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8/10
A Better Tomorrow starts today...
fmarkland323 September 2006
Two brothers (One a cop played by the late Leslie Cheung, the other a thief played by Ti Lung) become enemies after the death of their father while Chow Yun Fat plays a crippled assassin who teams up with Ti Lung to help protect Cheung from the mob boss that is looking to do him in, while at the same time try to redeem himself in the eyes of his police officer brother. A Better Tomorrow is often reported as the best movie John Woo has done and while it is certainly a superior staple on his resume, the movie's tone is a little off and although the movie is very well done the movie gets a tad too melodramatic at times. However that minor flaw aside A Better Tomorrow provides an unusually rich story that details a rocky relationship that seems to never be forgiven. Indeed even at the end, we doubt whether the brothers will ever be as close as they once were. Ti Lung and Leslie Cheung are very good in their roles but it really is Chow Yun Fat that sells the movie and his performance as an out of work assassin provides a tragic figure that is far more tragic than the relationship between Lung and Cheung. As noted the acting is flawless with Cheung turning in a flawless 180 degree turn in his character. A Better Tomorrow while not the best movie from John Woo, is still a rewarding tale.

* * *1/2 out of 4-(Very good)
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A groundbreaking movie, but it has been surpassed
action-615 May 2000
John Woo was responsible for creating a whole new genre with A Better Tomorrow in 1986: the heroic-bloodshed genre. ABT is a groundbreaking movie, and Hollowood blockbusters like "The Matrix" would never have existed, if it hadn`t been for A Better Tomorrow. Chow Yun-Fat was launched into superstardom, after his flawless role in this movie. CYF plays Mark Gor, a Hong-Kong gangster known for his coolness. The actionscenes introduced John Woo`s famous twingun-action, and the quality of the actionscenes is very high. The film is VERY violent, and is not recommended for young people. Though ABT is getting a bit old, it can still show American action-directors how to get things right. 7,5/10
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8/10
the start of a trend
rdoyle2920 August 2000
In the 1980s, Chinese and Taiwanese films stormed into European and American art-house theatres, while for less fastidious audiences, Hong Kong provided cult action films, first Kung Fu pictures then gangster flicks. John Woo became the Crown Colony's hottest director through his kinetic crime flicks that filtered the lyrical violence of Sergio Leone, Sam Peckinpah, and Walter Hill through an Asian sensibility and re-exported it to the States where Quentin Tarantino became a major admirer. Woo's trademarks are the stand-off, where two or more gunmen hold each other at bay, and the ferocious gunfight in which dozens of people are killed and restaurants blown apart as the hero pirouettes and somersaults while blasting away with two automatic pistols to throbbing, synthesized Western music. "A Better Tomorrow" is a characteristic fable of male friendship, stoicism, courage, and men living by a personal code, in which women are marginalized. It made an overnight star of Chow Yun Fat, who appeared in most of Woo's pictures. The handsome, reserved, athletic Chow is the epitome of Hong Kong movie cool, a moral man in an amoral world, his character is much the same whatever side of the law he is on. The movie also introduced Leslie Cheung, who was to become an iconic figure in mainland Chinese cinema.
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Mr Chow has achieved what no one else could: He looked cool in the 80's
the_saint_10719 August 2002
When this film was made in the 1980's Hong Kong cinema was dominated by wushu films and bizarre swordplay movies involving people flying around and other acid flashback inducing scenarios. John Woo was a young director who had done a string of martial arts films, comedies, and musicals. In 1981 he split from Golden harvest and joined Cinema city, after a couple of comedies, He directed the modern day action film "Sunset Warrior" and it was held on the shelf and not released. After the failure of "Sunset Warrior" he was sent to Taiwan and directed another two comedies. Returning to Hong Kong, Woo had always wanted to make a modern day gangster film. Teaming up with friend and producer Tsui Hark, they made a film that would inspire countless films for years to come. Casting Chow Yun Fat who was mainly a television actor as one lead, an old school Kung Fu actor in another and a singer in the third lead role, it was a risky venture which paid off. The script is great featuring lines such as "Do you believe in God?" "sure i'm one, you are, a god is someone who controls their own destiny". There is strong characterisation of the characters, aided on by perfect performances from the actors, The action choreography was excellent and inspired virtually every film made involving guns ever since. It makes you realise that the only thing "the matrix" didn't take from this film and it's sequels is the plot. This is one of my favourite films of all time, and if everyone in the world saw this, I guarantee that the sales of matchsticks and toothpicks would soar.
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10/10
One fine film from John Woo
InzyWimzy21 May 2002
This film just works!! Besides Woo's top notch action sequences, I was amazed by the great story. Chow Yun Fat is great as Mark and Leslie Cheung is very good as Kit. However, I think the main spotlight is on Ti Lung who is amazing as Ho. The story of loyalty & friendship is the main emphasis here and is essential. Plus, the chemistry between the actors is so apparent, you can see that they must've had so much fun making this movie.

