Awesome & Ace Addition!
By Joseph Kuby
from Colne, Britain
, 11 Jul 2005
This film was originally over 3 hours in length and the studio balked at Woo for its length. The problem is that Woo was given a very short time to edit the film and to make matters worse both Woo & producer Tsui Hark had clashed as to how the film should be made so with Tsui being the producer, he had equal control with the editing of this film along with 3 others (Woo being the 5th editor). Woo didn't even know who was editing what.
Needless to say, the editing makes the film incoherent, incomprehensible, inconsistent, inane and insane (not to mention irresolute); which is really a shame as if it was left uncut, it could have been a classic. At best, the recent/regular version is a cult classic but even in it's hideously cinematically disfigured form, the film still has shades of bravado even if those shades are merely shadows of its former brilliant self.
The music cues from 52 Pick-Up are inspired and really help to elevate the excitement and adrenaline rush (particularly during a prolonged shootout/car chase in the streets of daytime New York).
Besides having one of the most bloodiest shootouts ever shot on film, it also has one of the best set-ups/double crosses I've ever witnessed on celluloid.
It helps that Chow Yun Fat's usage of a shotgun rivals that of Bronson's in Mr. Majestic and Arnie's in Terminator 2.
The addition of comedy was a welcome touch to this film and just seeing Chow, Leslie, Ti, Kenneth Tsang and Dean Shek side by side in the same scene (and shot) really gave it that special event feeling and thus increasing the momentum & fun factor of the story - leading to the build-up of a horrific yet hilarious showdown.
The killer with the white gloves is a nice throw-back to Le Samourai, whilst also a foreshadowing to The Killer (a Chinese remake of Le Samourai).
The shot where Dean Shek's character Lung is sprayed in the face with a hose by a little girl was influenced by one of the first short films ever created, the Lumiere brothers' Watering The Gardener (a.k.a. The Sprinkler Sprinkled).
The scene where Leslie faces off against the hitman (with intercutting shots of his pregnant wife in hospital giving birth) was no doubt taken from the Spaghetti western, Keoma.
A Better Tomorrow 2 not only inspired the dual gun action and looks of the Reservoir Dogs characters (although the look initially came from Le Samourai), but even the crazy dialogues which Tarantino is infamous for as seen & noted in the rice scene where Chow force-feeds an Italian New York-based mafioso to devour rice (the humourous black cop was a wonderful addition as well as Chow's comic touches - which is saying something as I was really just expecting it to be more of a serious scene with brief touches of darker than dark/black & bleak humour).
I think even the ending inspired Tarantino's for his directorial debut although the ending for Ringo Lam's City On Fire (the main inspiration for Reservoir Dogs) equally holds that honour as well!
This is just proof that Woo is capable of inspiring people through words besides actions.
Though speaking of actions, not only did Woo inspire himself for the sliding-down-a-staircase-with-dual guns for his action masterpiece Hard Boiled but even Keenen Ivory Wayans decided to follow suit for his film A Low Down Dirty Shame.
Considering the usage of irony in this film (which I mentioned in my review of the first film), it's ironic that Ng Man Tat gives a villainous performance which foreshadows his comic genius in his Stephen Chow outings (funnily enough, Stephen had appeared in Woo's Just Heroes).
The film is certainly not action lacked as there's 13 action sequences as opposed to the 5 in A Better Tomorrow.
Fun, funny, frenetic, fast-paced, feverish, fervent, furious and utterly & ultimately fantastic......what more could you possibly want?!
Overall a great follow-up to a classic film!
- Was this review helpful to you?
(12) Yes |