A Better Tomorrow has yet to arrive. Will it ever come?
May 4, 2009
A Better Tomorrow II was rushed into production after the success of the first film. Armed with a bigger budget, Cinema City forged ahead with this sequel. Following after the events of part one. Lung Ti is about to be released from prison when he's offered a job as an undercover agent. His mission is to find some criminal evidence to topple his former boss (Cinema City board member Dean Shek). A first he dismisses the gig until he realizes they're going to his eager younger brother (Leslie Cheung). Once Lung is out, he notices that everything is not quite as it seems.
An interesting film. This time Tsui Hark had more of a hand in the production. He included his friend Dean Shek into the movie and he employed his best action director (Ching Siu-Tung) to direct the over-the-top action scenes. John Woo wasn't pleased with this and he voiced his displeasure. The final rift came during the editing of the film. Tsui Hark wanted the movie to be under two hours so it could have more showings, John Woo wanted it to be an epic. Guess who one out? Say what you will about this film, the action scenes are pure Ching Siu-Tung. His wild action scenes made this movie. Mr. Tsui must have liked him a lot because he went on to choreograph the action scenes in The Killer (although he was credited with stunt coordinator the action scenes have all of his visual trademarks).
The budget was huge on this one. It was filmed in Hong Kong and in the United States. Tsui Hark had another one of his friends (Peter Wang) co-star in the movie as well (he plays the inner city priest Dean Shek meets in N.Y.C.). Despite the friction caused by the behind the scenes squabbling, A Better Tomorrow II is a magnificent exercise in the ultra-violence. Awesome!