I can see myself watching this again and again...
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7/10
Brotherhood, Friendship and Loyalty
claudio_carvalho7 September 2015
In Hong Kong, the gangsters Sung Tse-Ho (Ti Lung) and Mark (Chow Yun Fat) are best friends. Ho's younger brother Sung Tse-Kit (Leslie Cheung) wants to be a police officer and does not know that his brother is a criminal. When Ho travels with another criminal to Taiwan for a negotiation, he is betrayed and arrested by the police. Meanwhile Mark kills the gang that betrayed his friend. After three years, Ho is finally released from the prison and returns to Hong Kong. He finds that Kit hates him and is investigating the Mafia and Mark is limped and in complete misery. But Ho promises that he would not return to life of outlaw and prefers to work as taxi driver. However he is haunted by his past and the need of protecting his estranged brother. .

"Ying hung boon sik", a.k.a. "A Better Tomorrow", is a great crime film directed by John Woo. The good storyline about brotherhood, friendship and loyalty is full of action. The screenplay is tight and Sung Tse-Ho is a nice character incapable to regenerate due to the corrupt system. In the 80's, this movie had a greater impact but it is still a great action movie. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Alvo Duplo" ("Double Target")
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8/10
The Cool & Suave Chow Yun Fat
eibon0920 April 2001
John Woo's Ying Huang Boon Sik/A Better Tomorrow(1986) was groundbreaking when first released because of the stylisitc depiction of the action scenes. Its success spurred a new genre in Hong Kong cinema known as Heroic Bloodshed. These films were usually gangster pics which is characterized by outrageous gun battles, heavy action, and high melodrama. Hong Kong cinema in the mid 1980s to early 1990s was in the midst of a gangster film craze similar to Hollywood in the 1930s-1940s, France in the 1950s-1960s, Japan in the 1960s-1970s, and Italy in the 1970s-1980s. A Better Tomorrow(1986) is to Heroic Bloodshed what A Fistful of Dollars(1966) was to the Spaghetti Western.

A Better Tomorrow focuses on the age old themes of honor and loyalty. The characters of Ho and Mark are honorable gangsters in an era of double crosses and mistrust. Ho and Mark are at odds with the changing value system and this puts them as people who are outmoded in their principles. Honor and loyalty in A Better Tomorrow(1986) is greatly emphasized as the marks of a good hearted person. Mark Gor is very honorable and loyal in his personalty compared to Shing who is the opposite.

John Woo's main concern is to place high importance on the idea of brotherhood. According to John woo in this film, the tight bonding between men is something that was lost among youngsters at that time. Brotherhood in the film is complex and emotional. The relationship between Ho and Mark is so strong that there is nothing that can smash it. The scene where Mark tells of his ordeals at a nightclub as a first time gangster is nostalgic and touching.

Famous for the clothes Mark Gor wears as for anything else in the film. Began a trend in fashion around Hong Kong when many people started wearing the same kind of outfit as Mark Gor. Quentin Tarantino loved the look of Mark that for weeks he dressed like him to feel and look cool. In John Woo films there is always focus on the fashion of his characters. Mark Gor was the Rick Blaine of the 1980s.

A Better Tomorrow(1986) changed the look of action films with the famous use of pistols by Brother Mark in the restaurant. The first of many elaborate gun battles that dominates the films that follows A Better Tomorrow(1986). Although John Woo would film many wonderful action scenes in the next few years, there never would be a scene like this one which is full of energy and freshness. I enjoyed it when Mark Gor places guns inside flower pots as backup because the idea is cleaver and original. This scene is parodied in the climatic portion of Just Heroes(1987).

