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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The first 'A Better Tomorrow' was a stunning, kinetic and emotional roller-coaster that changed the face of HK cinema. The success of ABT meant a sequel and some bright spark decided that Chow Yun Fat (whose character was definitely quite dead at ABT's finale) should make a return.
A prequel would have made more sense, but instead Chow yun Fat returns as dead Mark's identical twin Ken. Holy plot contrivances Batman! After reformed gangster Ho is sent to prison at the end of ABT, his brother Kit has gone undercover to investigate a suspected counterfeiter. Given the chance to join the investigation, Ho is released to act as an informer, if only so he can protect Kit.
All good so far right? The film does well to pick up from where last time left off, thankfully bringing back Ti Lung and Leslie Cheung... but then totally takes the wrong direction. To me, Chow Yun Fat may have been the charismatic centre of ABT but it was always about the brothers Ho and Kit. In ABT2, the film spends way too much time on two NEW characters - the twin brother Ken and framed gangster Si Lung, who is gradually going insane after falling foul of Hong Kong's triads. For every tense sequence of Ho and Kit's investigation, there's two or more scenes or Si Lung's shaking and shuddering and Ken's attempts to snap him out of it.
As far as the action goes, there are no complaints here. The finale is top-drawer chaos on behalf of John Woo and at least gets a great build up sequence to lead into it. But the story focuses on characters and subplots that, to be frank, are mostly irrelevant. Before you criticise me, I love Woo's other work. But saying 'this is a John Woo film' and that 'action is the priority' would do a disservice to the original, which may have changed action cinema, but always kept in mind the story and characters at hand.
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