A Better Tomorrow (1986)Directed by: John Woo
Starring: Leslie Cheung, Yun-Fat Chow. Ti Lung
"I am a god"
Mark (Yun-Fat Chow) and Ho are best friends in a underworld organization that has much success in trading counterfeit US currency. This part of the story is really only there to show how much of hard arse the character of Mark is - the definition being lighting your cigarette on a $100 bill.
Ho (Ti Lung) is different to Mark in that he is more serious and won't tell his brother Kit, what he really does for a living. When Kit (Leslie Cheung) announces he has joined the police force, Ho is somewhat disturbed as it means they will eventually be rivals.
A routine deal in Taiwan goes awry and Ho is imprisoned. Mark decides to take revenge on the people who got his buddy arrested. This sequence in the film is very well set up, with Mark hiding guns in pot plants while fooling around with a hostess at the same time. I won't ruin the shootout for you by describing it to you.
Three years later Ho gets out of jail to find out Kit is still mad at him and Mark has gone from hard-arse to busted-arse and is working as a car attendant for the boss. As he doesn't want to continue in the old business he joins a taxi company. His old gang won't leave him along though and the new boss wants him to work again. You can tell that it is going to end badly and that a confrontation is imminent.
This movie is the ultimate Hong Kong triad movie to see if you are interested in the genre. There would be a triad movie that has come since that doesn't at least take some influence from this movie.
Chow Yun Fat gets to play the role that would define his on-screen persona for at least the next decade. Even as The Killer he doesn't match up to his performance here. The role also influenced many young people in Hong Kong at the time, to the extent that they commented on it in the sequel.
Ti Lung as Ho is also really great as you get to see his character develop over the course of the movie. From a loyal triad member and good friend, to a broken, haunted man.
Leslie Cheung's character of Kit is very annoying as he won't listen to sense, even when people are trying to help him. Even Mark gets pissed off at him towards the end.
There are heaps of excellent gun-based action scenes in this movie, the highlights being Mark's 'revenge' hit and the final shootout.
As well as guns, there is also a lot of other fighting and the film is very violent on the whole. If you really enjoy triad movies then this film should be at the top of your list.