A Better Tomorrow II

The first ABT was such a smash that a sequel had to be made and though it lacks much of the emotional power of the first it contains a lot more fireworks.

This one opens with Ti Lung in jail and he is forced by the police to go spy on his old mentor - Lung (Dean Shek). The pressure used on him is that his brother Kit is going undercover to get Lung as well and Ti Lung wants to protect him. It turns out that Lung is now completely straight, but tragedies occur that drives him out of business and out of his mind. It is this out of mind period that stops this movie from getting as high a rating as the first - it just goes on for too long and is badly over acted.

At least he ends up in NYC where the twin brother of Mark (yes that old dog is sent out to hunt once more) - Ken is running a restaurant. It turns out that he is as handy with guns as he is with a wok. Chow Yun Fat also gets to do a turn in English (at least I think that is CYF speaking) in which he utters the famous line "rice just like father and mother - don't fuck with my family".

As expected all the good guys end up back in HK ready to do battle and what a battle it is. The last 20 minutes is just a huge blood bath of bodies piled on top of bodies and our heroes looking like Swiss cheese by the end. Ti Lung gets to wield a sword as if in his Shaw movie days. The last scene is a classic as three of them are sitting on a couch covered in blood from multiple gunshot wounds and surrounded by 100's of dead bodies waiting for the cops to finally show up and one of them says "We are dying. Can we leave?"

My rating for this film: 8.5

Note: In an interview in the book Asian Pop Cinema, Woo mentions that his first cut of this film was three hours long, but he was ordered to edit it down. Woo goes on to say that five different people got involved with the editing and Woo never saw the outcome until the film was completed. He was not very happy with the finished product. Directors Cut anyone?