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Ultra-violence, the Hong Kong way
Leofwine_draca23 August 2015
A BETTER TOMORROW II is the superior follow-up to the John Woo original. This time around, both Tsui Hark and Woo share directorial duties in a typical tale of gangsters. Betrayal, violent shoot-outs and madness are the order of the day, and for the most part you'll be watching for the exemplary action.

Be warned: this is a film that requires you to suspend your disbelief. Chow Yun Fat's character doesn't return from the original - for obvious reasons - so instead his 'twin brother' makes an appearance here. Still, it gives Woo the chance to feature his favourite actor in more outrageous set-pieces, with the stair-sliding scene being a real highlight here.

The storyline involves a couple of ex-cons given the task of going undercover to take down a suspected smuggler (Dean Shek, of DRUNKEN MASTER fame). They soon find themselves embroiled in a murky world where a crime boss is planning a massive takeover and murder is the order of the day. As in GOD OF GAMBLERS, one character's madness takes up a big part of the running time.

What you get here are a number of Hong Kong megastars (alongside Yun Fat, Ti Lung has a welcome role, plus A Chinese GHOST STORY's Leslie Cheung) indulging themselves in some frenetically exciting shoot-outs. Woo's action choreography is superb, with hard-hitting bullets flying around the screen, slow motion blood sprays, and all manner of outrageousness. The ending, which is impossibly violent and over the top, proves a neat precursor to the later madness of THE KILLER and HARD-BOILED.
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Have U seen the first one?
kosmasp10 April 2007
I mean if you haven't go watch that one and than come back. Did you like what you saw? If you did than rent this one. Since they do have something in common (I won't tell you what, because that would be a spoiler), you will have a blast watching this one too ... maybe you'll even watch them back-to-back! :o)

Since I do expect you to have watched at least one John Woo film before reading this complete review (read above for details, if you skipped the first paragraph), than you know all the ingredient a Woo film has and I won't have to tell you much more. Only that a shoot out, that is seen here, is easily in the top 10 of all times! Again don't let any kids watch it and especially don't try anything at home! ;o)
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A great addition to the Hong Kong action cinema...
paul_haakonsen17 December 2018
"A Better Tomorrow II" (aka "Ying Hung Boon Sik II") definitely is what one would think about when reminiscing about the Hong Kong cinema in the late 1980s. Why? Well, take the sheer amount of insane action that is packed into the movie into consideration, and then of course you have the likes of Chow Yun Fat and dead actor Leslie Cheung at the helm.

The story in "A Better Tomorrow II" is pretty straight forward. There are no major surprises along the way, for better or worse. But it doesn't make for a mundane storyline, not at all. Sure, it is predictable, yes, but the entertainment value to the script and storyline is capable of carrying the movie. Was it all good? No, not really. The entire part with the mental breakdown and how easily it was overcome was a bit forced and felt somewhat out of place in the movie.

"A Better Tomorrow" is definitely a movie franchise that you should be well familiar with, especially if you are a devoted fan to the Hong Kong cinema. And this definitely is from the golden age of the action cinema to make it from Hong Kong.

As mentioned earlier, then the movie does have some good acting performances in it, not only from Chow Yun Fat and Leslie Cheung, but also from the likes of Lung Ti, Kenneth Tsang, Man-Tat Ng and Ming Yan Lung.

This is definitely a movie that should be on your to-watch-list if you are a fan of Asian cinema and in particular Hong Kong cinema. If you haven't already seen the franchise, I can strongly recommend that you do so if you have the time and chance. This is Hong Kong entertainment at its finest.
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Not as good as the first
preppy-321 January 2000
The first "Better Tomorrow" was superb...quick, engrossing and VERY violent. This sequel is good, but not up to the first. The story is by-the-numbers (gangster tries to go good, but people won't let him), women are treated as nothing and there's HUGE gaps in reality (check one of the closing scenes when a man calls his wife in the hospital). Also, the acting (with the exception of Chow-Yun Fat) is laughable. Still, I was never bored. The action is explosive, the movie barely stops and the body count is easily in the triple digits. Worth watching, but no great shakes.
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One for the die-hards
JoeytheBrit20 July 2007
A Better Tomorrow II is one for the die-hards. While Asian crime flicks score marks for energy and pace, they falter badly when it comes to clarity of plot and characterisation. This film is a prime example; the action set-pieces look terrific, even if the majority of the participants are relegated to the status of human cartoons, and Chow Yun Fat looks cool as the identical twin brother of his character from the first film, but other than that there's not a lot going for it. The character of Lung Si just doesn't convince as he lurches from ex-crime lord gone straight to feeble-minded shell then back to a kind of avenging angel. As usual, the subtitles are atrocious, placing the words of five-year-old kids in the mouths of adults. Worth watching for the gunplay, but little else.
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An 80's type of Action Film
mm-396 April 2002
This film has the usual 80's climax ending; the big gun fight at the end. It was hard to watch this film, as English was obviously dubbed into the film. The translation and culture differences make this film hard for Western society to follow. For example, seeing a shooting star is bad luck for Chinese culture; the opposite for Western culture. There was a lot of Miami Vice content to the film; sunglasses, directing and clothing. I like the hitman wearing the dark sunglasses. The sword scene was well choreographed. They try to put highly emotional scenes into the film. A typical action film with a Hong Kong flavour to it.
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A masterpiece.
HumanoidOfFlesh3 January 2004
"A Better Tomorrow 2" is a perfect example of Hong Kong's heroic bloodshed cinema.Chow-Yun Fat pulls off one of his most charismatic performances to date and Dean Shek is equally memorable as Lung.The plot may be slightly incoherent for some,but the characters are very well-developed and there is enough bloody violence to satisfy fans of heroic bloodshed cinema.The finale of the film is incredible with all the guns,grenades,bloodshed and swordplay.A must-see for fans of Chinese action.9 out of 10.
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The Vidiot Reviews
capone6664 July 2014
A Better Tomorrow 2

