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…
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.
"Apologize to the rice right now!"
"Fuck your rice! And fuck you too!"
This movie is nowhere near as good as the original, but it's so damn enjoyable for so many reasons that I couldn't help but love it. The absurd over the top nature of it reminds me of films like Rome Armed to the Teeth and other crime films Umberto Lenzi did in the 70s. There's absolutely no focus whatsoever in this movie, and every second scene seems to exist in order to make the audience pay attention.
I would love to see the 3 hours cut of this film as this shortened edit really hurts what Woo was going for. The story is that originally Hark edited…
At many points it becomes obvious that A Better Tomorrow II is merely a rehashed attempt at following the same formula as the first film. Hell, they even bring back Chow Yun Fat as the twin brother to his character from the first film. Unfortunately, it's not nearly as effective emotionally as the first in its attempts at forcing the loyalty and brotherhood. However, it goes all out on the action - with an outrageous body count to showcase it.
Bonus points for the scene where Chow Yun Fat and his jacket full of grenades and some of the charming quips and moments that come with those.
If A Better Tomorrow is half-baked, its sequel is a microwave stuffed full of marshmallows, baked beans, fresh fruit and silverware, turned on high for 90 minutes and left unattended.
A mostly rote exercise in spite of the first film's surprising popularity, it offers little in the realm of inventiveness outside of Woo's captivating penchant for playing with his toys. Be it mostly an end result of the creative rift between Woo and Tsui, an idiosyncratic narrative bogs everything down considerably. Bonus points for the look of utter fucking dread on Chow's face following that first latter act grenade toss.
The first A Better Tomorrow film is superior in every way, but this film certainly has its moments. The scene where Chow Yun-Fat's Ken tries to force feed a catatonic Dean Shek an orange is one of the most unintentionally (or intentionally?) hilarious scenes I have seen in a while, and it has a great call back later in the film. The nighttime scene when Ho is forced to shoot his brother Kit in order to remain undercover is filled with tension and real emotion, and great performances from both Ti Lung and Leslie Cheung. But the majority of the film is absolutely batshit crazy, and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Chow Yun-Fat is as charismatic and…
Strangely enough, unlike the first installment, this sequel didn’t make me sentimental about my childhood hero THAT much… It’s certainly bigger scaled but unfortunately not better.
Living room, Cambridge, Massachusetts, with Dan J.
Filled with ridiculous moments (example: the paintings) but the brute force of the action scenes and the blunt characterizations expertly used by Woo and Co. make up for it. You can definitely feel there was a creative struggle between Tsui Hark and Woo in the first act but that feeling goes away somewhere around the middle mark of the movie.
This film exemplifies something.
What are the best non-English thriller/action movies that you can recommend? You know, the kind you look forward to watching…
All the films I could find that QT uses as reference points in his films.
1-48 Reservoir Dogs (Django of…