A Better Tomorrow 3

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A Better Tomorrow 3: Love & Death in Saigon
Film poster
Directed by Tsui Hark
Produced by Tsui Hark
John Woo
Screenplay by Yiu Ming Leung
Foo Ho Tai
Story by Tsui Hark
Starring Chow Yun-fat
Anita Mui
Tony Leung
Music by Lowell Lo
Cinematography Wing-Hung Wong
Edited by Marco Mak
Tsui Hark
David Wu
Distributed by Golden Princess Film Production
Release dates
  • 20 October 1989 (1989-10-20) (Hong Kong)
Running time
145 min.
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese

A Better Tomorrow 3: Love & Death in Saigon (Chinese: 英雄本色3-夕陽之歌; pinyin: Yīngxióng běnsè sān – xīyáng zhī gē; Jyutping: Jing1hung4 bun2sik1 saam – zik6joeng4 zi1 go1) is a 1989 Hong Kong action drama film co-produced and directed by Tsui Hark. It is a loosely-based prequel to John Woo's A Better Tomorrow, though it was released after A Better Tomorrow 2.

The film was directed by Tsui Hark, the producer behind the first two films in the series. John Woo wrote a screenplay for a third installment, but he never got to direct it due to having had artistic differences with Tsui Hark during the filming of the second film. Instead, the original screenplay later became Bullet in the Head. The two films have many parallels, most notably, both being set in the Vietnam War.

The film stars Chow Yun-fat, who reprises his role of Mark Gor from the first film, Tony Leung Ka-fai and Anita Mui. Set during the Vietnam War, it sets up the story of how Mark became the character he was in the original film. The second part of the title Love & Death in Saigon (夕陽之歌 or Song of the Setting Sun in Chinese) is also the title song for this movie, sung by Anita Mui, who was also the leading lady in this third installment.


In 1974, during the final days of the Vietnam War, Mark Lee (Chow Yun-Fat) arrives in Saigon, intending to bring his uncle Ten (Shih Kien) and cousin Cheung Chi-Mun (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) back to Hong Kong with him. Just after arriving at the airport, Mark is confined by corrupt security guards who strip and attempt to rob him, but he is saved by a mysterious woman named Kit (Anita Mui), who seems to have some measure of influence.

Mark and Mun later encounter Kit in a nightclub, where they discover the woman is a criminal and gun runner. Kit takes an interest in the cousins and invite them to accompany her on a deal with a local Vietnamese warlord. The deal goes bad, but the three escape. Kit is impressed with the way Mark and Mun handled themselves and decide to help them escape Vietnam, taking them under her wing in the meantime.

Over the next few months, Kit begins training the cousins in various aspects of her business, as well as marksmanship. Mark and Mun both develop an attraction to her. Kit is attracted to Mark as well, and buys him a pair of Alain Delon sunglasses as a gift. However, despite his feelings, Mark does not reciprocate Kit's affections so as to avoid hurting Mun, who has come under the impression that Kit is in love with him.

Meanwhile, the leader of the arms smuggling company (and Kit's former lover), Ho Cheung-Ching, returns from hiding after a three year absence in which he was presumed dead. Jealous of Kit's relationship with Mark and Mun, he plots to kill the cousins.

Kit manages to secure safe passage for Mark, Mun, and Uncle Ten back to Hong Kong. The three return and start a new business there. However, Ho Cheung-Ching sends a bomb to the business, which explodes and kills Uncle Ten. Afterwards, Ho and his men capture and beat Mark and Mun, warning them to stay away from Kit.

Kit arrives to express her regret for Uncle Ten's death and to share her feelings with Mark, which this time he reciprocates. She also presents Mark with another gift: a black duster coat.

Ho Cheung-Ching returns to Vietnam, taking Kit with him, to complete the deal with the Vietnamese warlord encountered earlier in the film.

Mark and Mun follow Ho back to Saigon, intending to kill him in retaliation for his murder of Uncle Ten. Mark steps off the plane attired in his iconic outfit as seen in the first A Better Tomorrow: black duster, sunglasses, and matchstick in his mouth.

Later, during reconnaissance on Ho Cheung-Ching by Mark and Mun, they engage in a shootout with Ho's men, where Mun is caught in an explosion.

Mark confronts Kit in her hotel and despite her protests that she had nothing to do with Mun's death and is trying to protect them from Ho, Mark angrily says he wants nothing to do with her anymore.

Ho Cheung-Ching and Kit head to their deal with the Vietnamese warlord. The warlord attempts to double-cross Ho but a mexican standoff ensues when Kit reveals the building is wired with explosives and her finger is on the detonator. Mark interrupts the stalemate by bursting in the room dual wielding two M-16 rifles, intending to take his revenge on Ho. A shootout ensues in which Kit is severely wounded and Ho is killed (by the warlord).

Mun, who is revealed to have survived the explosion, arrives to help Mark make his getaway with the wounded Kit. The three are pursued by the warlord in a tank, but Mark manages to destroy the tank with explosives, killing the warlord.

With Kit dying and in dire need of medical attention, Mark and Mun rush Kit to the embassy, where a mass evacuation is taking place due to the Fall of Saigon. Showing Kit's travel paperwork to the guards, the three are granted seats on the last chopper leaving the embassy, which lifts off just as the crowds rush in past the gate and the North Vietnamese flag is raised.

Succumbing to her injuries, Kit dies in Mark's arms. Cradling Kit's lifeless body, Mark contemplates quietly as the chopper flies off into the sunset.


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Box office[edit]

The film grossed HK$18,476,116 at the Hong Kong box office.

Alternative versions[edit]

The Taiwan version runs 145 minutes long which is the complete uncut version. The Hong Kong version runs only 114 minutes long despite saying 130 minutes on the cover. On a special 2004 DVD release, there are a few minutes of scenes that were deleted from the Hong Kong version as a separate feature. A Chinese Out of print DVD dubbed from Taiwan (but actually published in China) runs 130 minutes long which is the extended version which is shorter compared to the Taiwanese Out of print 145 minute VCD. A Taiwan Long Shong VHS dubbed in Taiwan (and distributed from Taiwan) contains an alternate scene where Anita kisses Tony Leung's hand which is also shorter than the 145 minute Taiwan VCD.


External links[edit]