The hardest part of being an undercover cop is toning down your evilness to fit in with low-level thugs.

Fortunately, it's a former Triad member doing the masquerading in this action movie.

After years in prison, Ho (Ti Lung) is released and recruited by a task force intent on taking down a reputed counterfeiter, Lung (Dean Shek).

With his brother Kit (Leslie Cheung) already under Lung's command, Ho agrees to help the police.

But it's not Lung, Ho and Kit must worry about, it's Lung's lackey (Shan Kwan), who's usurping their leader.

With help from an old friend's twin (Chow Yun-fat), Lung and his loyalists set out to ruin his former empire.

While closely related to the characters from the first film, this John Woo helmed sequel doesn't require previous knowledge to impress viewers with its stylized gunfights.

Incidentally, the best way to resolve Asian gang disputes is over karaoke.

Green Light

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They simply do not make action movies like this in Hollywood
The-Sarkologist14 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This film is a sequel to A Better Tomorrow, the movie that brought John Woo to the notice of the world. This film is far superior to the original (which is usually quite unusual), as it delves far deeper into the characters in this movie, though it follows the theme of the original.

Tsui Hark produced this movie, and Chow Yun Far is one of the major actors, which makes this movie one that has been developed by Hong Kong's heavy weights. The characters and cinematography may not be on par with films like Bullet in the Head and The Killer, but still has enough of a John Woo mark on it to make it a superior movie. Unfortunately, on the version that I watched, the subtitles seemed to have been rushed as they were full of spelling and grammatical mistakes.

The movie is focused around five people, and jumps between New York and Hong Kong. The hero of a Better Tomorrow, Ho, is approached by the Hong Kong police to infiltrate an export company and find evidence that they are operating illegally. He refuses at first, but when he learns that his brother is involved, he decides to act. The problem is that the owner of the company was a crook, but wants to get out of it, and live a clean life. As he said, he has a criminal past and finds it impossible to escape it. Where Ho's criminal past was chasing him in the previous movie, the past is now chasing a new character, but this past is far more destructive than it was in the first movie.

The boss find himself the target of an assassination, but while struggling with a gun, the assassin decides to shoot a couple of people in the room instead, making the boss believe that he is a killer. Now that he believes that he has blood on his hand, he knows that he cannot escape so he flees, and when he flees, his daughter is killed. In New York, his enemies are still after him, and he watches as his brother, who is now a minister in an Asian Church, is gunned down along with his congregation. As he sees everybody that he cares for dying around him, he slowly descends into madness.

Ken, the twin brother of Mark, who was killed in the last movie, introduces Chow Yung Far. This is a bit of a cop-out I feel, but we quickly ignore that as Ken frees the boss from a lunatic asylum and attempts to nurse him back to health while he is being chased by hundreds of gangsters. In this scene the orange is important as it is the fruit that the boss picks up as he slowly comes out of his insanity, but quickly falls back into it when the gang attacks again. It is only when he sees the chance that Ken will die as well, that he comes out of it and attacks with a rabid ferocity.

Back in Hong Kong, Ho and his brother are going through different challenges. Here Ho is attempting to infiltrate the gang as he is seeking revenge against the death of his friend's daughter. During this he is forced to shoot and kill his brother, but this is only a reflection of what is going to happen at the end. We see glimpses through the movie of Ho's brother's demise, and the closer we come to it, the more vivid these glimpses become. It is this part of the movie that John Woo really shines as a director. Here we see a life being born, as another is dying. The death finally comes as Ho's brother speaks to his newborn child, even though the child cannot hear.

