A Better Tomorrow II

A Better Tomorrow II
By Richard Taylor

Before Hong Kong action director superstar John Woo dove into the American action market he made a number of unique, stylish and simply amazing Hong Kong action films. These films have now become famous due to Woo's way of film making and necessity of blazing, nonstop shoot'em up firepower. Woo's films are known as a sort of action ballet as this is the way with which the scenes are acted out, very carefully choreographed.

Woo's regular Hong Kong action hotshot Chow Yun Fat stars as Ken, the twin brother of Mark in the first film. Fat is a restaurant owner who must get his uncle back on his feet after he kills someone mistakenly and loses a young family member to boot. Soon Fat must defend his uncle from traitors and the mob who are after him. There are a number of story lines happening at the same time as an undercover cop infiltrates a mob organization. Eventually all the sub plots come together at the conclusion. The story line is quite complicated and hard to follow so I'm sure I've messed it up trying to explain it.

If you dislike subtitles and in this case they are poorly done and poorly spelled to go along with it you won't be disappointed with the performances and the intense action. You have to be aware of Woo's film making style to fully appreciate this. Unlike Woo's classic film "Hard Boiled" which is almost nonstop action this is more of a drama with all the action happening more so towards the conclusion and what a conclusion it is! Were talking one of the most bloodiest gun battles ever put on celluloid as Chow Yun Fat and his two relatives slaughter a house full of gangsters. We get blood splattered walls, piles of bodies, empty shells on the floor and even one of the good guys cutting down the baddies using a ninja sword. Its really incredible and far beyond believable but that's what makes it so enjoyable. The heroes get shot around six times each and still keep going.

If you're looking for a different action/drama then this is for you but if you are a Hollywood movie fan and you watch little else then avoid this like the bubonic plague. If you like Woo's other Hong Kong efforts you shouldn't miss this along with The Killer, Bullet In The Head and Hard Boiled. Less Hard Target (in uncut form its not so bad I guess), Broken Arrow and Face/Off and more of these type films.

 

Richard J.Taylor

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