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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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A Far From Perfect But Satisfying Conclusion To The Original
MovieMaster957 October 2010
After the movie 'A Better Tomorrow' became a big success around Hong Kong, a sequel was inevitable to happen. Most of the original cast return, including Chow Yun-Fat as Mark Lee's twin brother Ken.

Taking place a few years after the events of the first film, we see how things are finally starting to look up. Ho is in prison but he's finally re concealed his relationship with his brother Kit, who has become a loving husband and soon to be father. But like the first film, things get bad real quick. Ho's former master Lung has been framed for murder and even loses his mind as his life gets worse. He's sent over to New York to keep a low profile and to be looked after by Ken who owns a restaurant and lives there. Meanwhile Ho and Kit are working together to end the triad gangs.

This is where the problem starts. The first film revolved around Ho and the people around him, but this film spends way too much time with Ken trying to get Lung back to normal. Ho and Kit's plot seems to delve deeper into the main story ark, yet they never seem to get enough scenes. Ken is pretty much similar to Mark although he may be a little darker and you can tell he's only in the film because of Chow Yun-Fat's character was so popular in the last film.

The film doesn't seem to make a huge continuation onto the first film either. Instead of being it's own story, it seems to just be an expansion of the first film, but not in a good way. We don't delve too much into the characters and they seem underused. The film is also known for having a sillier feel in a few scenes(Famous Rice Scene), but it didn't ruin the experience for me. These flaws are apparently due to disagreement between John Woo and producer/second writer Tsui Hark about the tone of the film, causing Woo to disown most of the film, except the end shootout. John Woo's original cut was around 3 hours and is rumoured to improve on some of the flawed moments. A version I hope will appear in some future release of the film.

Now for the goods. The film seems to get noticeable better during the second half, beginning with the amazing hotel shootout. The film is well known for it's exaggerated violence and blood and the film doesn't disappoint. The action is a big step up from the first and some of the best ever filmed for its time. Chow Yun-Fat is once again cooler than ice, with his trademark sunglasses, trench coat, matchstick and dual pistols and may be one of the main appeals of the film. The Climatic assault on the triad mansion is one of the greatest shootouts and one of the greatest ending ever filmed. It's no wonder that it's the only thing Woo likes about the film. The amazing soundtrack returns and their are a few emotional scenes that actually work well.

With many iconic scenes (The stairs scene being one), the film is a lot better than it gets credit for. The film is no masterpiece and doesn't compare to the first but it has its moments. Silly and flawed moments aside the film is actually quite enjoyable and as long as you keep an open mind, I think you'll enjoy this conclusion to the Better Tomorrow saga. Part 3 doesn't count!
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For fans of John Woo or the Hong Kong action thriller
wandering-star2 July 2007
Chow Yun-Fat is back, teaming up the cop "Kit" and ex-con "Ho" to deal some serious whup-ass on a gang of thugs, for killing their friend's daughter.

This one's not John Woo's best but it's still great in the genre of HK cop movies. The first half is not as good as the second, with some plot holes and kind of weird scenes establishing the state of mind of their friend (whose daughter was killed). Not to give anything away but - you will see what I mean.

Better Tomorrow II proves that nobody looks cooler wielding a 12-gauge shotgun than Chow Yun-Fat (ok, maybe Schwarzeneggar in T2).

