1. Compare the three characters that Chow Yun-fat plays in A Better Tomorrow (Mark), The Killer (Jeffrey), and Hard-Boiled (Tequila). Focus on the sense of morality.
Chow Yun Fat is a well known movie actor in the Hong Kong Film making industry in China. He is able to depict different characters in different movies. The character roles of Chow Yun Fat in The Killer, A Better tomorrow and Hard Boiled depict the variant nature of his ability to adopt different identities. The character of Chow Yun Fat (Jeffrey) in the movie The Killer is that of kind hearted hard core criminal who is being tracked down by a detective known as Li. Li has Jeffrey’s criminal history hence the reason behind his great urge to bring Jeffrey. However, in the tracking process, Li finds himself appreciating Jeffrey’s character which is based on kindness and morality. Li realizes of Jeffrey’s good morals in a variety of incidents. One of the incidents is when he realizes that Jeffrey takes care of a lady; Jennie, whose sight was damaged after a gun fight between Jeffrey and other gang members in a night club. Jeffrey decides to take responsibility of frequently visiting Jennie. On the basis of morality, Jeffrey decides to take one last hit so as to raise money to cater for Jennie’s eyesight problem. The other incident which makes Li appreciate Jeffrey is when Jeffrey takes the responsibility of rushing a young boy who is shot during a shoot out to the hospital. Li’s perception towards Jeffrey changes and this is the reason why the two finally become friends in the end.
Tequila is Chow’s character in the film; Hard Boiled. Tequila is a cop who upholds high moral values in the Hong Kong Police unit. This is contrary to his criminal nature in The Killer. He believes in taking care of the society and eliminating crime in every way possible. Tequila depicts high moral values as a police officer. He is out to revenge the death of his partner Benny who is killed by Wong’s criminal triad. Tequila gets to know that one of the criminals working for Wong is an undercover agent; Tony. In the final scene at the hospital, Tequila and Tony pursue Wong’s hiding zone which is through a passage in a hospital. Tequila depicts high moral values in the society by saving a lot of children and patients who are held hostage in the hospital by Mad Dog. Tequila manages to save the children and his skill as a cop is clearly shown when he places cotton wool in the ears of a baby as the shoot with the gangsters continues. He does this to keep the baby calm and also protect his ear buds.
Similar to The Killer but contrary to Hard Boiled, Chow’s character in A Better Tomorrow is that of a hard core criminal. His character name in the film is Mark. Mark is part of a criminal triad whose aim is all about living a better life in the future. Mark depicts a character ruled by anger hence immorality as he tries to avenge the betrayal of his partner in crime; Ho by Shing. Revenge in the society is considered to be a moral vice hence the notion that Mark shows a high sense of immorality. His anger is brought into control at one point when Ho prevents him from confronting Shing with the aim of killing him. His rebellious nature is also shown when he tries to fight Shing by himself. He is seriously beaten and his Ho is the one who comes to his aid.
In the movie Mark is obsessed with taking revenge against Shing but his close friend Ho is the one who constantly stops him.
2. Compare the three cops in A Better Tomorrow (Kit), The Killer (Inspector Li), and Hard-Boiled (Tequila). Focus on the sense of morality.
The Cop in the movie “A Better Tomorrow” Kit (Leslie Cheung). Kit is Ho’s younger brother and is obsessed with becoming which he finally manages. Kit is also friends with his brother’s close friend Mark. Kit is obsessed with wanting to bring down the famous leader of a criminal triad; Shing. He however does not know that his elder brother, Ho, and his close friend Mark, are criminals who have had dealings with Shing. His character is that of a determined person who wants to achieve the set goals in life. He upholds high moral values hence the reason why he really wants to eliminate the operations of Shing in the society. In the end, the trio; Mark, Ho and Kit, find themselves on the same side fighting against Shing and his gang. Kit decides to use the help of his criminal brother Ho and his counterpart Mark in eliminating Shing.
Inspector Li’s character in the movie The Killer, is similar to that of Kit in A Better Tomorrow and also Tequila in Hard Boiled. Li employs the power of reasoning and rationalism hence the reason behind his good morals. Even after knowing that Jeffrey is a hard core criminal, Li focuses on the good side of Jeffrey during the two incidences of good faith shown by Jeffrey (saving the life of the kid who is shot during a shoot out and wanting to raise money to save Jennie’s eyesight). This realization enables Li come into good terms with Jeffrey specifically in the end of the movie where the two team up against Fung Sei who is the leader of a criminal triad. Li’s relationship with Jeffrey is based on honor and friendship although the bond is strongly created in the last part of the movie. This shows that Li is an honest and honorable person who is considerate and ready to help needy people. His involvement in the final fight is not only to bring down Fung Sei but to save Jennie’s eyesight as well.
Tequila is a cop who upholds high moral values in the film Hard Boiled. This character is similar to the cop characters in A Better Tomorrow and The Killer. Tequila’s strong urge to see to it that justice is administered is what causes him to be suspended by his police boss; Pang. This is when he tries to take revenge on the death of his partner Benny without Pang’s consent. This act reveals that Tequila revokes acts of inhumanity in the society and this is what creates the strong drive to ensure that the gangsters who killed Benny are brought to justice. After his suspension, Tequila decides to pursue the gangsters led by Mad Dog where he accidentally bumps into Tony who is an undercover agent.
The two friends show absolute determination when they pursue the gangsters where a serious gun fight erupts in a hospital. Their high sense of upholding human values is revealed when they save a lot of patients and children who are held as hostages in the hospital by Mad Dog. If Tequila did not have any sense of morality, he would have just pursued the gangsters without considering the hostages. The scene which depicts his high sense of moral values is when he engages in a gun fight while carrying a baby. He ensures that the baby is completely safe by covering its ears from the sound of the gun shots. This shows that Tequila is caring and loving as well.
3. In A Better Tomorrow, The Killer, Hard-Boiled, and As Tears Go By, there are talks about leaving Hong Kong (in As Tears Go By, Wah leaving for a remote island in Hong Kong), are the motives the same? Why didn't the characters leave Hong Kong at the end?
The main protagonists in the four movies talk about leaving Hong Kong. All the characters’ strong urge to leave Hong Kong are based on similar motives. In A Better Tomorrow, Mark, Ho and Kit plan to leave Hong Kong so as to begin new lives. This case is similar to Jeffrey in The Killer, Tequila in Hard Boiled and Wah in As Tears Go By. These characters plan to leave so as to bury their past lives which are entangled with pain and suffering. The characters view the beginning of a new life as the way forward to comfort in life. However, the leaving is not accomplished in the end of the films. This can be attributed to a variety of factors. Their attachment to their past lives is what hinders them from leaving Hong Kong. The events which occur in their lives can be considered as a barrier as well. Jeffrey’s death is what shatters his dream of living Hong Kong with Jennie. Similar cases occur in A Better Tomorrow hindering the characters from leaving attachment. Hong Kong holds the memories of the loved ones of most of the characters in the movies and this can be viewed as one of the solid reason why the characters change their wishes to live Hong Kong.