Ying Huang Boon Sik(1986) gave stardom to an actor known for his roles in Hong Kong television named Chow Yun Fat. Before the film's success, Chow Yun Fat was considered box office poison by Hong Kong theatre owners. His charismatic and suave performance as the tragic Mark Gor broke that reputation. Chow Yun Fat is the best actor to come out of Asian cinema since Toshiro Mifune and Jo Shishido. He is the most flamboyant actor in the world who is better than any actor that was nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars.

The motif of sacrifice for redemption is part of Woo's religious beliefs. The heroes in his bloodshed films perform sacrifices to purify themselves within. The death of Mark Gor is a big sacrifice because it makes Ho and Kit Brothers again. What's sad about the death of Mark is its the only way for Ho and Mark to reconcile with each other. This motif also plays big in The Killer(1989) and Bullet in the Head(1990).

The story is simple but compelling. Ti Lung made a big comeback with his role after years of mediocrity. He gives a performance that is deeply emotional and mature. Leslie Cheung also performs well as the headstrong but naive and stubborn Kit Sung. Waise Lee is excellent as the pompous and two faced Triad boss, Shing.

Gunfight at the end of A Better Tomorrow is less high body count and refined than in later John Woo films. Still exhilarating and fun to watch. The shootout is filmed in the spirit of Sam Peckinpah and Sergio Leone. When Chow Yun Fat comes out shooting like John Wayne, the film is at a high adrenaline level. One of the reasons why I love this movie.

Plot becomes more emotionally intense and less melodramatic with the energetic direction of John Woo. What makes the film work is the large dose of sentlementlty given by John Woo. He films the action and dramatic scenes with much passion and thoughtfulness. He is good at directing Chow Yun Fat and Ti Lung in giving great performances. A Better Tomorrow(1986) made John Woo an action guru after years doing comedies and being known as the king of comedy in Hong Kong cinema.
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8/10
Will these two brothers find...A Better Tomorrow?
Captain_Couth24 June 2004
A Better Tomorrow (1986) was the gangster film that made John Woo one of the top directors in the Hong Kong film industry during the mid to late 80's. This one also made Yun-Fat Chow into a superstar and it revived the career of former Shaw Brothers star Lung Ti and boosted the career of pop singer/actor Leslie Cheung. A tragic tale about true friendship and loyalty. Yun-Fat and Lung co-star as two gangsters who are also the best of friends. They have been through a lot together. But a simple twist of fate changes their lives for ever. Leslie Cheung stars as the younger brother of Lung Ti, a straight edge cop who learns about his brother's secret life. Waise Lee and John Woo also appear in this one as well.

A ground breaking film. Not only did it make Producer Tsui Hark and Cinema City Ltd. a lot of money, it also spawned two official sequels and countless of knock-offs. A number of triad inspired movies were produced after the success of this film. It also started a fashion trend in Hong Kong. Great stuff.

Highly recommended.

A

Followed by A Better Tomorrow II and A Better Tomorrow III: Love and death in Saigon..

One of your better trilogies.
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9/10
Still holds up
kosmasp6 April 2007
This movie kick-started many things. The very fruitful partnership between John Woo and Chow Yun Fat, the successful career for of them, the heroic bloodshed movie (don't try this at home or let kids watch them) and a lot of imitators! So one should be really thankful to Tsui Hark, because it's a really good thing he couldn't direct. Otherwise we most likely wouldn't have any of the above!

But being as it is, you can watch this movie and see how it is done correctly. Replacement Killers eat your heart out! This movie still is superior to imitators such as the named one or a few others. Yes I know that some have argued that it is dated and other movies (such as Matrix) have not only copied some of it's styles, but improved them. Not for me, they haven't! Because it's not only about copying a slow motion effect here, it's about the story too. And the characters and their believes. And of course the acting!
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8/10
One of the best Hong Kong action films.
TransAtlantyk17 January 2012
This is the movie that made John Woo the reputation that he has for action films. If you enjoy action films, and in particular other Hong Kong action films then you will enjoy this. Stylistically it is easily identified as a Woo film and doesn't really transcend the action film genre but it does work marvelously within the confines of that genre.

Some consider The Killer or Hard-Boiled to be the better John Woo HK film but I find that while the Killer and Hard-Boiled both have tighter, more elegant action sequences what really makes A Better Tomorrow lead the pack is the plot. It isn't an entirely original plot but it is well acted enough that you really feel for the characters and can understand the motivations. It isn't a typical action movie plot where the script serves simply as a device to create interesting action sequences. You get traditional Chinese themes such as honor, loyalty, and strong family ties.