This movie is awesome, and the gunfight at the end should receive the true title of the biggest bodycount in film history, though the Killer has mass killings right through it. Still, this is a brilliant action movie, though its themes and characters make it far superior to your standard American action flick.
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From John Woo, Master of Gun Fu...?
poe42622 January 2006
It's unfair, I suppose, to expect too much from filmmakers who are, after all, only human; but, it happens. We come across THE KILLER or A BETTER TOMORROW or HARD BOILED and we think that everything this director directs will be of like caliber (so to speak). And when we hear that a A BETTER TOMORROW II exists, we spend too much time and too much effort searching it out, expend too much hope that it'll make the aforementioned "Gun Fu" trilogy a quartet; and when we find, in the end, that we've simply set ourselves up for a major disappointment, we can't help but point the finger of blame at the blameless filmmaker himself (who, after all, tried, who gave it his best shot, if you will: only our own expectations have been dashed, because we took it upon ourselves to deify a mere director of motion pictures; to expect any more from any director in any genre may be expecting too much). But there's always, as the song says, tomorrow...
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Good concept with an epic showdown! 4/10
leonblackwood3 January 2016
Review: Like the first movie, this complex storyline has enough elements to keep it interesting throughout and the gun action from Chow Yun-Fat was great. The showdown at the end was impressive and John Woo added some emotional scenes which will touch people who enjoyed the first movie. On the down side, there is a lack of action and it does look a bit dated but apart from that, it's an enjoyable ride. In this sequel Sung Tse-Ho (Ti Lung), is offered early parole to spy on his former boss, Lung Sei (Dean Shek) who is suspected of heading a counterfeiting money operation. When Ho finds out that his younger brother, Kit (Leslie Cheung) is working undercover on the same case, Ho agrees to go undercover so his brother can be with his pregnant wife. When Ho meets up with Kit, they agree to work together on the case. After a heated alteration with a crime boss, Lung is framed for his murder and he seeks help from Ho to escape to New York. While Lung is in hiding, he receives news about his daughters murder which makes him have a psychotic breakdown and eventually gets put into a mental institution. Ho then finds out that his old partner in crime, Mark Lee (Chow Yun-Fat), has a twin brother, Ken, who was a former gang member and decided to go legitimate by opening his own restaurant in New York. When Ho gets in touch with Ken, he asks for his help to nurse Lung back to good health. Ken is also being hunted down by American gangsters who want protection money for his restaurant, so he goes into hiding with Lung and tries to keep him safe from the assassins who want him dead in Hong Kong. After a massive shootout at there apartment, Lung gains his sanity when he sees Ken in trouble and he saves Ken's life by taking out the last of the hit men. They then go back to Hong Kong and link up with Ho and Kit to find out who is trying to murder Lung. He soon realises that his former employee, Ko Ying-Pui (Kwan Shan), has taken over the organisation and is responsible for his daughters death and the attempts on his life, so they put together a plan to take him out. Although Ho tells his brother, Kit, to be with his wife, he goes of on a mission to destroy Ko which goes completely wrong and takes his life. After Kit's funeral, Ho, Ken & Lung gather all the ammunition that they can, to kill Ko and his many henchmen. I'm glad that I watched these movies back to back because I didn't like the fact that they killed off Chow Yun-Fat in the first movie. His twin brother is exactly the same and has the same mannerisms as Mark, so I'm glad that they wrote him back in. Without him, the movie wouldn't have been anywhere as good as the first movie but as soon as his character is introduced, the film really does pick up. Both movies seem basically about Kit dragging his brother back into the criminal world, so I would like to see what happens in the third movie in this franchise, if I can get my hands on it. Anyway, I did enjoy this film because of the detailed storyline and Chow Yun-Fat's character but it did drag in parts. Watchable! 

Round-Up: Whilst making this movie, John Woo and producer Tsui Hark had constant disagreements about the focus of this film which led to them both editing the final cut. Tsui wanted the film to be based around Lung's character, who has the mental breakdown but Woo decided to focus on Ho. After making this film, John Woo decided not to make the 3rd instalment, which was finally made by Tsui Hark and was not in the same league as the previous movies in this franchise. John Woo went on to make the Killer with Chow Yun-Fat, which got rave reviews and became popular hit around the globe. That just shows you how unique John Woo's vision is.

I recommend this movie to people who are into their action/crime/drama's starring Chow Yun-Fat, Lung Ti, Leslie Cheung, Dean Shek and Shan Kwan. 4/10
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Bizarre, yet action-packed and entertaining
Vartiainen14 February 2016
Sung Tse-Ho (Ti Lung) has landed in prison after the events of the first film. He is offered an early parole if he rats on his mentor Lung Sei (Dean Shek), who is believed to have taken over the Hong Kong counterfeiting business. Initially Ho is reluctant to accept the offer, but once again he sets out to protect his younger brother Kit (Leslie Cheung), who has gone undercover in order to expose Lung.

A Better Tomorrow II is cut from the same cloth as the first film. It has scenes of deep drama seamlessly intermixing with brutal and prolonged action scenes, all the while the character tote guns, wear long coats and look damn cool smoking cigarettes and wearing sunglasses. But, whereas the original film could be taken somewhat seriously and was rather somber in tone, this film decides that it would rather be as bizarre as it possible can be. It's simply one weird, uncomfortable and odd scene after one another, but whereas that would ruin a lesser movie, here it kind of adds to the film's appeal. It's a weird film, but in a good way.

