A Better Tomorrow II (1987)

Not Rated   |    |  Action, Crime, Drama


A Better Tomorrow II (1987) Poster

A restauranteur teams up with a police officer and his ex-con brother to avenge the death of a friend's daughter.


7.3/10
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24 June 2004 | Captain_Couth
8
| A Better Tomorrow has yet to arrive. Will it ever come?
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.

Critic Reviews



Did You Know?

Trivia

John Woo's first cut was about 160 minutes long. He and producer Hark Tsui had disagreements over the focus of the film. Tsui felt that it should focus more on the Lung, while Woo's original version focused more on characters Ken and Kit. Hark also insisted that the film should be shortened to a commercially viable length, which in Hong Kong is considered under 120 minutes, so theatre owners could show the film at least eight times a day.

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

When Woo saw this final version, which was 105 minutes long, in the theater for the first time he was so shocked to see how badly it was re-edited that he disowned the film; to this day the only part he said he considers to be his work is the final shootout sequence. Woo's director's cut was only shown once to film executives in Hong Kong, before all the re-editing problems began. The Hong Kong trailer--5-1/2 minutes long--is the only source to get glimpses of some deleted scenes; blood-covered Kit being brutally beaten up, Kit seeing his wife while still having injuries from the beating on his face, Ken and Lung playing with the bird.


Quotes

Ken: We're dying; can we leave now?


Goofs

Nobody ever told Lung that his daughter is dead. Yet even Ken acts like it's a given without being told by anybody from Hong Kong.


Alternate Versions

All 5.1 and 7.1 sound mixes found on various DVD- and Blu-ray editions feature added and re-dubbed sound effects, and vary greatly from the original monaural soundtrack.


Soundtracks

Forward To The Days In The Future
by Leslie Cheung

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Action | Crime | Drama | Thriller

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