As always Chow Yun Fat is a pleasure to watch. He is simply one of the coolest action stars in the entire global movie industry. You could search far and wide and not find a more suave action star than the dual-pistol wielding, cigarette-in-mouth Chow Yun Fat. Worth watching for his presence alone. If you only know him from the American films he has done then you are doing yourself a disservice.

In summation: if you like action films you will love A Better Tomorrow. It's that simple. Also check out other Woo HK films like The Killer and Hard Boiled.
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9/10
one of the best heroic bloodshed titles available
chrichtonsworld31 January 2007
A "better tomorrow" seems like a typical hong kong gangster drama. It is not,it is much more thanks to John Woo! The story has it's moments! But like most of John Woo's movies it is about the action! The three main characters are Chow Yan Fat, Ti Lung and Leslie Cheung. Although Ti Lung and Leslie Cheung give good performances! Chow Yan fat steals the show by far! It is a joy to see him,no matter what scene it is! He is the embodiment of coolness in this movie! It is to bad such a fine and versatile actor doesn't get the chance to make really good movies in Hollywood! As I mentioned before this movie is about the action! The slow mo shootouts are superb. The scene where "Mark" kills some bad guys after they betrayed Ti Lung is classic and is parodied very often! You will see why! The setup to this shootout is great! I can go on and on! For that time the ending is extraordinary! It is a prequel to John Woo's later work! Check it out if you haven't done so already! This movie is excellent!
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10/10
Classic, immensely influential action movie from John Woo
dworldeater23 March 2019
A Better Tomorrow was a huge box office hit and cultural phenomenon in Hong Kong that would go onto inspiring film makers both locally and internationally. This was the genesis of the heroic bloodshed genre(although, there were a few similar movies around the same time, this is the one that had the most impact and spawned hundreds of clones) and establishes John Woo as an action director(previous to this ,he was best known for comedies), as well as Chow Yun Fat as a huge star(he was best known on television, but had little success in film until A Better Tomorrow).This also stars Ti Lung as the leading character Ho, who was very.,very good in this, but got blown away by Chow Yun Fat's magnetic performance. His brother Kit, played by Leslie Chung, is very good also. This combination of melodrama and action has been rarely seen at this point. Although our main characters are gangsters that are involved in illegal criminal enterprises and shoot a hundred people, these are not the type of gangsters that you would see in something like Scarface. They are really nice, chivalrous guys that would help an old lady across the street. In their world, violence is the only way of life and over the course of the next 90 minutes, you will laugh and cry with them and cheer them on when they take it to the bad guys( Waise Lee and the rest of the syndicate). The bad guys in this are really bad and will have you root for our heroes even more. The action is bloody and extreme, think Sam Peckinpah on crystal meth with excellent characters, great storytelling, tremendous acting performances and lots of style and panache from John Woo. Right before this Woo made another action movie, a Vietnam action flick called Heroes Shed No Tears, which is very good also. But, this is where he found his style and had the right group of actors to make this go through the roof at the box office. He later perfected this style with classics like The Killer, Hard Boiled and A Bullet In The Head, but A Better Tomorrow was first and most influential. This is a true classic and an absolute must for any enthusiast of Asian cinema or action fans in general, A Better Tomorrow is mandatory.
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7/10
The very first film with heroic bloodshed
maxyg1827 July 2006
This was the movie that got John Woo Famous. It's a beautifully done film, about a relationship between two brothers that goes wrong when one of the brothers Kit (Leslie Cheung), a rookie cop, discovers that his brother Ho (Ti Lung), is a gangster when he is sent to prison. Three years later, Ho gets out of prison and starts a new life that is crime-free, but his brother is unable to forgive him (in other words, hates him) and his friend Mark (Chow Yun-Fat), encourages him to go back to the world of crime. The storyline is rather complicated to follow but this movie has some great stylised action scenes and great acting.