Though yes, it is somewhat off-putting that they casted Chow Yun-fat once again. The way they introduce his new character is perhaps one of the strangest "What am I watching?" moments I've seen in a long time, but again, once you get over the initial surprise, it's actually kind of fun.

And on the technical side of things, John Woo doesn't disappoint. The action scenes are once again splendid to watch, all the character are easily identifiable and given enough development to shine. The plot is a bit more convoluted this time around, but it's still easy enough to follow that you won't mind.

All in all, A Better Tomorrow II isn't quite as good as its predecessor, but it's still definitely worth a watch if you're fan of John Woo and liked the original.
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A Better Tomorrow has yet to arrive. Will it ever come?
Captain_Couth24 June 2004
A Better Tomorrow II (1987) was rushed into production after the success of the first film. Armed with a bigger budget, Cinema City forged ahead with this sequel. Following after the events of part one. Lung Ti is about to be released from prison when he's offered a job as an undercover agent. His mission is to find some criminal evidence to topple his former boss (Cinema City board member Dean Shek). A first he dismisses the gig until he realizes they're going to his eager younger brother (Leslie Cheung). Once Lung is out, he notices that everything is not quite as it seems.

An interesting film. This time Tsui Hark had more of a hand in the production. He included his friend Dean Shek into the movie and he employed his best action director (Ching Siu-Tung) to direct the over-the-top action scenes. John Woo wasn't pleased with this and he voiced his displeasure. The final rift came during the editing of the film. Tsui Hark wanted the movie to be under two hours so it could have more showings, John Woo wanted it to be an epic. Guess who one out? Say what you will about this film, the action scenes are pure Ching Siu-Tung. His wild action scenes made this movie. Mr. Tsui must have liked him a lot because he went on to choreograph the action scenes in The Killer (although he was credited with stunt coordinator the action scenes have all of his visual trademarks).

The budget was huge on this one. It was filmed in Hong Kong and in the United States. Tsui Hark had another one of his friends (Peter Wang) co-star in the movie as well (he plays the inner city priest Dean Shek meets in N.Y.C.). Despite the friction caused by the behind the scenes squabbling, A Better Tomorrow II is a magnificent exercise in the ultra-violence. Awesome!

Highly recommended.

The last film in the trilogy is the epic A Better Tomorrow III: Love and death in Saigon.
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bloody fun
mjneu597 November 2010
Viewers familiar with the Hong Kong box office champ might think a follow up would be redundant, but here's one sequel which, while almost identical to its predecessor, actually improves on it in every department. The new film follows the usual Hong Kong movie-making method of imitating and exaggerating Hollywood's most obvious formulas, and the result is a gangster thriller mashing every underworld cliché into one silly, blood-soaked melodrama. The original cast is back, including superstar Chow Yun Fat as the twin brother of one popular character killed in the earlier film, and the bigger budget means better production values, with a few scenes photographed on location in NYC. Also like the original Part II glorifies every code in the lexicon of machismo, and with (believe it or not) even more outrageous bloodletting: the body count in the Peckinpah-plus finale is astronomical. But the violence is exaggerated beyond comic book proportions, with no message to get in the way of the often exhilarating, purely escapist entertainment. Look for actor/director Peter Wang ('A Great Wall'), who makes a brief cameo appearance before (of course) being gunned down in cold blood.
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Not as solid as the 1st, but still better than most of the A Better Tomorrow clones that followed
dworldeater24 March 2019
A Better Tomorrow 2 is an action packed sequel to the 1st film that shattered box office records in Hong Kong and turned Chow Yun Fat into an instant superstar. However, the brilliant creative minds(writer/director John Woo and writer/producer Tsui Hark) were at odds with one another and could not agree where to go. This resulted in Woo ending his partnership with Tsui Hark and 2 prequels(A Better Tomorrow 3 by Hark and A Bullet In The Head by Woo). While A Better Tomorrow 2 is filled with as many plot holes as well as bullet holes, it did not have me not enjoy the film. This sequel has more humor and comes off a little aloof or silly at times, but performances from the 3 brothers are solid and the film is grounded by Ti Lung's performance . What action fans will love is there is a lot more of that here. Especially, the ending battle sequence, which is a bloodbath of John Woo's slo mo dual fisted gunplay that results in absolute carnage with blood to paint the walls and dead bodies hitting the floor. Like a western, this builds to its bloody climax and performances are still good enough for audiences to care about the characters for this to work. I personally enjoy this film, but John Woo/ Chow Yun Fat collaborations will continue, with the best to come with untouchable classics like Hard Boiled and The Killer.
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Better than the original!(minor spoilers)
gangstahippie7 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Better Tomorrow II is the 1987 sequel to Better Tomorrow.It again is directed by John Woo and stars Chow Yun Fat.It's fairly interesting how they bring him back after the events of the first movie.I like this one more than the first one.While the first one had more drama and plot, this one has more awesome action scenes, as well as a good amount of drama and plot.The film is about people who kidnap a man's daughter and it is now up to him and another team of people to get her back.The action scenes in this one are great! Definitely worth watching for any action fan! I don't even think you need to see the original to watch this one.
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fun ultra-violence - but not the Wild Bunch
winner5527 June 2006
This film broke off a potentially very creative relationship between Tsui hark and John Woo; and it certainly feels like more than one film Certainly, until Chow Yun Fat shows up, the plot is a little complicated, and a little unbelievable. Once Chow appears, the plot becomes wildly unbelievable, but one can follow it with amusement and interest. Ti lung must also be credited with turning in a strong and well-grounded performance, even when the script calls for him to get schmaltzy.

