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A Better Tomorrow II is a 1987 action film by John Woo and produced by Tsui Hark. It is the direct sequel to A Better Tomorrow.

After the events of the first movie, Sung Tse Ho (Ti Lung) is offered parole by the HKPD if they agree to investigate his former mentor, Lung Sei (Dean Shek), who despite having retired from the Triad many years ago, is still suspected of counterfeiting. At first, he refuses, but when he learns that his brother Kit (Leslie Cheung) is working on the same case, he changes his mind.

Things went downhill when Lung gets framed for murder, and is shipped to New York for his safety. However, while there, his daughter, Peggy, dies, and he ends up losing his mind and is rescued by Mark Lee's twin brother, Ken (Chow Yun Fat), who owns a restaurant and is constantly harassed by American gangsters. This encounter would lead to Ken meeting up with both Ho and Kit, and the four men decide to band together in order to take down the Triad.


This film provides examples of:

  • Backup Twin: Ken is this to Mark, to the point that he gets mistaken as Mark by both Ho and Kit when they first meet.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Ken, just like his brother. It′s even the exact same coat, with bloodstains and bullet holes.
  • Big Bad: At first, it seems like Mr. Wong is the main antagonist. But he dies early on in the film, and we eventually learn that the real villain is Ko.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Even more so than the first film. Our heroes succeed in taking down both Ko (along with his counterfeiting operation) and the American mobsters, and Ken′s restaurant eventually reopens, but Kit dies shortly after his daughter is born, leaving Jackie as a widower. On top of that, Ho, Ken, and Lung are severely wounded by the end of the film, leaving their fates open to interpretation.
  • Blood Brothers: This time, it′s Ho, Ken, and Lung.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: This movie, simply put, is even more violent than the first one.
  • Boom! Headshot!: How Ko dies, courtesy of Lung.
  • Cool Shades: Again, Ken.
  • Continuity Nod: Many, many times.
  • The Dragon: Chong, the mute assassin.
  • Driven to Madness/Sanity Slippage: Happens to Lung when Peggy, Sam, and the little girl he befriends dies. He gets better though. The reason why this also counts as Driven to Madness? Turns out that this is a part of Ko′s plans.
  • Fat Bastard: Ko.
  • Flashback: The opening scene, which serves as a quick recap.
  • Frame-Up: Happens to Lung by both Ko and Chong.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking
  • Good Shepherd: Sam, a reformed gangster who becomes a Christian priest and a friend of Lung. Too bad he doesn′t last long.
  • Guns Akimbo: Courtesy of Ken, naturally.
  • Happily Married: Subverted. Both Kit and Jackie are now married, but him working undercover as Peggy′s boyfriend puts a strain on their marriage. And by the end of the movie, he′s dead.
  • Heroic Bloodshed
  • Leitmotif: Ken. As with Mark, there are two of them: "Mark′s Theme" from the first movie, and "Birdy′s Flight" by Peter Gabriel.
  • More Dakka: Mini Uzi and MAC-10 machine pistols are both used by the heroes in the final shootout.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. There are two Kens in this movie: Ho′s taxi company employer, who returns from the first movie, and of course, Ken Gor Lee. And both share the same scenes and shots a couple times.
  • Pin Pulling Teeth: Happens all the damned time in the final mansion shootout.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Some of the soundtrack is recycled and/or rearranged from the first movie, which itself also reused songs from other sources.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Lung.
  • Ret-Gone: Averted with Inspector Wu. He intends to retire after solving the case and ends up surviving the entire movie. Ho even tells him not to retire.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Final Battle, where the three remaining heroes storm Ko′s mansion to avenge both Peggy and Kit′s deaths.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Ken uses a SPAS-12 and later on, a Remington Model 31, to great effect.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Kit.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Lung′s shipyard gets booby-trapped by Ko′s henchmen. Also, the many, many explosions that occurred in the Final Battle. One of them even startles Ken - Chow Yun Fat′s reaction in that scene is genuine.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Mark′s theme kickstarts the final shootout.
  • Third Time's the Charm: Ko gets shot by Ken in the right arm, by Ho in the right leg, and finally by Lung in the head, which finishes him off.
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