Worth watching.
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Thrilling stuff...
dirtychild11 November 2004
A Better Tomorrow is John Woo's first film. Like most of Woo's films - A Better Tomorrow has a "soap opera" like quality plot, but brilliant action. The story basically focuses on two brothers - one a gangster, the other a rising cop. The gangster brother tries to go straight (feeling guilty about his life in context to his brothers) - but the cop brother blames the gangster for the death of a relative. I actually found the plot to be very engaging (despite the very dodgy subtitles on my copy of the movie) and thrilling. As Ti-Luing (the gangster) and Mark (a friend) spiral downwards into a blood-soaked finale. Chow Lun-Fat is a stand out as the flamboyant but tragic Mark. The movie has moments of stylish action (a trademark of Woo) - but his best was definitely yet to come (see Hard Boiled or the Killer). But in terms of engagement - A Better Tomorrow packs a punch.
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10/10
Superb
ajikude25 June 2021
I watched this movie when it first came out in 1980s. It was a massive step up from the comical kung fu gangster action movies. The plot thickens with many plot twists and tries to show the levels of backstabbing politics in HK triads at that time. Di Lung and Chow Yun Fat are brilliant. The cinematography is excellent. The direction is excellent. A masterpiece of HK culture and a must see HK cult movie.
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9/10
A John Woo Classic
Johnnycitystar16 March 2008
A Better Tomorrow Is the first film to create the type of slow-motion gun fights that are seen in many films and now video games. But the film is not really a action film as this film is less action-like and more dramatic than most John woo films.As it focuses on two brothers and a young man on the verge on finding a better life.The film has great memorable likable characters, Powerful acting, a great pacing and a Soundtrack that has you tuning for days.

The film is about a gangster name Ho who is trying to escape his gangster life to protect and lookout for his younger brother Kit. Kit is a up-incoming police officer who has no idea what his brother does for a career.Ho is given a assignment to go to Taiwan for a deal but is set-up by his driver Shing and Ho is arrested and sent to prison. After hearing this Ho's friend and partner Mark goes to avenge his partner to go to Taiwan to kill the person that set him up.in the process Mark is shot in the leg and left cripple.

Three Years later Ho is release from jail and finds out things have changed.His brother has become more bitter and has hatred for his brother for being a gangster and blames him for his father's death.Mark before being a well-known gangster has become a car washer and a bum living in a parking garage.He has thrown his gangster life away and lost it in a blink of an eye and Shing, Ho's old driver is now the boss. Ho is trying to reconcile with his brother but due to his deep-hatred he has for him and now his old gang wanting to get rid of Ho and Mark for being pests things are getting tough in Ho's life.

The film feels like a drama film than of a action film. Because half of the film is Kit and Ho trying to accept each other and also Mark's Struggle to come back to his old gangster life and prove he's more than just a gangster than knows how to use two guns.but this drama is far from boring making these characters real and believable as well.

As for character development it's on top form.We learn that Ho is a wise, caring man who is looking out for his brother from danger.but goes though a lot because he has chosen to leave the criminal life and lookout for his brother and Mark making him a likable character.Kit is a first a care-free person but when he finds about his brother he becomes a troubled character with a lot of angered inside him and cannot forgive his brother at all for what he has done.Mark is the most likable character in the film from being a Dynamic, fun-free, smooth character in the beginning to a Man trying to become man looking for a better life as well.

Thanks to the characters, the acting is in top-shape.Ti Lung gives well performance as Ho as he makes his character believable and bring a level of emotion as well pulling off amount of range.Leslie Chung is great as Kit.as he plays the naive, bitter character well making him into somewhat of a spoiled brat.But when all said and done, Chow-Yun Fat steals the show as Mark.He fits into his role well as the comical Mark and enjoys playing his character despite the fact in the beginning of the film he plays the role a bit over-the-top.But it's his climax performance that steals the show.making you want to crying in his dramatic sense when he tells Ho he wants to be a better man.

