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新英雄本色 (1994)
Return to a Better Tomorrow

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/17/2005

A low level Triad named Lobster (Lau) rises to the top of the ranks after his boss Chun (Cheng) is framed for cocaine smuggling and must flee to the Mainland. Chun finds out that the Big Brother, Wei (Lam) was the one who set him up -- not only that, he also raped and tortured his girlfriend Chili (Yau) to boot. Upon his return to Hong Kong, Chun tries to convince Lobster that the same thing will happen to him unless they take revenge on Wei.

Except for some similarities in the plot, Return to a Better Tomorrow really doesn't have anything to do with John Woo's classic A Better Tomorrow. Ekin Cheng may try to look cool but he sure as hell isn't Chow Yun-Fat. But director Wong Jing has never been one to shy away from some cheap publicity, so the title stuck, I guess. At least it's not as shameless an attempt to cash in on Woo's name as another Wong Jing film, The Last Blood (called Hard Boiled 2 for international release) which had absolutely nothing to do with Hard-Boiled.

So what we have here is yet another "disgraced Triad getting revenge" film coupled with a typical Wong Jing script, which means the movie runs all over the place. The resolution of RTABT leaves huge plot holes, which are wrapped up with a quickie scene that brings no sense of closure to the film. I could have done without the numerous subplots as well, such as one where Chun gets nose cancer. They really add nothing to the film, mostly because they are resolved so quickly or just dropped altogether. Normally, Wong's schizophrenic style works (for some ungodly reason) very well. I think the main problem with RTABT in this sense is the editing. Most of Wong's movies move so quickly that you really don't notice the plot inadequacies. However, in this film, the pacing really slows down at times. This hampers the film as a whole, since Wong's "blitzkrieg" style of film-making is lost.

The acting in RTABT is pretty bad as well. When you have Michael Wong (who plays a Triad rat) and Ekin Cheng as two of your leads, you're asking for trouble. They're considered to be two of HK's worst actors and they do nothing to improve their standing here. Wong delivers half his lines in English and still manages to screw them up, while Cheng does his standard wooden "best." The other actors seem to be phoning in their lines. Chingmy Yau doesn't even manage to deliver good eye candy after the first two acts of the film. Even Lau Ching-Wan is fairly bad (at least compared to some of his other work). Why you would try making one of your lead characters in a film like this buffoonish comic relief is beyond me. I got so sick of his incessant mugging I was glad when some bad things started to happen to him. The only decent actor in the movie is Ben Lam, who always seems to put in a good smarmy villanious performance.

What saves RTABT (and what actually makes it a fun movie to watch) is the action. Wong Jing might not be the world's best script writer (though he has done some good work in the field, this isn't his best by any means), but he sure can create some great action sequences. The gunfights in RTABT are very well done -- not as good as Woo's, mind you -- but they're exciting enough that you forget the crap which surrounds them. Wong even tries to one-up Woo by having Chun fight with dual shotguns. Ben Lam shows off some formidable kicks as well, though poor Ekin isn't much of an opponent. Be warned, though -- the violence may be too much for some. Wong pulls no punches in this department. People don't just get shot, they get turned into bloody pulps. Women and even children are subject to gory deaths, though there's nothing quite as grisly as the "fetus in a jar" bit from God of Gamblers Returns.

If you're expecting an action movie with intelligence, look elsewhere. But if you're willing to forgive some (well, a lot) of shortcomings for the sake of intense action, give Return to a Better Tomorrow a try. File this one under the "guilty pleasure" file and have a good time.

[review from]

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 07/28/2002
Summary: Pretty good

From the other reivews i read i was expecting this movie to be pretty bad but maybe my low expectations of it made me like it.

This movie is jammed packed with stars.
Ngai sing and Ben Lam are excellent villians. Ngai sing always did have a demented look to him and plays his role very well. Lau Ching Wan is good as usual but Micheal Wong doesn't appear until the last 30 minutes. HE plays the likes a token strong white guy in this movie but when he flexes his muscles, there ain't much to see.

OH a little about this movie, triads and betrayal and revenge, enough said!!


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/13/2002
Summary: Wong Jing as John Woo

Firstly, despite the title in Chinese is 'Ying Hung Bon Sik'(English as A Better Tomorrow), this is NO return, don't think this is part of the Better Tomorrow series, it's just another Wong Jing rip off (done plenty of times by the master of no origiality). In all honesty, this is more like 'Young & Dangerous' which also stars Ekin Cheng.

I think this was the first time I saw Lau Ching Wan as a bad guy, his usual role is of a comedien or a serious acting part, but he is a gangster in this, and actually does the job very well. He is very good here. Chingmy Yau on the otherhand is not (I think Wong Jing had a think for her, she appeared in well over 50% of his movies). The story is of gangsters and betrael, nothing new, but worth watching.

Rating: 3/5

(This rating is based on the year & genre, so don't think it's based as a comparison on new releases etc.)

Reviewed by: Fatty
Date: 02/17/2001
Summary: Pretty good film....

When I first watched this, I thought I was gonna watch another sequel for "A Better Tomorrow" but instead it was something different, and in a way, I really did enjoy this film.

Now to me the story is somewhat like "A Better Tomorrow" Gangsters kick ass, mess up a job then 3 years later, alot of things change sort of like "Return".

The Movie has some great Actors aswell, Lau Ching Wan did a good job as Lobster(Odd name) and Ekin Cheng as the Triad Leader who's Boss wants him dead. It was cool watching as Wan's Character became somewhat of a goofball to a Triad Leader in the span of 2 years, pretty good if you ask me. Ekin did a good job as Chun, but he wasn't the best. I really didn't know the other people in this movie except for Micheal Wong.

Now for the plot, well I have seen it before but this way a cool Variation of "ABT" we see peeps with 2 Shotguns. Somewhat good gunbattles and crazy named Triad guys killing each other. In all good fun but I have seen it before. It it was alittle more Innovative and creatvie then it would've been better. But still good fun..

In all Return to a Better Tomorrow is a quite a good film with some good acting somewhat good plot and some nice action. A good time for 2 nights if you ask me.


Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

It wasn't too bad. Not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, but not a disaster either. A few points: This movie has nothing to do with any Mark or Ho or Kit or Ken. Looks like the title was a effort to bring in people looking for a sequel. Not that much goofy humour. As a matter of fact very serious toward the beginning with Lau Ching-wan finding out about his daughter being abused. Yau Suk Ching is one beautiful lady, good to see doing drama as well as the glamorous stuff. Is this the first time she played a heroin addicts? Some problems that I had with the movie were characters having stupid names [Holland Boy, Chilli, Boston Lobster], the leading man lacked charisma and a haircut, and the main bad guy lacked menace.

[Reviewed by Anonymous]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

Rivers of blood flow in this meandering saga, shot inMurk-o-Vision, about a principled triad boss (Jeff Lau) who's set up for elimination by his own organization after he's outlived his usefulness. Bullets and spent shells fly everywhere in this one. Chingmy Yau (finally) evolves into a top-flight HK actress in her heroic/romantic/tragic role as the boss' fiancee turned junkie.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 6