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A Better Tomorrow II

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A Better Tomorrow 2
A Better Tomorrow 2.jpg
Original film poster
Chinese英雄本色2
MandarinYīngxióng běnsè èr
CantoneseJing1hung4 bun2sik1 ji6
Directed byJohn Woo
Written byJohn Woo
Tsui Hark
Produced byTsui Hark
Starring
CinematographyWong Wing-hung
Edited byDavid Wu
Music by
Production
companies
Distributed byGolden Princess Film Production
Release date
  • 17 December 1987 (1987-12-17)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryHong Kong
LanguagesCantonese
English
Box officeHK$22.7 million[citation needed]

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.

Due to the popularity of Chow's break-out performance in the previous instalment, he was cast in a new character as the twin brother of "Mark", who was killed in the previous film.[1] A Better Tomorrow 2 is known for its over the top violence, exaggerated blood and gore, and body counts nearing the hundreds.

Film director John Woo and producer Tsui Hark had disagreements over the focus of this film. Tsui felt that the film should focus more on Dean Shek's character. This led to the film being edited by both Tsui and Woo. Their disagreements would lead to a split after this film, with Hark directing A Better Tomorrow 3 and Woo moving on to create The Killer.[2]

Plot

Several years after his arrest, Sung Tse-ho is offered early parole by the police in exchange for spying on his former boss and mentor, Lung Sei, who is suspected of heading a counterfeiting operation. Inspector Wu, the leader of the task force, wants to mark his retirement with the capture of a high profile criminal like Lung.

Though Ho initially declines because of his loyalty to Lung, he eventually changes his mind when he discovers that his younger brother, Kit, who is expecting a child along with his pregnant wife Jackie, is working undercover on the same case. While working the case, the two brothers meet and agree to work together.

After being framed for murder, Lung seeks Ho's help, who is able to help him escape to New York. However, Lung suffers a psychotic break and is institutionalized after receiving news of his daughter's murder and witnessing the death of a friend.

Meanwhile, Ho learns that his deceased friend Mark Lee has a long-lost twin brother, Ken, a former gang member who left Hong Kong as a teenager to travel across America, eventually opening a restaurant in New York City. Ho then locates Ken and enlists his assistance in freeing Lung.

Targeted by both assassins attempting to kill Lung as well as American mobsters looking to extort Ken, Ken and a catatonic Lung take refuge in an apartment building where Ken arms himself. During a shoot-out with their attackers, Ken and Lung find themselves cornered; seeing Ken in trouble snaps Lung out of his stupor, and he kills the last of their pursuers.

The two return to Hong Kong and regroup with Ho and Kit. The group discovers that one of Lung's employees, Ko Ying-pui, is responsible for attempt on Lung's life and has since taken over the organization in Lung's absence. Lung decides that he would rather destroy his organization with his own hands than let it fall into dishonor and ruin, and the group starts planning to act against Ko.

After scouting out Ko's mansion alone, Kit is fatally wounded, but is rescued by Ken, who attempts to rush him to the hospital. Knowing that he will not make it however, Kit persuades Ken to stop at a phone booth to call Jackie, where he manages to name his newborn child Sung Ho-yin ("the Spirit of Righteousness") before succumbing to his wounds.

After attending Kit's funeral, Ho, Ken, and Lung take revenge on Ko by attacking his mansion during a meeting with a counterfeiting client. The three manage to kill Ko and several of his men following an intense shootout, but are all critically wounded in the process. Following the shootout, the three men sit down in the mansion and are surrounded by the police forces led by Inspector Wu. Upon seeing the condition of the men, Wu orders his men to stand down, while Ho remarks against Inspector Wu's retirement, as there is "much work left for [him] to do."

Cast

  • Dean Shek as Lung Sei
  • Chow Yun-fat as Ken "Gor" Lee
  • Ti Lung as Sung Tse-ho
  • Leslie Cheung as Sung Tse-kit
  • Emily Chu as Jackie Sung (Tse-kit's wife)
  • Kwan Shan as Ko Ying-pui (The main antagonist)
  • Kenneth Tsang as Ken (The taxi manager from the first film)
  • Shing Fui-On as Ko's partner
  • Lam Chung as Ko's partner
  • Ng Man-tat as Mr Wong (during the early stage of his film career)
  • Peter Wang as Sam (Lung's priest friend in New York)
  • Lung Ming-yan as Chong (Ko's cold blooded hitman)
  • Louis Roth as Protection Money Collector
  • Regina Kent as Peggy Lung (Lung's daughter)
  • Ken Boyle as New York Counterfeit Buyer
  • Lau Siu-ming as Chief Inspector Wu
  • Mike Abbott as Assassin
  • Cindy Lau as Ken's restaurant staff
  • Steve Mak as Ko's thug

[3] [4]

Music

Theme song

"Will Rush Toward Future Day" (奔向未來日子)

Music cues

This film contains music cues from other films:

Release

The film was theatrically released in Hong Kong on 17 December 1987. In the Philippines, the film was released by First Films as Rapid Fire on 25 August 1988, with free sunglasses, jackets, and watches distributed on opening day.[5]

Anchor Bay Entertainment released the film on DVD in the US in January 2001.[6] Extras include the trailer and biographies.[7] In June 2004, HKflix.com released it again on DVD along with its two sequels in a boxed set.[8] Hong Kong Legends released a special collector's edition in the UK in September 2006.[9]

Reception

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 83% of six surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 7/10.[10] Writing in Sex and Zen & A Bullet in the Head, Stefan Hammond and Mike Wilkins describe the film as "gorged with Woo's trademarks" and "a funhouse exaggeration of its central motifs".[11]

Accolades

Accolades
Ceremony Category Recipient Outcome
7th Hong Kong Film Awards[12] Best Actor Leslie Cheung Nominated
Best Action Choreography Ching Siu-tung Nominated

See also

References

  1. ^ "Six Sequels That Resurrect a Character or Actor Who Died in a Previous Installment". Philadelphia Weekly. Archived from the original on 10 November 2014.
  2. ^ Williams, Tony (2009). John Woo's Bullet in the Head. Hong Kong University Press. p. 14. ISBN 9789622099685.
  3. ^ A Better Tomorrow 2 at HKMDB
  4. ^ A Better Tomorrow 2 at chinesemov.com
  5. ^ "Grand Opening Today". Manila Standard. Standard Publishing, Inc. 25 August 1988. p. 16. Retrieved 14 January 2019. Free Jackets, Shades, Watches and More on Opening Day!
  6. ^ Nichols, Peter M. (26 January 2001). "NEW VIDEO RELEASES". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  7. ^ Cressey, Earl (6 January 2001). "A Better Tomorrow II". DVD Talk. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  8. ^ Zyber, Joshua (17 February 2004). "A Better Tomorrow Trilogy". DVD Talk. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  9. ^ Gould, Chris. "A Better Tomorrow II: Special Collector's Edition (UK – DVD R2)". DVDactive.com. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  10. ^ "A Better Tomorrow II (1988)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  11. ^ Hammond, Stefan; Wilkins, Mike (1996). Sex and Zen & A Bullet in the Head. Simon & Schuster. p. 39. ISBN 9780684803418.
  12. ^ "第7屆得獎名單 – 香港電影金像獎". HKFAA. Retrieved 20 February 2015.

External links