"I won't give you nothing, man; I give you shit," sneers charismatic superstar Chow Yun Fat, speaking English (with a De Niro accent) in his role as a New York restaurateur who won't knuckle under to the (Italian) mob. Cho... more »w plays the twin brother of the character he played in the original Tomorrow, the ultraviolent, ultraromantic ultrapopular Hong Kong gangster melodrama. And the blatancy of that device is a fair indication of the sequel's shortcomings--and of its screwy charm: this is a film that knows no shame. The bond between the natural siblings played by Ti Lung (as a reformed mobster) and Leslie Cheung (as a hot shot cop) still resonate tellingly. As a good-guy ex-thug driven batty by the slaying of his only daughter, real-life Cinema City studio chief Dean Shek gets to play a garishly extended "mad scene," foaming at the mouth, chewing on soup bones. A later episode in which a dying man crawls to a phone booth to call his wife (and newborn daughter) in the hospital must also be some kind of lurid first in the soap sweepstakes. The final 15 minutes could be the bloodiest single shoot-out sequence ever committed to celluloid. The story line hasn't been shaped to any particular purpose here, but the images have a golden Godfather-like glow, and this faintly anachronistic, all-stops-out wish-fulfillment approach to moviemaking still has a lot of power. --David Chute« less
Jason Lee | Grosse Ile, MI United States | 07/20/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is the best of the "Better Tomorrow" trilogy and one of John Woo's best Hong Kong releases after "Hard Boiled" and "The Killer". It takes off right after "A Better Tomorrow" with Chow Yun Fat returning as Mark's twin brother Ken. It starts off a little slow, but it's essential to character development (which most action films of this genre lack). The ending has one of the best and bloodiest shootout sequences in the series. Some of the scenes in this end sequence you may remeber being shown in Tarentino's "True Romance".The two stars keeping this movie from getting a five star rating was due to the quality of the DVD. Although the packaging of the DVD was nice, the booklet inside was merely an advertisement and had no information for this movie. To my disappointment there was NO EXTRA FOOTAGE or BEHIND THE SCENES FOOTAGE as advertised and it left me feeling ripped off. The DVD just merely contained actor's and director's files which looked like it was taken directly from the IMDB (www.imdb.com). The subtitles were poorly translated with constant grammatical, spelling and timing errors, which made most the dialogue confusing. The colors were muted and in some of the dark scenes, what was supposed to be black turned a bright blue - yuck!. The only real difference between the DVD and the VHS version was the remastered Dolby Digital sound and widescreen letterboxed aspect ratio (1.85:1).The only reason that I didn't return this version of the DVD is that the only other version is on VHS and it's $13 more than the DVD. So if you are planning on purchasing this, I'd wait, there are plans for a superior version to be released in the fall."
OK gangster movie
Nic | Canada | 03/23/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The movie gives the impression of various parts being put together that don`t have much in common. The action sequences praised by some did not have the explosive quality of the action sequences of A Better Tomorrow I, nor the emotional content. There are only two major shoot-outs in the movie: the first one has chow yun-fat gunning down american gangsters in a hotel with a shotgun (a sequence that is a bit too similar to the sequence in The Getaway where Steve McQueen guns down cops with a shotgun in a hotel (Peckinpah is one of the major influences on Woo); the second one is the final shoot-out and it comes close to self-parody (the baddies are mowed down in groups à la Commando) (Watching it, I even woundered if Woo directed most of this shoot-out - I know there were problems between Woo and Hark during the making of the movie.) The actors have more or less no intensity during the whole movie: they hardly seem to be playing the same characters as in the first one. The first third seems to be a rip-off of the Godfather, then the story is chucked out the window with Chow appearing as the twin brother: the first in a series of cheesy moments. The hit-man that kills Leslie Cheung is an obvious rip-off of Melville`s hitman: Le Samourai (A stoic silent hitman that waits for the other guy to draw before shooting). The movie seems like a waste of the talent of everyone involved.Overall watchable B gangster movie but is no comparison with the original A Better Tomorrow, a mythic melodrama masterpiece."
Just enjoy the ride.