The final gun battle at Ko's mansion is phenomenal - it gives Scarface a run for its money in terms of body count and ropes of blood splashing on walls. I love Woo's explosive style of close gun battles and over-the-top carnage. I mean, is it really necessary, once pumping 2 lethal rounds into the bad guy's chest thus assuring his death, to empty the clips from both handguns into him as he is staggering back? Better Tomorrow II states emphatically - YES!
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Like a Psychotic trip
Azzy19 May 1999
I have seen true ultra-violence in films many times in my life, but the last 10 minutes of this movie surpasses anything I have ever seen or imagined. men are mowed down by the hundreds, blood splattering every which way in frighteningly large volumes. it exceeds even the hospital shootout in Hard Boiled, which took four times as long. It is also more inventive than most of John Woo's gunfights (I am NOT critisizing his other works!!!). The heroes use grenades and swords. Two parts stand out from this amazing carnage. The first is Ti lung's smash up with shing fu on. swords and axes, guts and glass, everything goes flying. The second is the duel between Chow Yun-Fat and Chong, The silent mafioso killer. Their Gun trade is a classic. The rest of the movie is pretty cool, including a gunfight in a Brooklyn hotel, Ala Taxi Driver, and a scene where Chow Yun-Fat makes fun of the fetishized Better Tomorrow dress.
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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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The final showdown steals the movie
maxyg1829 July 2006
This sequel to the 1986 predecessor is fantastic. Although Woo wasn't too happy about making a sequel and he didn't really care much about the film whilst making it, I think it totally worked and I think it's a lot better than the original. This time, the twin brother of Mark, (a character played by Chow Yun-Fat from the first A BETTER TOMORROW) Ken (Chow Yun Fat), must team up with undercover cop, Kit (Leslie Cheung), and his brother Ho (Ti Lung) and a good friend named Lung (Dean Shek) to avenge the death of Lung's daughter who was murdered by a Triads. Like the first film, it's got a hard storyline to follow, however, it has some fine acting that makes you care for the characters and it has some awesome action scenes (most notably, the final shootout). But if you liked the first A BETTER TOMORROW, then you'll enjoy this one even more.
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Misses the Mark, in too many ways
mjscarface16 March 2008
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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The classic of hero movie
madbird-612437 April 2019
The classic of hero movie. A big hit worldwhile. Terrific soundtrack. Never would it be surpassed.
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Too many deaths, too much violence, too destructive... How I love this film.
the_saint_10719 August 2002
In the first film John Woo, set the standard for action choreography. In the second one John Woo went past it like a speeding bullet. It takes a while to get going, but when it gets going it gets going in a big coat with a pair of berettas. The action is relentless. I loved the scene when Kit appears round the corner shoots everyone in sight, jumps onto a passing boat and delivers the briefcase to it's owner, and there was the scene when Ken is looking after Lung and they have a big shootout/car chase through New York. Although neither of those are as good as the scene when Ken manages to get hold of two beretta m92f automatics, a revolver and a spas 12 shotgun and goes on rampage through the hotel. Mowing down gangsters in a flurry of shots. (If you look closely Chow Yun Fat didn't use a stunt double for when he flips round on the stairs and slides down them headfirst, on his back with two guns. Not many Hollywood action stars could do that.) However all these action scenes seem like nothing when they are held up against the mighty finale, when dressed slickly in black suits, the heroes take up their weapons and storm through the villain's mansion. Bodies fly, blood spurting from their wounds, smoke and rubble fill the close quarter corridors as bullets rip everything to shreds. The walls were literally dripping with blood, and the sequence when Ho, (played by kung fu legend Ti Lung) catches a blo*dy great sword and cuts everyone in sight to pieces. The modern day "duel" between Ken and Chong, when they both remove their darkglasses to allow their worthy opponents a look at each other's eyes.It is a sign of honourable respect between the two gunmen. It is very different to the first and third in the series,not quite as good a film as the first and completely different to the third. However the action in this beats the two other films, making it alot easier to watch.
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Incredible sequel to Woo's action classic
Bogey Man20 July 2002
John Woo directed and wrote this sequel, Better Tomorrow 2 (1987), to his heroic bloodshed action smash hit Better Tomorrow, which he had made year earlier in 1986. The story begins where the first film left as Ho (Ti Lung) is in prison after the gun battle in which he and his brother Kit (Leslie Cheung) and Mark Lee (Chow Yun Fat) met their destiny at the end of the first film. Ho gets an opportunity to free himself from prison by helping police in finding a powerful crime lord and trapping him. Kit is police again and works in the same underground operation as Ho. This all leads to series of betrayal, death and fighting back as Mark's twin brother Ken (Chow) arrives from New Your to Hong Kong to help his friends in this heroic fight that will end in one of the most over-the-top gun battles ever committed on celluloid.

This film is more fierce than first Better Tomorrow, but not as fierce and merciless as Woo's most personal masterpiece, Bullet in the Head. Tomorrow 2 tells the same things about friendship and honor that the first film also told. In Woo's world, violence is always there and it is among the few ways his characters are able to communicate. Bullets are angry and when they hit, the result is always sad and irrevocable. Woo never accepts violence or justifies it, he just uses it in his films which are there to be interpreted and analyzed. His characters can be "good" and bad at the same time and he studies these elements in human psyche thru his films. He definitely doesn't praise violence as he has also said in interviews that he hates violence, and that's exactly why he depicts it so powerfully and also disturbingly in his films. He depicts violence in a way it is hard to neglect unlike most of the mainstream action films produced in Hollywood. When a man grabs a gun in order to use it at some other human being, he takes the full responsibility for his actions and this is once again, very sadly, shown in Better Tomorrow 2.

Better Tomorrow 2 is not as visually stunning as the first film, which ends in brilliant night time scene at the harbor where smoke and blue are as alive as the characters in that sad finale. Even greater use of color and smoke is in Ringo Lam's City on Fire as the end of the film with all its bullet holes and menacing atmosphere is among the most memorable segments in Hong Kong action cinema history. Woo uses his camera in Tomorrow 2 again very professionally, but the film doesn't look exactly as great as first Tomorrow film.

