A Better Tomorrow II (1988) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Better Tomorrow II (1988)

A Better Tomorrow II




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

A Better Tomorrow II Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Following the bloody climax of the previous film, *A Better Tomorrow -- again directed by John Woo -- opens with Sung Chi-hi (spelled Tse-ho in the first film though still played by Ti Lung) getting released from jail on the condition that he rat out his gangland associate and a shipyard owner, Lung (Dean Shek). Chi-ti's younger brother, a young cop named Chi-kit (Leslie Cheung), is working undercover on the case and has already gotten into the gangster's good graces by dating his daughter, Peggy (Regina Kent). Fearing that he might put his brother's life in danger, Chi-hi cooperates with the cops. Meanwhile, Lung comes to believe that he is responsible for the death of a competitor and flees to New York. There he promptly goes crazy while under the care of Ken (Chow Yun-fat), the twin brother of the sunglass and trench coat-sporting Mark who died in the previous film. During a gun battle with the Mafia who tried to blackmail the exiled crime boss, Lung miraculously regains his sanity. Together he and Ken return to Hong Kong to settle a few scores. This film's onscreen mayhem was almost matched offscreen. Director John Woo and producer Tsui Hark had radically different views of how the film ought to progress. As a result, Hark reportedly recut the film without Woo's consent, ending a long-time professional relationship between the two filmmakers.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: John Woo, Suk-Wah Leung, Hark Tsui
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 26, 1998
Cinema City & Film Company


Yun-Fat Chow
as Ken/Mark Lee/Mark 'G...
Leslie Cheung
as Sung Tse-Kit
Lung Ti
as Sung Chi Ho
Emily Chu
as Jackie
Kenneth Tsang
as Taxi Company Owner
Fui-On Shing
as Pui's Partner
Man Tat Ng
as Mr. Wong
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for A Better Tomorrow II

Critic Reviews for A Better Tomorrow II

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (2)

Full Review… | June 5, 2008
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Less cohesive than the first, but also more charged.

Full Review… | March 18, 2004
Combustible Celluloid

Woo at his best; may be better than the original.

March 2, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

A showcase for John Woo's tremendous skill both as a storyteller and as a composer of violent masterpieces.

Full Review… | July 24, 2001
Apollo Guide

July 25, 2005

Audience Reviews for A Better Tomorrow II

A train ride of emotion, ridiculous but brilliant action, combine together to create an explosively powerful and incredible piece of cinema.

Following on from the first film, Ti Lung, Ho stars as the brother tasked with spying on a former Triad gang member, whilst his policeman brother continues to fight crime, against a new gang leader. In the end, they team up with the master Chow Yun Fat, to enact revenge on the gang for the death of Dean Shek's daughter.

The plot is complex and much more intriguing than any Hollywood counterpart, allowing melodramatic, but powerful character development and arcs, which weave across the ninety minutes flawlessly, but slowly. There is some dependence on certain character's relationships, particularly between brothers Ti Lung and Leslie Cheung, from the first film and this may cause problems for viewers having not seen the first.

But whilst it would be very advisable to watch the first film before this one anyway, the film manages to get past that problem on the whole.

The action sequences are bigger than the first by a mile, and more stylised and sophisticated. Scenes when Chow Yun Fat falls backwards down the stairs whilst firing two handguns at once, and the final shootout show true Woo form, with superb choreography and direction from the Hong Kong master.

However, the more important and impressive aspect of the film is the powerful connections between characters, brothers and brothers, friends and friends, enemies and enemies, and the themes and tones they invoke. Woo does this mainly in a visually stunning and striking way, combining some average cinematography techniques and turning the camera into a gateway of which to fling us into the shattering glass and bricks.

The main character development is done less through the scripted speech, but the smiles and bows, and the chemistry on screen, invoked by Woo's directing abilities, in and out of action sequences.

Just as good as the first installment, if not topped, Woo took a good formula and a great story and expanded it into a cult classic, and a fantastically entertaining and emotionally thrilling film.

Adam Kelly
Adam Kelly

Super Reviewer

"Are you OK?" is asked several times to people with white shirt soaked in their own blood. It's a big mess with sloppy jump cuts, rough dolly shots and the theme of brotherhood thrown in wherever it might fit. The ludicrous elements -- including a grief-stricken lunatic running around speaking in tongues amidst flying bullets and Chow Yun Fat happily putting on the coat his twin brother died in, with its bloody-bullet holes -- make it seem like brilliant HK high school students are trying to do a John Woo half-spoof, where every good guy goes joyfully to Hong Kong Valhalla. The final gunfight is equally ridiculous but it saves the whole movie with a few moments of great choreography and spurts of red flying in and out of the frame.

Adam Mahler

Super Reviewer

One of the greatest action classics of the 1980's. An unforgettable and adrenaline-pumping action-thriller. IT has one of the most outrageous, chaotic and massively brutal final showdowns ever put on film with a massive and insane body count. A masterpiece plain and simple. An amazing and absorbing action extravaganza. An action ride that tops the gun-fights and explosions of the first as well as it's dramatic aspect and character development.

Al S

Super Reviewer

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