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Musings from the Edge of Forever

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with RONIN ON EMPTY.

Great Moments in Hong Kong Cinema #2: The Final Gun Battle in A BETTER TOMORROW 2


Periodically, Ronin on Empty will be taking a look back at some Hong Kong cinema classics, albeit with a specific emphasis on “Great Moments” — i.e. classic scenes that no Hong Kong cinema fan (old or new) should miss. Of course, “classic” will not only entail super-cool, gobsmacking moments, but also the downright ridiculous stuff, too. The numbers — #1, #2, etc. — are not indicators of ranking, but merely a way to keep a running tally of how many “great moments” we can list here. Readers are welcome to send in their own fave scenes as well.

A Better Tomorrow 2 is not exactly a great film. Aside from Chow Yun-Fat’s “EAT THE RICE!” scene (itself a candidate for a “Great Moment” retrospective), there’s not many memorable moments in the film’s first half. For the most part, A Better Tomorrow 2 seems like a dud, as it doesn’t quite live up to the dizzying heights of its illustrious predecessor. But thankfully, that initial disappointment evaporates the moment the film enters the climax. Almost immediately, director John Woo and producer Tsui Hark are pretty much forgiven for what came before.

This 1987 sequel is capped by an amazing final gun battle, one that I don’t think any film since has ever topped.  A word of warning — parental advisory is suggested for Chinese viewers under the age of 18. After watching Chow Yun-Fat, Ti Lung, and Dean Shek in A Better Tomorrow 2, young viewers may come under the mistaken impression that Chinese men can be shot multiple times and continue fighting as if they had received nothing more than a paper cut.

So be warned. Kids, don’t try this at home.

If you need a primer on what the hell is going on, read my review here.


If Chow Yun-Fat looks a little less than debonair in the photo that begins this blog post it’s because that’s his real reaction. Thanks to a miscalculation, the explosion was much stronger than expected. In other words, he almost got blowed up real good. Way to go, explosive experts.

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