The final gun battle deserves also to be mentioned, since it is so incredible. The film was action choreographed by another Hong Kong master, Ching Siu Tung, who has been a choreographer in many Asian classics and has also directed films like Duel to the Death, Witch From Nepal, and more notably A Chinese Ghost Story trilogy and Swordsman films. The martial arts action and choreography in his films is totally stunning and also unique, and this really can be seen in Better Tomorrow 2 and especially in its finale, a gun battle so over the top it is almost cartoonish, but still never comic or laugh indulging at all. It is the most fierce segment of bullet spitting, blood spraying gun mayhem I have witnessed in any film, and I think the films which manage to come near this scene's power, come also from some Orient country, probably from Hong Kong since these film makers have their style in using camera and edits and it seems to have no comparison with films from other countries.

Better Tomorrow 2 is great piece of action mayhem cinema, with heart too, but this is not its director's masterpiece, which is in my opinion Bullet in the Head, a film which the director himself prefers, too. Better Tomorrow gets 9/10 from me and since it is not as deep and philosophical as possible, I really want to appreciate its cinematic styles and interesting themes and messages of film maker John Woo.
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Still better than Woo´s Hollywood standard!
DJ Inferno7 April 2002
Even though "A Better Tomorrow II" is a pretty good sequel to its great predecessor, it is no masterpiece like "The Killer", but still much better than Woo´s awful Hollywood-garbage "MI:2"!!! Once more Chow Yun Fat´s giving an over the top performance, the gunfights are well choreographed and the score of Joseph Koo and Lowell Lo are real adrenalizers! This film doesn´t deserve the predicate "cult movie" and it will never reach the status of it, but nevertheless it´s a fine Hong Kong-actioner that lovers of Asian cinema should check out!
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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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Unbelievable plot saved by the greatest action finale ever filmed
MiB-615 September 1998
"A Better Tomorrow II", sequel to Hong Kong's most successful film of alltime, follows the continuing struggles of Ho, the ex-con, and his cop brother Kit, the good-guy who can never succeed because of his brother's reputation. Their teaming with Ken Gor -twin brother of deceased Mark- is really entertaining if you're a fan of the original. The action scenes when Ken protects his grieving uncle Lung from vengeful, gun-holding gangsters is reminiscent of the scenes in "Terminator 2", but then again, this movie was released before that one. The 20-minute scene at the end is really edge -of-your-seat stuff, with Mark, Ho, Lung and Ho's partner all using swords, axes, guns, fists and knives to kill hundreds of angry mobsters after they killed two of their friends. This is more of a fun moneymaker, using the first film's success to keep the careers of superstars Chow Yun Fat and John Woo going. Not an instant classic like Tomorrow 1 or The Killer, but worth taking a look at for people who've seen the first or enjoy watching Woo/Chow films.
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Better moments make a better sequel
Robin-9717 November 1999
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.
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The movie Woo didn't want to shoot !
Phroggy26 April 1999
Okay, my favourite Woo movie remains "A bullet in the head", but though John Woo never wanted to shoot a sequel to his ground-breaking movie, this weird, humorous little gem remains to be seen as a parody of the first one. The famous "Rice" scene shows where Tarantino got his trademark's strange dialogues, along with the black-suit-white-ties from "Reservoir Dog" (And he'll be the first one to admit it !) This mix of action and parody looks weird when you expect a straight sequel to the first one, but give it a second try - then check out the third part by Tsui Hark and the other John Woo's movies (except "Broken
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Billygoat23 September 2004
Being a big fan of John Woo's kinetically charged Hong Kong action films, including the first "A Better Tomorrow", this one came as a huge disappointment. In fact, I could barely watch it.

I won't mention Woo's American films, because those are really studio controlled productions and not what I would consider 'true Woo'. (No, I don't like them at all.)

But his Hong Kong films really were the works of the auteur. One had a sense that a significant amount of forethought went into planning many of the shots and fantastic action sequences. There was always a sense, after viewing movies such as "The Killer", "Hardboiled", "Bullet in the Head", etc. that one had just seen an original and creative take on a not so original genre. The slow motion shooting (a touch of Peckinpah) mixed in with fast and furious movement and close quarter gun battles was both stylish and exhilarating in these works.

"A Better Tomorrow II" may be at best adequate for a run of the mill Hong Kong action flick. For a film with John Woo's name on it, it's a big letdown. The action scenes seem rushed and are simply uninspired. The shootout in Ken's New York hotel was generic and boring. Chow Yun Fat's backslide down the stairs while shooting at a bad guy seemed like a bad photocopy of vintage Woo. Maybe it was the bad lighting, I don't know...it just didn't seem to work.