Overall this is great movie you will enjoy it I'm telling you You will.
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5/10
Early Woo is no better than early anyone else.
=G=17 August 2003
As much as Woo fans would like to hype "A Better Tomorrow" as a classic, it is just another Hong Kong crime/action flick with all the usual overdone bullets, blood, and silly melodrama. Just as with Jackie Chan, Jet Li and even Bruce Lee, this early Woo flick featuring early Chow Yuen Fat is a turkey made when Woo was cutting his teeth, before he got his rep and the juice to make bigger budget flicks. Just because this film bears the Woo signature, doesn't make it a good film. For Woo fans and action junkies only. (C)
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7/10
The higher you go, the more painful it is to fall, or Early John Woo: part one
lyubitelfilmov22 August 2020
Crime thriller. After watching some of the famous Chinese director John Woo's famous films, he decided to take a look at his crime thriller trilogy, where he first shot the then young and green Chow Yunfat in the title role. So to speak, the emergence and worldwide recognition of such a genre of cinema as "Hong Kong action". I watched the first part of the trilogy - and did not regret the time spent. And here's my brief opinion - The higher you go, the more painful it is to fall. I will single out all the disadvantages in a separate paragraph and tell you, but for now, let me focus your attention on the advantages of this criminal action movie. So, here they are: 1. The story told - the picture tells the story of the confrontation between two brothers, one of whom is the "big shot" in the triad, and the other is a Hong Kong police inspector. But after the arrest and imprisonment, the first brother decides to quit with crime, especially since his friend in the triad was also unlucky, and he drags a miserable existence. What will win? Brotherhood in Blood or Brotherhood in Spirit? Should the brothers be reconciled against the backdrop of swirling events? Maybe this is my feeling, but in an hour and a half that this picture is going on, they told me an excellent story, but it seemed to me that two whole hours had passed? What was it? Movie Magic? Glamor? Or something else? The script was written by John Woo himself, and he copied the images of criminals from his difficult childhood in Taiwan. The heroes of the picture are clearly spelled out, the images are familiar, the motives are clear. 2. Humor - that was unexpected. In a serious and bloody (without distortions) criminal action movie there was a place for humor. And even without vulgarity. At first, it stunned me a little and made me a little nervous, but then I accepted it without a shadow of a doubt. The good news is that humor is present only in the first third of the picture. If there were more of it, then the tone of the picture would inevitably collapse, and as a result - a real confusion. 4. Shootouts - here - a real balm for fans of the "action" genre. Many enemies, several heroes, "Macedonian shooting", an explosive environment, liters of blood, with heroes that get injured and not with "terminators", which looks pretty realistic even now. You can enjoy the shootings here, and I got it. Of course, after "Hard Boiled" the local ones don't seem so stunning, but they are well set and well played. 5. Dramaticism - forgive me, but again I will compare in the film "The Hired Killer", where I liked the dramatic moments more than the local ones. Here we have a conflict of brothers, which is more familiar. Forgiveness, native blood, brotherhood in spirit and so on. There are several powerful and emotional scenes that work well. In general, look first at this picture, well, after that - "Hired Assassin", so as not to spoil your impression, as it happened to me. On the cons. Yes, there are silly moments in both history and gunfights that are striking. Yes, special effects no longer cause a storm of emotions, as in the year the picture was released. Yes, there is pretense and a certain naivety. But I can close my eyes to this, having made a discount on the age of this creation by John Woo, and I will! A little about the main characters: 1. Ho performed by Ti Luna is an influential figure of one Hong Kong triad, who, after being arrested and imprisoned, decided to retire and live honestly, but the mafia will not let go so easily. Faithful, honest, slightly naive, extremely stubborn. Tee embodied the classic image of a criminal who had changed his mind, who was forced to change. Well done! 2. Keith played by Leslie Chu - Ho's younger brother, a Hong Kong police inspector, whose relationship with his older brother hinders a successful career. Behaves like an offended child, sometimes showing unreal stupidity. The viewer understands his motive and anger, but his behavior is completely different. Sometimes I want to break through him a strong bream for all his rash actions. Leslie played this role perfectly. Bravo! 3. Mark performed by Chou Yunfat is a friend of Huo and an influential member of the triad, with his own inimitable style: a black cloak, sunglasses, a cigarette and a match in his teeth. An excellent shooter, whom life shook no less than his brother in spirit. Chow's character is too bright and charismatic to be forgotten. Great performance! Bravo! I will definitely watch the second and third parts. I'm just wondering what the writers came up with. As a result, we have a good and quite bloody crime thriller by John Woo with a good and dramatic story, good music, juicy shootings and good acting.
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10/10
One Of Hong Kong Cinema's Finest!!
Movie-Misfit27 December 2019
I had already fallen in love with Chow Yun Fat from seeing the incredible Hard Boiled, Full Contact, and The Killer back in the early 90's. So I was quite late in seeing the film that really helped launch him as the heroic bloodshed action star!

His stunning performance as 'Mark' gave cinema one of its most memorable characters, which paved the way for a collection of tributes and spoofs from other HK film-makers that still runs to this day. The awesome Ti Lung (I find) doesn't usually receive the same amount of credit for his role, yet plays his part flawlessly, delivering beautiful action and lump-in-the-throat drama, as he carries the story between his best friend (Mark) and his brother, played by the late Leslie Cheung.