This is also the film that salvaged character actor dean Shek from obscurity, he wanted to prove he could act, and though he over acts occasionally, he actually does pretty well, especially in the final gun battle.

It must be said that throughout his career, John Woo has repeatedly attempted to grasp the essence of the 'battle of bloody porch' from Sam Peckinpah's "the Wild Bunch" and duplicate it - and he has always failed. that's because (to be honest) Woo is a believing Christian; and although raised in the Calvinist tradition, Peckinpah clearly does not believe. Woo simply cannot grasp the basics of Peckinpah's existentialism.

Consequently, the final battle here, while a lot of gory fun, doesn't really make the point Woo clearly wants for it (which is a believing Christian's interpretation of the Wild Bunch), but - never mind. On its own terms, as I say, it's quite fun.

As for the 'serious' story concerning the young undercover cop and his pregnant wife, I didn't believe it for a moment, and, frankly, didn't care. I'm afraid I'm not a believing Christian, either.
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A John Woo masterpiece
chrichtonsworld31 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Yes,this movie is a masterpiece! It has all of the trademarks John Woo is known for. And very important it has Chow Yan fat. He is back as "Mark's brother Ken". Maybe a bit to convenient,but who cares. Chow Yan fat is extra cool in this movie. Is that possible? Yes, it is! Nice detail is the scene where "Ken" receives "Mark's coat with the bullet holes (in which he got shot at the end of Better tomorrow 1)". He uses these holes to put in grenades and guns. There is more melodrama which in this case intensifies the action sequences. The shootouts are bigger and better than the first movie. *Spoiler* Every main (male) character dies at the end. Heroic Bloodshed to the maximum. If you look closely to most of the scenes you will see where Quentin Tarantino got his ideas from (for example men in black suits with guns). Also a sequence from "a better tomorrow 2" is used in "True Romance" for which Quentin Tarantino wrote the screenplay. This movie is the best of the series and without a doubt the third best movie John Woo has made. With "the Killer" being the second best and "Hard Boiled" being his best all time! I honestly cannot understand why people are bashing this movie. For the record,anybody who watches a John Woo movie for a story,dialog or something else meaningful needs his or her head examined. John Woo is about action and style. And on this front he delivers.
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Best of the series - but that still isn't saying much.
oneguyrambling14 November 2010
Still directed by John Woo, still with the same cast as the first, only different.

To recap: Ho is a former criminal gone straight at the request of his late father. Kit is his little brother, a policeman, now undercover.

Mark, played by Chow Yun Fat, is now dead, but Chow Yun Fat was famous by this time so he returns in daytime soap style as Mark's twin brother Ken.

Lung, the guy who previously sold Ho out and cost him a prison sentence, now runs the crime gang that he was a member of. Right. So Kit is now undercover trying to bust Lung, who wants to go straight for the sake of his daughter. Kit tries to crack onto the daughter in the hope that it will give him access to Lung, only Kit is married with a pregnant wife, and he doesn't tell her his plan.

Ho is in jail, only he is released on the proviso that he also go undercover to uncover dirt on Lung so he can be busted, which he only does once he realizes Kit is in danger.

Still with me? It only gets more convoluted and unnecessary from here.

So Lung is inadvertently involved in a murder so he flees from Hong Kong to the US. His former 2IC Ko takes the reins of the crime gang and decides that with Lung dead he has free reign, so he sends assassins to the US to bump off Lung and kills his daughter in Hong Kong for good measure.

And this goes on for another hour! Needless to say A Better Tomorrow 2 is long-winded, melodramatic and altogether too confusing, yet it is a better film than one thanks to John Woo hitting his straps in directing action sequences.

It turns out that Ken (Chow Yun Fat) gets involved with Lung in the US (where he proves that he shouldn't have tried to speak English on film, at least at that time). When the bad guys destroy Ken's restaurant he decides to take Lung back to Hong Kong, where they team up with Kit and Ho to take down Ko.

