A Better Tomorrow (HK 1986)

Rating: ***
Producer: Tsui Hark
Director: John Woo
Cast: Leslie Cheung, Ti Lung, Chow Yun Fat, Emily Chu, Waise Lee, cameos by John Woo, Shing Fui On, Tsui Hark

John Woo's breakthrough gangster film that defined the heroic bloodshed genre and catapulted Chow Yun Fat's career into mega-stardom. Brutally violent and awkwardly humorous, but far too melodramatic for my tastes. Leslie Cheung and Ti Lung are brothers, whose father gets killed in a gang related squabble. Ti Lung (in his comeback role) is a tragic gangster desperately trying to go straight while a very young Leslie Cheung is a rookie cop who does his damnedest to be annoying as hell (and he succeeds). Chow Yun Fat is Ti Lung's best friend and partner, and slick Waise Lee sets them both up to take a fall. Naturally, blood and bullets make up the last twenty minutes of the film. Full of John Woo's trademark tragic heroism and explorations of loyalty, honor, and betrayal.