I started with a top 10 list and decided what the hell lets see how far I can go. Top…
A Better Tomorrow II
A restaurant owner his ex-con brother and a policeman team up to avenge the murder of his old friends daughter by the Triad.
"A Better Tomorrow 2 originally ran about 160 minutes. Tsui Hark 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 8 times a day). Woo refused to make any cuts, so Hark secretly cut stuff out while Woo secretly put the things Hark had cut out back in. The two had a falling out and could not agree what should be cut and what not. So they had the film recut by the "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…
Woo and Tsui famously tangled over the direction this would take, but it's legitimately difficult to tell who had the most control. You could easily see, for instance, a pivotal character's death being tied to a barely glimpsed shooting star as the product of either filmmaker. Either way this is a narrative and tonal mess, with silly twin-brother plot twists and huge chunks of time given over to poor Dean Shek literally frothing at the mouth.
All of that's rendered kind of irrelevant by the truly majestic shootout that concludes this movie, an all-time classic of sustained heroic bloodshedding. Woo drains out most of the sound save for grunts and gunshots, and it's here that his now-trademark slow-fast-slow juxtapositions of…
I feel so sorry with my rice
"We use our tip money for tuition!" And all that had to happen was everyone died for that future generation. At least the Americans love the fried rice.
It's a shame that the New York scenes, most of which are performed in English, feel beamed in from another movie entirely. Played way too broad and cartoonish, they detract from what is, on the whole, a more ambitious and satisfying film than its predecessor.
The high-octane melodrama of the original - the sweat, the suffering - is replaced with the kind of grandeur and opulence of an early Francis Ford Coppola film, as evidenced by early scenes featuring ballroom dancing and mugging crime bosses.
The story is not overly complicated and relies on cliches such as lost twin brothers, but it's told in an efficient manner and satisfyingly builds to a positively apocalyptic conclusion.
John Woo would go on…
Much of what works in this sequel is merely a recreation of events from the first film. While John Woo does his best to make the transnational narrative something worthwhile, it does not possess the complete control that made the previous film or his follow up works so excellent.
An absolute mess of a film but what a hugely enjoyable mess all the same.
John Woo shouldn't direct movies with "II" (or "2") in the title.
The best part of this movie is the two scenes, the first being where the head baddy pulls a bunch of cash from his bag and says to the heavy-tinted sunglasses-wearing assassin, this is for you, let the other (lower-level) henchmen handle the heroes (um, they are doing a terrible job by the way and are dying by the score in the rest of the mansion). The sunglasses henchman looks down at the money for a second and then walks away from it. He doesn't have to say anything, it is all in his face and body language: "this is beneath me." Of course, that doesn't really make sense based on his actions earlier in the film where he attempted…
This movie made me start creating weird connections between John Woo and Brian De Palma. Anyway, this movie is a huge step down from the first movie for me, but is absolutely worth watching for that incredible gun battle at the end.
“This fuckin’ fried rice STINKS!”
Although it gets a bum rap, I love “A Better Tomorrow II”. A somewhat, shall I say, clumsy sequel to the original Hong Kong classic, Woo and Tsui Hark found a way to bring back Chow Yun Fat, this time playing the twin brother of his character from the first film. Shot on location in Hong Kong and New York, this globe-trotting crime film puts over the top action first. The incredible action finale, with Ti Lung and Chow Yun Fat storming a home guarded by dozens and dozens of gangsters is one of the greatest Hong Kong bullet ballet action sequences ever. Chow Yun Fat brings the guns and grenades, Lung brings his Shaw…
"Apologize to the rice right now!"
I was gonna give this half a star less than the first film, but then the final mansion shootout came and it won that half a star back.
A Better Tomorrow II is certainly a weaker film in terms of the story compared to the first. I've read about there being creative differences between John Woo and Hark Tsui, leading to the film being edited in a weird way, which is unfortunate, because perhaps there was a stronger story that was lost in the editing room. Luckily, the film makes up for it with some amped up action. I see the first film as a drama/action film, and this one as an action/drama film.…
This is pretty clearly a colossal mess of a film, but the fact that all the garbage is weighted towards the beginning (Dean Shek's freakouts, the general lack of anything interesting at all happening, whatever's going on in New York) and that it closes with one incredible scene (the Leslie Cheung shooting star slow-mo duel) followed by one of the most batshit climactic shootouts in film history, has me wanting to inch up the rating regardless. God damn, John Woo. God damn, Tsui Hark.
Podcast-Mashup: wiederauffuehrung.de x cinecouch.net x enoughtalk.de - in Diverse Talk! #002 besprechen drei Freunde des oldskool-HK-Actionfilms das (relevante) Werk von John Woo und diskutieren den "Heroic Bloodshed" Stil: enoughtalk.de/diverse-talk-002-mr-woo-you-better-put-a-bullet-in-the-head-of-a-hard-boiled-killer-tomorrow-feat-christian-niels
This is clearly the beginning of John Woo’s stunning career of action master. A huge step from the first one. The plot is all around but never confuses its audiences about the character’s sense of revenge. Mix that with a fine dose of drama, twists and insane action scenes, and you won’t be disappointed. Chow Yun Fat again is the soul of the flick.
All the films I could find that QT uses as reference points in his films.
1-48 Reservoir Dogs (Django of…
What are the best non-English thriller/action movies that you can recommend? You know, the kind you look forward to watching…