At first, I wasn't too keen on Leslie Cheung as Kit - but after warming to him in other movies, and repeated viewings of ABT you soon see that Woo and Hark made the right choice in putting these 3 together on- screen. This is, without a doubt, one of John Woo's finest moments, and one of my all time favourite movies.

It should be one of yours too!

An absolute gem of a film that will always be remembered and loved by many fans of Asian (and non-Asian) films. From the first time I watched it, right up until the last, A Better Tomorrow stands proud as a classic piece of entertainment. Action packed, emotional, gritty and beautifully directed - this film is recognized as the one that put Chow Yun Fat on the action map, and it's easy to see why.

The gritty action and gun-play is choreographed by Tung Wei, who does a great job in providing some intense moments as well as some explosive scenes. Along with John Woo's infamous slow-motion and some violent bloody kills, it definitely makes for a number of memorable moments, helping to launch the Heroic Bloodshed genre into the limelight!

A film as emotional about brotherhood and friendship as this is made some impact in me when I watched it as a young man. The scenes between Chow Yun Fat and Ti Lung are intense, backed by an incredible score that really is one of the best...

A 4k clean-up would be greatly appreciated and is long over-due for such a film!
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8/10
An enjoyable film even today.
ChandlerHammer23 November 2019
A Better Tomorrow is a wonderful gangster movie about the complications between two brothers stuck on each side of the law, and their pride. This movie features two compelling stories of brotherhood, one between blood brothers between law and one between two gang members with a bond as strong as brotherhood. An absolutely great place to watch early on into the Gangster Movie Genre and John Woo films. This film also features Chow Yun-fat and was a springboard for his career, he helps make this already great movie even better.
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8/10
A Better Tomorrow: Birth of A New Subgenre
neonadventure16 June 2019
Where to start with this? I first watched this with my father back in a cold November night, already watching the Killer first and then already ordering this film with Hard Boiled along with it. (Except Hard Boiled came a week later to be only disappointed that Dragon Dynasty fails to restore it and not use the warm colors but instead use blue colors for their hospital scene but that's for the Hard Boiled review I was going to write next.) I was honestly not too excited for this one, I wanted to watch Hard Boiled so bad because I heard it was great. By the end of the film, I was honestly amazed by this and decided to buy the bootleg version of the trilogy on eBay. (It was actually Fortune Star DVD's put in a bad case that came from Malaysia) And yes, it was THAT good.

A Better Tomorrow was the first spark of fire that lit an entire subgenre which we Hong Kong cinema experts call, the "Heroic Bloodshed" genre. This was also the first film to get John Woo some good recognition in the film industry of Hong Kong. Tells the story of a gangster who after a deal goes wrong, tries to get the trust of his friend (Chow Yun Fat) and his younger brother who is an undercover cop. (Leslie Chung) The story is emotionally driven as always in a John Woo film. The movie tells many important themes like family, trust, and loyalty. In the end, the young gangster that our main character, (Ti Lung) becomes the very enemy of the story. As the old die off without their respect, the young take over the Triad business.

The acting is better than The Killer is one thing I can tell you for sure. The cinematography is stunning, music is especially legendary considering for the fact that Leslie Chung (the father of Chinese pop music) sings his most famous song in this film. Composed by Joseph Koo, (who also composed Bruce Lee movies) the big ensemble of the strings stir up the highest of power and it does have a few cons especially having a short song that sounds like a rom-com. (It is a little bit comedic in the first half) The action scenes are awesome in every sense. This is the only John Woo film that my grandparents enjoyed. (My grandfather enjoyed watching violent films but never enjoyed the Killer. Don't mistake this with my father, they're different people) Just watch it if you want to watch the greatest Chinese films ever. It's just the best Chinese action film I've seen in a while.
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8/10
Nice Chinese drama.
gabriel_sanchez23 June 2018
ACTING 9/10 A Better Tomorrow (1986) does great on showing the emotion on every scene. I like how those kinds of movies handle drama. Sometimes, it can be over the top, but, in the end, you might be left with a knot down your throat.

SOUNDTRACK 5/10 You'll be hearing the same song over and over and over, with little nuances here and there, kinda like the Super Mario World Super Nintendo game.

VISUAL EFFECTS 10/10 Everything is practical and kept simple.

PLOT 8/10 A beautiful plot about choices, principles, friendship and loyalty.

