A Better Tomorrow
Time Out saysWoo's career was at its nadir when Tsui Hark brought him into Film Workshop and proposed this 'remake' of Patrick Lung's 1967 movie Story of a Discharged Prisoner (also called Yingxiong Bense - 'The Nature of Heroes' - in Chinese). It's known that Tsui 'helped out' with the direction and editing, but the focus on codes of honour between men and wildly hyperbolic gunplay is 100 per cent Woo. Sung (Ti Lung) and Lee (Chow), traffickers in forged banknotes, are set up for a bust. Sung serves time in Taiwan while the wounded Lee hits the skids in Hong Kong. Three years later they team up to revenge themselves on their betrayer. Matters are complicated by Sung's brother Kit (Cheung, hilariously miscast in a macho role), a cop who blames Sung for the death of their father. Floridly romantic and serenely excessive (men shot a dozen times don't die, guns never need reloading), it has the bravado of a minor classic.