A Better Tomorrow III

Reviewed by: sukting

August 17, 2010

Rating: two

How long
2 hours


It is a loosely based prequel to A better tomorrow. It is a story about Mark in Vietnam before he comes to Hong Kong. The film was directed by Tsui Hark, the producer behind the first two films in the series. Director Woo wrote a screenplay forthis one, but he never got to direct it due to having had artistic differences with Tsui during the filming of the second film. So how did this movie turn out then?

Story/Introduction on characters
Mark (Chow Yun Fatt) goes to Saigon in 1974 and meets with his cousin, Cheung Chi Mun (Leung Kar Fai). Both are only technicans in Hong Kong but Vietnam is having a war. In order to help Chi Mun’s father, Chung (Shek Kin) out of Vietnam, they decide to contact the gangster Chow Ying Kit (Mui Yam Fong) to smuggle U.S. notes. They are ambushed but she saves them.

Ying Kit teaches Mark his gun moves and begins to fall for him, but he is oblivious. Chi Mun also shows interest in her. Both spend a good time in Saigon. The three men return to Hong Kong but the Vietnam immigration officers give them a hard time as they carry too many US. notes. They are successful to get out with Ying Kit’s help.

The men open a car garage but never stop looking for Ying Kit. They are overjoyed when she comes to look for them. To prevent a love triangle from taking place, Mark pretends to sink himself to like other women to upset her. Ying Kit’s long lost boyfriend, Ho Cheung Ching (Tanaka) suddenly appears. He is a gang boss and does not like Mark to romance his ex. He wants to kill them but kills Chung by mistake.

He forces the two men to leave Hong Kong and Chi Mun finally knows that Ying Kit loves Mark. He wants to help them to leave. Ying Kit wants to have a showdown with Cheung Ching since she is responsible for the tragedy. Cheung Ching transfers his asserts to Hong Kong and returns to Saigon with Ying Kit.

Mark goes to Saigon with Chi Mun to look for her. Chi Mun’s whereabouts is unknown after aruging with the Vietnam soldiers when seeing Ying Kit. Mark mistakens that Chi Mun is killed due to her and leaves in a huff. Chi Mun escapes death to tell Mark the truth.

Mark then bears a grudge to confront Cheung Ching to have a showdown. Ying Kit makes her own bomb and wants die with Cheung Ching. Cheung Ching discovers this and escapes. Ying Kit is seriously wounded and Cheung Ching is killed by the rival ganglord. Mark manages to kill the ganglord and now Saigon gets into Vietnam soldiers’ hands. The two men brave the bullets to escape to the airport. When they are about to leave Saigon, the sun sets. While admiring the scene, Ying Kit dies in Mark’s arms.

Most favourite character
It is not Mark but Ying Kit. She is a man wearing a skirt. She is very frank in her speech and is such a talent in using guns. She is beautiful and also feminine to show why 3 men fall for her. I can’t believe that the film claims to shape Mark’s character but more like her character.

Most hated character
Cheung Ching – since he himself has given Ying Kit up, why return to her like a puppy? If not for him, the trouble could have been avoided.

夕陽之歌 or Song of the Setting Sun is sung by the late Mui Yam Fung. It was very well written but I don’t understand why it was not so well received as Chan Wai Han’s version千千闕歌- thousand of songs which had different lyrics.


I heard that Tsui was born in Vietnam so he knows the place well. No doubt Tsui makes the scenes very beautifully shot, I still feel that this is not his best film that he has made so far. The gun scenes lack authentic without Woo’s presence. They become very plain and instill little excitement.

The length does not depict quality. How can two-thirds of the movie be solely on the love triangle? Plus, the men are dependent on a woman for survival. What a disgrace! That definitely contradicts the title. It has not shown why and how Mark becomes a determined man in A Better Tomorrow. We see how evasive he is in love and also how he sinks into despair by believing others easily.

However, I must commend on the powerful acting by the cast. If not, this will remain a second grade mobster movie. Mui is outstanding in her role, towering the other actors. Is the role tailored for her? She proves herself as a credible actress and is no longer a vase. After being duped to watch A better tomorrow 2, I am thankful to choose to watch this film on television. Like A Better Tomorrow 2, the other saving grace is the themesong again. You must keep it among your cds!

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)

On story : ** (Scale of 5)

On songs : **** (Scale of 5)

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