OVERALL 8/10 A Better Tomorrow is a nice drama to watch. It's not for every one, but those who end up getting interested for this movie won't get disappointed.
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7/10
Action and drama in equal measures
Vartiainen14 February 2016
Director John Woo's first big breakthrough movie and still considered to be one of the best Hong Kong action movies. A movie that helped popularizing Hong Kong action in the West and is still, after multiple decades, an iron hard nailbiter.

Sung Tse-Ho (Ti Lung) is a member of the Triad in charge of their money deliveries. With him he has his trusted partner Mark Lee (Chow Yun-Fat). But things take a turn for the worse when his last deal goes south - don't they always - and he is caught by the police, thus letting his younger brother Kit (Leslie Cheung), a freshly graduated police officer, know about his criminal tendencies. And thus Ho's life is completely ruined, for even when he gets out of prison, he has lost his position in the Triad, his brother has cut all ties with him and even his partner isn't doing as well as he used to.

What I like the most about this film is its ability to mix crazy, completely wild action scenes with scenes of surprising depth and character. Ho and Mark's struggle to regain their footing and position in the world is very identifiable, and Ho's willingness to at least try to straighten up makes him an admirable character. We also have Mark, whose character arc isn't as defined and deep, but who works as a good counterpoint to Ho because of his innate coolness and entertainment factor.

John Woo is a legendary name in the action genre, and for a good reason. All the fight scenes are amazing, the special effects have withstood the test of time surprisingly well and you're never lost in space, even though the fights are very energetic and fast-paced.

Woo has an instantly recognizable style and if you haven't seen any of his movies, this is a great place to start. It has it all. Great characters, even better action scenes, scenic locations, high stakes and boiling tension. Definitely recommended.
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8/10
Chow Yun-Fat's signature role.
OllieSuave-00725 November 2014
This movie contains what is probably Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-Fat's signature role, Mark Gor. He plays a triad member who teams up with gangster Sung Tse-Ho (Lung Ti) in running a counterfeiting ring. However, a double-crossing sends Ho to jail and Mark injured from a gunshot to the leg. Complicating matters is that Ho's brother Sung Tse-Kit (Leslie Cheung) is a graduate of the HK police academy, whose career as a cop might be tarnished by Ho's crimes.

This movie has a powerful plot from start to finish, from the intense drama between the two brothers (Ho wanting to go straight and Kit wanting to have nothing to do with his older brother) and the downtrodden Mark, who, after his injury, yearns to have Ho rejoin him in reviving their crime syndicate. The addition of Emily Chu as Jackie, Kit's girlfriend, gives this intense story a little tenderness, as Jackie wants to lead a quiet life and wants Kit and Ho to make peace with each other.

There is also plenty of mind-blowing action, most notably the scene where Mark duns sunglasses and a trench-coat, blasting away a bunch of gang members mercilessly with two shotguns at a restaurant. There are many more gun action scenes, some to the point that is a little overkill. The scenes leading to the climax could have been a little more captivating. But yet overall, the ensuing drama and the powerful acting makes this one of the most iconic Hong Kong action movies.

Grade B
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10/10
One of the best from HK's golden age!
Movie-Misfit30 June 2014
I had already fallen in love with Chow Yun Fat from seeing the incredible Hard Boiled, Full Contact, The Killer and many others back in the early 90's. So I was quite late in seeing the film that really helped launch him as the heroic bloodshed action star!

An absolute gem of a film that will always be remembered and loved by many fans of Asian (and non-Asian) films. From the first time I watched it, right up until the last, A Better Tomorrow stands proud as a classic piece of entertainment. Action packed, fun, gritty and beautifully directed – this film is recognized as the one that put Chow Yun Fat on the action map, and it's easy to see why…

His stunning performance as 'Mark' gave cinema one of its most memorable characters, which paved the way for a collection of tributes and spoofs from other HK film-makers that still runs to this day. The awesome Ti Lung (I find) doesn't usually receive the same amount of credit for his role, yet plays his part flawlessly, delivering beautiful action to lump-in-the-throat drama, as he carries the story between his best friend (Mark) and his brother, played by the late, Leslie Cheung.

At first, I wasn't too keen on Leslie Cheung as Kit – but after warming to him in other movies, and repeated viewings of ABT you soon see that Woo and Hark made the right choice in putting these 3 together on- screen. This is, without a doubt, one of John Woo's finest moments, and one of my all time favorite movies.

It should be one of yours too!
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