(Why are they suddenly buddies? After all Kit hated Ho in the first film, Lung sold out Ho and caused him to go to jail, and Ken has just arrived on the scene? So they can have a big Woo-ey shoot out at the end of the film. That's why! The fight scenes are far better than the first film, the same amount of bad guys get killed but in a more aesthetically pleasing manner. Woo has been described as directing operatic violence and this looks like one of the early incantations of that.

Final Rating - 6 / 10. Too long and way too complicated. But it is an action flick, and the action scenes are better than Better 1, so I give this the edge.

If you liked this review (or even if you didn't) check out oneguyrambling.com
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Disappointing, but with an excellent ending at least
Jeremy_Urquhart8 September 2020
What a mess, and what a disappointment by Woo's standards. The plot does this weird thing where it's super simple, yet kind of hard to follow because of the lack of flow, and the pretty bad pacing. It goes on for at least 40 minutes without any action, and when the action arrives... it's not quite as good as the first A Better Tomorrow (with the exception of the ending). Also: really didn't like the character of Lung, for some reason.

Probably didn't do the movie any favours that I recently watched Hard Boiled, which is one of Woo's best (action-wise, I think it is his best). And then I committed a bit of a movie viewer sin by pausing the movie halfway through to read reviews... I wanted to know if the rest of the movie was worth my time tbh.

I guess it was in the end. Chow Yun-Fat slid down a staircase while firing guns. I found out where that gif of the guy leaning through the doorway and giving a thumbs up came from. And then the last 20 minutes are good enough to feel like a completely different movie. A solid emotional payoff and a fantastic climactic action scene (that might well have influenced Kill Bill Vol. 1's big fight scene as well as Django Unchained's big shootout scene... and maybe Pineapple Express' ending too lol) that partially redeems the movie.

If the whole movie had felt like the last 20 minutes, this could be another John Woo classic. As it stands, it still sort of disappoints, even if just for the reason that most top-tier John Woo movies contain more than one big/memorable action setpiece.
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The best one of the two an adrenaline action John Woo's HK Classic sequel flick!
ivo-cobra89 March 2016
Disclaimer: If you are a viewer that mainly prefers art-house-type movies, then you might as well ignore this review. In addition, if you're not able to take a John Woo's best adrenaline HK classic action sequel flick , ignore this review, as well. We'll both be better off.

A Better Tomorrow II (1987) is an adrenaline action sequel flick the best one of the two from John Woo. I know that the first one is an action classic for many of the people and they always going for the first one, but my favorite flick is this sequel. I know that The Godfather (1972) is my favorite film in the series but from John Woo's A Better Tomorrow is actually A Better Tomorrow II my favorite John Woo film. I love this movie to death, the acting is wonderful, believable and very realistic and Chow Yun-Fat which is my favorite actor gives one of his best convincing performances I have ever seen as Mark Gor's twin brother Ken. Not only he but everyone of the cast gives a wonderful performances on a screen which I love it.

Plot: 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.

What I love about this movie is: Chow Yun-Fat does not die in this movie he acted wonderful his different character Ken. Ti Lung and Leslie Cheung are back as the brothers from the first film which I am not sure but I have saw a lot of actors from The Killer in this movie. This movie was also filmed in New York which you can see Twin Towers from the distance before it was destroyed in 9/11 terrorist attack. John Woo made one of his best action debut and making a perfect shots with the camera of this film. I admitted I am not a the biggest fan of the first and the third movie but this one surprised me which I loved it. In my opinion this film is better than the original. Ti Lung and Leslie Cheung's characters Ho and Kit are actually more well written than they were in the first. I hated it how Kit was treating his older brother beating him in the rain, treating him like a peace of garbage I hated that. In this film we see Kit's love and compassion toward his older brother Lung. Both of their characters were well written.

This film is about a counterfeit dollars that are produced in the business and a new boss from Ho took over Lung Sei's business while framing Lung for a triad gang member's boss murder which he did not committed in which Lung had to flee to America New York, but his daughter was killed. The plot is about a revenge: Lung Sei (Dean Shek), Ho (Ti Lung) and Ken (Chow Yun-fat) are taking revenge against new triad boss Ko Ying-pui (Kwan Shan) and his group of army killers. Lung Sei want's revenge for the murder of his daughter Peggy (Regina Kent), Ho want's revenge for Kit's (Leslie Cheung) murder and Ken want's revenge for his restaurant in New York that has been destroyed. That is the film about. It has a lot of action and kick ass scenes and it also has a human emotional portrayal from the actors.

I love the action sequences in New York from Ken (Chow Yun-Fat) in the hotel a group of assassins comes to kill Ken and Lung Sei (Dean Shek) Which Ken (Chow Yun-Fat) uses shotgun Franchi SPAS-12 and kills several mafia gangsters in the hotel New York. He fires several rounds with two Berettas 92F on a gangsters than flees while he fires another round with another gun on an assassins car. The final showdown and the last stand off with two Berettas between Ken (Chow Yun-Fat) and Chong (Lung Ming-yan) the firing scene was outstanding performed I have ever seen. John Woo tried that scene in Hard Boiled but he didn't want to copied his own work so he change it. Ti Lung uses a samurai sword and he kills bunch of gangsters. The trio of friends uses a lot of guns and grandees while killing a bunch of gangsters. The final showdown for me was spectacular.