And while these films always indulge in overblown melodrama, often with humour, some of the scenes in ABT II were just painful to watch. Uncle Lung's breakdown in New York City was so overblown and ridiculous that one had the sense of watching a high school play.

What makes this film even more frustrating is that there were small moments of true acting, indicating an unrealized potential. When Uncle Lung (Dean Shek) is at his daughter's grave, he looks up at his friends and for a couple of seconds his face reveals a true, unspoken sadness. It was a flash of brilliance in an otherwise plethora of forgettable performances.

Another big problem with this production is a series of unexplained events and situations. One of the most obvious occurs after Kit has been shot by his big brother. We see his wife and brother at the hospital. A doctor comes out to talk to them. We don't hear what is said, but we see Kit's wife and brother break down and cry. One assumes that Kit has died. But later, without any explanation whatsoever, Kit appears ready for action.

Another oddity is Kit's wife suddenly going into labour at the hospital, without any previous indication whatsoever that she was ever pregnant in the first place.

All of these factors result in a poor work from someone who normally creates masterpieces (USA productions excepted). One has the sense that he allowed the studio to rush him, and as a result, we get this piece of wet cardboard.

This film is only for true WOO fanatics who simply "must" see all of his films.
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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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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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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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Another John Woo masterpiece
Tequila-1816 November 1999
This is the best of the Better Tomorrow series. John Woo manages to meld a strong male bonding drama with unbelievable action sequences. Leslie Cheung, Chow Yun-Fat, and Ti Lung work magic together. The climax is one of the best action sequences ever filmed. The is must viewing for any action film lover.
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Wow This Movie has one of the greatest and stylish Action Scenes I ever seen !
BloodyPredator210 December 2020
Honestly, This is a Masterpiece from John Woo , although the Sequel from A Better Tomorrow has his fans, I think this Sequel is underappreciated. The Action Scenes are outstanding, The Shootout in the Hotel and the Showdown are both one of the greatest Action Sequences I've seen in a Movie. So much style, Emotions and Bullets. Personally I like this sequel more than the first one. I've heard Tarantino is a Big Fan of this Movie , I can see why. I Hope Chow Yun Fat and John Woo make a comeback and made another Heroic Bloodshed Movie similar to The Killer ; Hard Boiled and A Better Tomorrow 1-2, I miss both of them !
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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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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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Different from the original
roddick-18 January 2006
Having seen A Better Tomorrow 1 and thoroughly enjoying it, I was eager to see it's sequel. Even though not all reviews I had read of it were positive, I still thought I should give it a go. I found out that A Better Tomorrow II is quite different from it's predecessor.

Probably the thing that stands out as the most different is the style it has been filmed in. More advanced camera angles etc. plus the picture quality is better.

That may be an improvement, but most of the other changes are not so good. For starters, there a lot changes to do with the characters. Lung Ti's character "Ho", who was definitely the main character in the last film, is turned into a secondary character this time round, but he still does a good job acting. Lung Ti's top spot is taken by Dean Shek, who plays an old friend of Ho's. While good at times, I don't think he should of been given the main role. The rest of the cast do a good job, with the stand out being, of course, Chow Yun-Fat.

One thing that does stay the same is the fabulous shoot-outs. They are more bloody this time and more elaborate, plus there is also more of them than in A Better Tomorrow 1. Even though it changes around some characters, it still has a good John Woo story. Filled with drama, emotion and plenty of action.

Overall it is still a good movie. It does have some big changes, but it does remain an above the average action movie.
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Not as good story,but explosive
twolanebl1 August 2001
"Wow,pure dynamite,better be careful"

Chow Yun Fat utters after grenading the inside of a mansion,if you've seen the first, this might confuse you, Chow's character Mark Gor, died at the end, but lo and behold, he has a twin brother who kicks as much arse as he did. From the beginning,you can tell this is a A Better Tomorrow movie, all the characters from the first (who lived) are back, the plot sometimes is a little weak, but you can tell the irreplacable master John Woo didn't initially want to make a sequel to his breakthrough,but he made a exception to help out his friend Dean Shek,who was having money troubles at the time, everyone puts in a great performance once again, and I know this will sound campy,but it felt good to see Kit and Ho getting along,when Ken Gor threw on his brothers sunglasses and jacket, it literally threw chills down my spine. This film has been imitated by Quentin Tarantino and every American action director, Quentin took his famous skinny tie look from this movie.The final shootout, which was Woo's first really ballistic gunfight led up to his masterpiece "The Killer". Now although the story isn't as good and the film isn't as dynamic, the action scenes rock and it gives you another look at the saga which is A Better Tomorrow
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