II" an action classic. On an overall scale, it may not be as good as its predecessor, but the moments that do work turn it into a much more exciting film. And boy, when this film works, it WORKS! The final twenty minutes may be the best you see in ANY action film! A very powerful death scene is immediately followed by an absolutely incredible finale in which the heroes barge into the home of the villain and deliver carnage like you've never seen it before. The heroes use guns, grenades and even a samurai sword to mow down the opposition and, by the end, there are more bodies than one can count. This is the first action set piece in which John Woo just decided to go completely berserk, though it would certainly not be the last. Of course, everything in "Better Tomorrow II" is over-the-top melodrama and would probably seem laughable if seen in an American action picture, but what sets the Hong Kong genre apart from all others is that the sheer energy and passion in the filmmaking can make even the hokiest of situations work wonders. And at its best, "Better Tomorrow II" does work wonders. It is so easy to overlook a film's flaws when it makes the can't-miss decision to deliver the goods in the most electrifying ways possible.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Best shootout in the history of cinema? bobfred1288
For those who don't like how Yun-Fat Chow was brought back... anorsworthy
Ye Gods this movie is terrible! Angry_Arguer
You no like my rice? johnny_suede666
Awkward homoerotic orange feeding scenes Redfoot84
The end... Ziggy4001
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