Overall: This flick get's a perfect 10 by me. Chow Yun-Fat and Leslie Cheung's screen time was beautiful shot, well written and acted perfectly. Theme score from the first movie was also beautiful, the action scenes where incredible. They don't make action movies like this one today. This flick is far way better than John Woo's Once A Thief. With Hard Target, Broken Arrow, Hard Boiled, Paycheck and The Killer would be a Better Tomorrow II my sixth John Woo favorite film that I love to death.

A Better Tomorrow 2 is a 1987 Hong Kong action film written and directed by John Woo. A follow-up to its popular predecessor, A Better Tomorrow, the film stars returning cast members Chow Yun-fat, Ti Lung and Leslie Cheung alongside new cast member Dean Shek. The film was released in Hong Kong on 17 December 1987.

10/10 Grade: Bad Ass Seal Of Approval Studio: Cinema City Film Workshop Distributed by Golden Princess Film Production Starring: Dean Shek, Chow Yun-fat, Ti Lung, Leslie Cheung, Emily Chu, Kwan Shan, Kenneth Tsang, Shing Fui-On, Lam Chung, Ng Man-tat, Peter Wang, Lung Ming-yan, Louis Roth, Regina Kent Director: John Woo Producer: Tsui Hark Screenplay: John Woo, Tsui Hark Rated: R Running Time: 1 Hr. 45 Mins. Box Office: HKD 22.700 (Hong Kong)
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Cheez Wiz
Angry_Arguer28 August 2003
There are only two John Woo movies really worth watching: The Killer and Face/Off because they deliver his unusually heavy moods without being too cornball in the plot or acting departments. Hard-Boiled suffers from gross excess while Bullet in the Head goes too far in its atmosphere (both are ok, but not as great). The Better Tomorrow series, while being a cornerstone in Woo's career, really isn't any better. Most of it is actually worse. The only saving grace, of course, is Chow Yun-Fat.

A Better Tomorrow 2 suffers from both repeating the story of the original and trying to top the climatic gunfight. After about an hour's worth of boring the audience with some of the worst exposition and crime boss acting I've ever seen, Woo tries making up for it with the camera and the blank-loaded machine gun. The music is bad (fans of The Killer should notice some similar themes) and the dubbing is worse for english viewers, not that the dialog was particularly inspired to start with. Nonetheless, Woo proves here that he is at least two steps ahead of anything good that Michael Bay could produce. Between this and Bad Boys II, I'll take this and die just as unhappy.

Overall, don't see this. It's not worth your time for Woo, Yun-Fat, action, Hong Kong, or gun fans. Chow's character trademarks make this better than regular crap. 1.5 out of 5 stars.
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Action galore in this HK classic!
Movie-Misfit30 June 2014
The incredible Chow Yun Fat and Ti Lung return in this epic sequel to the classic trend setter that took the world by storm!

ABT2 takes the action scenes up a notch (or ten) and delivers the biggest body count of its time along with some of the greatest scenes of gun play from the works of John Woo, Ching Sui Tung and Tsui Hark.

Featuring a host of well known faces from HK's golden age, A Better Tomorrow 2 is simply an action epic and beats its predecessor for action in what it lacks in drama!

With a host of on-set trouble and production nightmares, the film still manages to come off near perfect and shames any US action flick that was kicking about around the same time.

See it!
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One Of My Favourites, And Another Of Hong Kong's Finest!!
Movie-Misfit27 December 2019
Emotionally and action packed, John Woo's hyper-violent sequel still hails today as one of the finest Hong Kong films ever made!

The gang return - along with that incredible score - with jailbird Ti Lung now being forced into working undercover for the police. His brother Kit (Cheung) is now a mature police officer who also happens to be working undercover on the same case. That case just happens to involve Uncle Sei (played with conviction by Dean Shek) who is double crossed by a Triad boss and made to think he's killed multiple people at a family party. Uncle Sei heads to New York to hide and clear his name but is quickly tracked down and attacked - leading to more deaths that send him insane.

Even the great Kenneth Tsang returns as the taxi depot boss who lends a helping hand to ex-cons and friends in need...

Enter Chow Yun Fat - playing his twin brother Ken (to part one's Mark) - a New York based hard-ass that runs a restaurant and takes no crap. You'll get that when Louis Roth (Drunken Master 2) complains about his fried rice and tries to hustle him for protection money. Still one of my favourite scenes from any Hong Kong film!

Chow gets word that Uncle Sei is locked in the local madhouse and still under threat, so sets out to rescue him - then all hell breaks lose. While under his protection, and with Uncle Sei having totally lost the plot, Chow Yun Fat channels his inner assassin to keep him alive at all costs, resulting in some amazing gun play and action sequences.

