A Better Tomorrow
With Patrick Lung Kong and Tsui Hark in person
Dir. John Woo. 1986. 97 mins. 35mm. With Chow Yun-fat, Ti Lung, Leslie Cheung. Produced by Tsui Hark, John Woo. This gun-blazing reimagining of Patrick Lung Kong’s The Story of a Discharged Prisoner became an instant international sensation, making Chow Yun-fat an icon and catapulting Chinese action cinema onto the world stage. High-ranking triad member Sung Tse-ho (Shaw Bros. star Ti Lung) is imprisoned after a deal goes sour, and his best friend Mark (Chow Yun-fat) is crippled in a shootout. Released from prison three years later, Sung tries to connect with his police officer brother Kit while suffering torment from the triad head who was once his subordinate. Sung reconnects with Mark for some bloody score-settling. With intricately choreographed gunplay and flourishes of anti-hero swagger, A Better Tomorrow defined “heroic bloodshed” for Hong Kong cinema and took action filmmaking to an operatic level.
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