D. Mok | Los Angeles, CA | 05/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the accounts I've read, A Better Tomorrow II was a reluctant endeavour on Woo's part to cash in on an extremely personal and extremely successful film (the first A Better Tomorrow) which had made his career and hadn't been intended as a franchise. But a franchise it became, and the corny, nearly nonsensical plotting of this sequel (the comic-book artist is especially ludicrous -- it's the same guy who had been the counterfeit engineer in the first film!) is the result.But where this film good-naturedly flubs on logic, it makes up for in spectacle and just pure entertainment. Chow Yun-fat must have had a ball filming this, with his extended English monologue, almost godlike action choreography, and a mischievous character which taps into one of his most effective traits as an actor, a goofball sense of fun which makes his romantic moments all the more engrossing. Ti Lung's character is somewhat passive this time though the actor does a good job. Dean Shek's over-the-top portrayal of a mind unhinged isn't for all tastes, but his performance in the not-crazy scenes is tip-top, and Leslie Cheung had grown greatly as an actor since the first film.In the end, this film is about an exaggerated staging of the trademark gunfights of A Better Tomorrow, and this sequel delivers on that front in grand style. Once again Chow Yun-fat steals the whole show, dominating both key action sequences (the final demolition of the house and the New York battle against over-the-top slimy mafiosi).The DVD transfer of this film is not all that great. As with the first A Better Tomorrow DVD on Anchor Bay, the trailers are not that remarkable -- this DVD offers "Hong Kong" and "American" trailers, but the Hong Kong trailer has already been available on the pristine Criterion Collection edition of Hard Boiled, and the American trailer is pure trash. There is no commentary, not surprisingly, but the most bothersome thing is that the picture transfer is really not that great. Unbecoming scratches mar the picture, and I suspect it's on the master used by Anchor Bay, not a one-off on my DVD.The film is still lots of fun to watch. Turn off your logic circuit and indulge."
Beautiful transfer for a John Woo classic!
Chris (firstname.lastname@example.org) | South Bend, IN | 01/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're like me, you're used to an old, grainy, pan and scan VHS version of ABTPT2. This disc is a welcome improvement! It is finally in the correct aspect ratio and the colors practically jump off the screen. The transfer is top-notch too (very little "artifacts"). The sound (while mono) has been remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 for extremely clear audio. Did I mention the NINE different subtitles and dubbing into Cantonese and Mandarin? All this plus some cast highlights and the trailer. Well worth the price, if you even have a fleeting interest in John Woo this is the only way to go!!"
Review of Anchor Bay's DVD
Guy DuBlanc | USA | 08/06/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I recently watched Anchor Bay's version of A BETTER TOMORROW II, and I am quite pleased with it. I say this mainly because it has a good transfer and great subtitles. The visuals are very good, especially for an "older" Hong Kong film. The picture is fairly sharp, the colors are vibrant, and there is not a lot of grain apparent. Occasionally there was a brief glitch with the picture, but it didn't amount to much and was only for a second (this happened maybe two or three times). Compared with Fox Lorber's THE KILLER and HARD BOILED DVDs, this Anchor Bay disc has a superior picture, and by a pretty good margin, too.The subtitles were great. They were in yellow (thank God!) and also had a good translation. It was not like some of those Tai Seng products where they seem to have been translated by a third grader. Also, the subs come up at a good pace so you don't have to worry about not being able to keep up. There is the option to listen to an English dub, but I haven't checked it out.For the sound, well, let's just say there isn't a whole lot to say. If you're looking for 5.1 surround sound to blow you away, better pop FACE/OFF back into your DVD player, because you're not getting it here. Sorry. There are no problems with the sound from a technical standpoint. I thought it was fine.Now there are not many extras on this disc, as you can tell above. I saw no "extra footage." Just a couple trailers and some talent bios. The talent bios are actually not bad. They read like an article on Woo and Chow. They contain some worthy insights, too. Better than what you find on most DVDs.So ... not many extras, and no 5.1 sound -- what I am doing giving this 4 stars? Well, the picture means a lot to me, as do the subtitles, and like I said, those are both of high quality. That's why I give it a thumbs up and a worthwhile buy, for sure.As a film, I don't think it is one of Woo's great works, but it's still pretty good. I found the film and also the action to be slightly overrated by the other reviewers here. I also think it demands a second viewing before I can fully judge it. Like ABT1, I found the plot to be a litle on the confusing side.Nevertheless, if you're a Woo fan, I would definitely recommend this DVD to you."