A Better Tomorrow II (1987) A Better Tomorrow II

A Better Tomorrow II Directed by: John Woo
Starring: Leslie Cheung, Yun-Fat Chow

Tagline: "Eat the fucking rice!"

Following on from the first movie, Ho is in jail and learns of an operation on his old boss Leung, which he is offered an undercover job on. He refuses, but then changes his mind when he finds out Kit is already on the case.

What they don't know is that Leung has been betrayed by his partner. Ho helps Leung escape to the US where he goes mad after a hit gone wrong.

In a hackneyed plot twist we meet Mark's twin brother from the first film, Ken (Yun-Fat Chow) who is having trouble with badly dubbed mafia standover men in his restaurant. For some reason he picks up Leung from the mental hospital and decides to rehabilitate him.

The whole "Leung Mad in New York" sequence in the film is a bit of a waste really, it is only when the mafia comes after Mark in his house and a dingy hotel that it gets interesting. That shotgun must have super ammo to shoot holes that big in people. The sliding backwards down the stairs trick is good too.

Leung finally regains his marbles and the film takes off from there, with PILES of bodies in a mansion shootout and the walls ending up being completely COVERED in blood.

It also has some of my favourite lines of dialogue in a Hong Kong Movie:
Ken: "You don't like my rice? What's wrong with it? It's beautiful to me! To you, it's just rice...to us, it's family. Don't fuck with my family! If you have any dignity, apologize to my rice RIGHT NOW!"

When a Hollywood film is popular enough to generate a sequel, you usually have to wait at least a year for it to come out. With Hong Kong production speed rivalling that of the porn industry, sequels in that territory can appear much sooner in general. Often as well as the sequel, there is also a prequel (as happened with the recent movie Infernal Affairs), another trend that was lead by this series of movies.

Sequels to movies in Hong Kong are regarded a lot differently to similar films in the west. There is a very long tradition in Hong Kong of popular sequels to movies that goes back decades and is widely accepted by the audience.

While this is a fun movie, it is not really up to the level of the first movie. I am aware of the troubles this movie had in production and the middle sequence in particular suffers because of this. If you are watching this movie again, I recommend using the 'chapter skip' to get past the boring New York sequences (watch the restaurant scene first.)

The main characters pretty much slip back into the same roles here so there are not many surprises.

This would be a good film to watch with a bunch of friends as you could cheer at the more exciting parts and laugh at the bad bits.

Rating: 7/10

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This movie is also available as part of A Better Tomorrow Trilogy DVD Collection (out of print).

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