Personally, I also find that Ken proves to be a much better marksman and cooler character than his brother Mark was, so if you enjoyed Chow's performance in part one - then you'll love this...

Once back in Hong Kong, the crap really hits the fan! This time, the action comes courtesy of Tony Ching Siu Tung who graces the screen with some fantastic action pieces and a massive body count. Of course, this is all under the watchful eye of John Woo who once again, has delivered one of the best films to ever come out of Hong Kong!

As with part one, A Better Tomorrow 2 is well worth a place in any fan's collection and a movie that still entertains as much today as it did on release...

Overall: A powerful and emotional, action-packed classic that never tires!
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Terrific but Could Have Been Better
eibon094 September 2001
Yinghung Bunsik 2/A Better Tomorrow 2(1987) is an almost great feature film with some minor and major flaws. One minor flaw is the sloppy editing which is probably due to the fact that the film was cut by more than 20 minutes. Another minor flaw is Chow Yun Fat's dubbed English in the Restaurant sequence. A major flaw is the film never expands or is interested in the reconciled relationship of the Sung brothers. Also, the pic fails to fully develop the younger brothers relationship of Kit and Ken Gor.

Before A Better Tomorrow 2(1987), John Woo and Tsui Hark were good friends but after became bitter rivals. A friction developed between director and producer over the appoarch the film should take. John Woo wanted to do a sequel to his groundbreaking hit that was character driven with action as a supplement. Tsui Hark wanted a wall to wall action thriller that focused mainly on the action. Because of this friction the story took a confusing turn during its making.

One of three heavily cut John Woo films that includes Bullet in the Head(1990) and Hard Target(1993). Because the film was heavily cut and maligned the story has moments that make no sense. I bet the original cut made more sense than the 104 minute cut. A Better Tomorrow 2(1987) might have been a masterpiece if the censors left it as it was. Still A Better Tomorrow 2(1987) is one of the five top films by John Woo since 1986.

John Woo wanted the sequel to actually be a prequel in his original concept. The story was to take place in Vietnam where Ho Tse Sung and Mark Gor met and became lifelong friends. In the original story written by Woo the plot dealt with the struggles Ho and Mark had to endure in Vietnam. For some inexcusable reason Tsui Hark rejected Woo's original idea and forced on him the Lung plot. Many of the film's original concepts and ideas would turn up in John Woo's greatest film, Bullet in the Head(1990).

The shootout in the hotel between Ken Gor and New York gangsters is a key highlight and a nice reference to Taxi Driver(1976). Chow Yun Fat excells in this scene as he blasts away with his heavy arsenal. Favorite moment comes when Chow Yun Fat slides on his back down some stairs while with a gun in each hand blowing away one of the New York gangsters. The director would do a varation on this perticular moment in the teahouse gun battle of Hard-Boiled(1992). Chow Yun Fat dishes out an emotional intensity that adds to the high octane action.

The original cut of A Better Tomorrow 2(1987) is said to be around 130 minutes in duration. The film was cut because theater owners thought the film to be too long. If there is anyone out there who has ever seen the original cut than I would like to know about the scenes that were cut. It would be great if a print of the original cut for ABT2 would resurface somewhere either on DVD or the cinema. If found the original cut maybe would elevate it to masterpiece status.

A beautiful and sad moment comes with a baby being born and a man dying at the same time. There are some excellent intercutting going on with the editing of this moment. The intercutting gives the scene anticipation and suspense on what will happen next. A poignant moment which John Woo pulls off with succes. I wonder if John Woo ever saw Keoma(1976) because there is a similar scene in that Western.

The clincher that gives Yinghung Bunsik 2(1987) its near great status is the high body count bloodbath in the final fifteen minutes. Really the first high body count in a John Woo picture as the action in the first film was self contained. Another film of 1987 that had a high body count gunbattle was Tragic Hero. John Woo lets his imagination run wild with the hyperactive and surreal feel of the action sequence. The carnage is shot in the style of Corbucci, Leone, Lone Wolf & Cub comics, and Peckinpah.

Two scenes represent the main highlight of a marvelous action scene. The use of the samurai sword by Ho Tse Sung on his mentor's enemies is a fine action moment with style to burn. Remindful of the samurai pics of Akira Kurosawa and the Lone Wolf and Cub series. Another great moment is the Leoneesque duel between Ken Gor and Chong as they prepare to trade bullets. In the film's advantage these two moments come back to back.

The line used by Lung near the end towards a dead Ko is a classic. Explores the idea of an undercover cop in a triad world with some depth but not fully like in Hard-Boiled(1992). The scene in the resturant blends the humorous with the tense. Yinghung Bunski 2/A Better Tomorrow 2(1987) has some actors that appeared in Brandon Lee's only Hong Kong feature Legacy of Rage(1986). The stories of A Better Tomorrow 2(1987) and Tragic Hero(1987) are closely similar in many ways.
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