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A Better Tomorrow III (1989)

Cast: Chow Yun-Fat, Anita Mui, Tony Leung Kar-Fai, more...
Director: Tsui Hark
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Tai Seng
Genre: Action, Foreign, Hong Kong
Running Time: 130 min.
Languages: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Korean, Thai, Japanese
    see additional details...

Tsui Hark takes the reigns of this series following a much-publicized rift between himself and John Woo -- the director of the first two A Better Tomorrow films -- to direct this prequel based around Chow Yun-Fat's memorable Mark character. Set in 1974, Mark ventures to Saigon after his cousin, Cheung Chi-mun (Tony Leung Kar-fai), gets into hot water with the local police. Using a contact in the Vietnamese army, the two soon start trafficking black market weapons with a beautiful female assassin named Chow Ying-kit (Anita Mui). After a deal goes horribly wrong, the three -- along with Ying-kit's father -- try to leave Vietnam, only to have Ying-kit be detained by customs. Back in Hong Kong, Mark and Chi-mun set up a small garage. When Ying-kit returns, her old mobster boyfriend, Ho (Saburo Tokito), also makes an unwelcome appearance. Though Ying-kit has fallen for Mark, he refuses to reciprocate because Chi-mun has fallen for her. Ho hates them both and tries to kill them with a well-placed bomb. Though the attempt fails, Ho promises more if the two don't leave town. Instead, Ho leaves for Saigon with Ying-kit who is quietly plotting revenge. Mark and Chi-mun soon follow them, hoping to save Ying-kit and kill Ho themselves. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Decent "Heroic Bloodshed" entry despite the master being gone by toddandsteph October 26, 2006 - 2:06 PM PDT
A Better Tomorrow 3: I have avoided this one like the plague for a long time. If you know me, you know I'm all about A Better Tomorrow 1 and 2. A Better Tomorrow 1 is almost single-handedly responsible for my interest in film. I'd heard all the horror stories about Tsui Hark and John Woo clashing on this script, and Hark canning Woo who by then had enough clout in Hong Kong to make Bullet In The Head, and Hark took his side of the story and made ABT 3. Although Bullet In The Head is a much better film in every conceivable way, imagine my surprise that A Better Tomorrow 3 is a pretty damn good movie. The film centers around a young Mark (played by the Chowtrain himself) and his voyage to Vietnam in the 70s to get his cousin (played by muthaeffin Tony Leung) and his uncle out of the country. Along the way, he naturally gets tied up in gangster business and with a female assassin (RIP Anita Mui). However, this isn't really a bulletfest. There are only 2 extended action set pieces, and although both of these feature high body counts, neither has the punch of Mark blowing away a dozen Triad gangsters in a teahouse or the gang of 3 killing about a thousand Triad and Italian bastards in an 80s mansion in part 2. This is mainly due to the fact that Tsui Hark thinks the secret to Woo's magic is slow-motion, and he uses it. A lot. However, it cannot be denied that the finale with its use of gattling guns and M-16s, is pretty damn exciting. The story has a little bit of levity among all the melodramatic dick action, and you actually care about the characters along the way, which helps. Above all, A Better Tomorrow 3 surprised me. It's not at the tops of HK action (Mr. Woo's work and Eastern Condors beat it as far as gunfire goes), but for an HK action flick at the time, it could've been a crapton worse. *** out've *****

Prequel to A Better Tomorrow is an excellent film by Waiguoren99 April 1, 2003 - 11:52 PM PST
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Tsui Hark took over the directing for this prequel to the series. Shot largely in Saigon, the film's air of utter desperation, especially in the scenes of the violence surrounding the student demonstrations and the final airport scene, must have been strongly influenced by the Tienanmen Square Massacre and the Hong Kong riots, both of which occurred just before production started. Hark's very different style is in evidence here, especially in the strong female presence in the story. Although he attempts the same style of violence, it doesn't have the poetry or the beautiful choreography that is Woo's trademark. The story is strong and well-directed, though, scene framing and lighting is atmospheric, and the acting is as good as it gets. Kudos to Anita Mui, who gives a superb performance, to Tony Leung Ka-fai, who gives one of his better and stronger performances as Mun, to the young actor playing the Vietnamese orphan Uncle Cheung has adopted, who breaks your heart, and to Saburô Tokitô as the ganglord calling himself Ho. But it is Chow Yun-fat who holds the heart of this story together as events make a gentle and somewhat naive guy into the proficient killer we will meet in A Better Tomorrow. An excellent film.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.32)
40 Votes
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