A Better Tomorrow Poster

A Better Tomorrow

Chow Yun-Fat as Mark Gor

Winner of the 1987 Hong Kong Film Award for Best Picture

Mandarin title: Ying Hung Boon Sik(True Colors of a Hero)

AKA: City Wolf

Golden Princess, 1986, 90 min.

Director: John Woo
Stars: Chow Yun-Fat ("Mark"), Ti Lung ("Ho"), Leslie Cheung ("Kit"), Waise Lee ("Sheng"), Tin Fung (Ho and Kit's father), John Woo (cameo as a cop)
Producer: Tsui Hark
Original story: John Woo
Screenplay: Chang Hing Kai, Leung Suk Wah
Cinematographer: Wong Wing-Hang
Editor: Kam Ma
Action directors: Blacky Ko, Stephen Tung

Available on video (pan-and-scanned and dubbed) from Republic Pictures; also available widescreen/subtitled from Tai Seng

Available on DVD from Mega Star - a review can be found here; also available from Anchor Bay

Chow lights his cigarette with style

"Brothers by blood. Enemies by chance. Killers by nature."

Mark is a top gangster, working as a counterfeiter for the Triads. His best friend and partner, Ho, wants to get out of "the life" as his brother Kit is about to become a cop, and he knows a gangster with a brother who's a cop quickly becomes a marked man.

Ho offers to do one more job, taking his young protoge, Sheng, along. The job turns out to be an ambush and Ho ends up being captured by the police. Upon hearing about this, Mark takes revenge for his friend, but in the process, he is crippled by a shot to the leg -- leaving Sheng in control of the counterfeiting ring. Then, Ho and Kit's father is killed by an assassin and Kit finally learns what his brother does for a living.

Upon his release from prison, Ho faces many challenges. He wants to go straight -- but the Triad has other ideas. Mark, regulated to being Sheng's servant, wants revenge but also needs Ho's help. Finally, Ho must try to repair his relationship with Kit, who has become a detective. The movie ends with a gut-wrenching climax that features some of the best gunplay ever put on film.

While slow-moving and melodramatic in parts, A Better Tomorrow is simply one of the best action/dramatic films ever made. ABT made stars out of Chow Yun-Fat (who gives a great performance) and John Woo (who would later be credited with kick-starting the "heroic bloodshed" genre), and the action scenes (particularly the one where Mark takes out a restaurant full of gangsters) are phenomenal. Don't let those jaded old-timers on usenet fool you -- ABT is still a great film some fifteen years after its' premiere.


Interesting trivia:

Thanks to King of Gunfire for this info:

Some thoughts by Woo about A Better Tomorrow from an interview in Asian Pop Cinema [© 1999 Chronicle Books]...

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