Search - Bullet in the Head on DVD

Bullet in the Head
Bullet in the Head
Actors: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Jacky Cheung, Waise Lee, Simon Yam, Fennie Yuen
Director: John Woo
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Military & War
UR     1998     2hr 16min

The 1990 film Bullet in the Head engages at every turn. At once a political epic, a story about childhood friends and loyalty, as well as a tale of corruption and war, John Woo's action-packed face-off contrasts '60s ideal...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Jacky Cheung, Waise Lee, Simon Yam, Fennie Yuen
Director: John Woo
Creators: John Woo, Catherine Lau, Patrick Leung, Wan Allen, Janet Chun
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Hong Kong Action, Indie & Art House, Military & War
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
DVD Release Date: 09/29/1998
Original Release Date: 01/01/1990
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1990
Release Year: 1998
Run Time: 2hr 16min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Japanese, Georgian
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Movie Reviews

John Woo's unparalleled masterpiece
Libretio | 01/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

[Die Xie Jie Tou]

(Hong Kong - 1990)

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Theatrical soundtrack: Mono

Produced in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, John Woo's BULLET IN THE HEAD is both a response to the appalling violence that was taking place in mainland China at the time, and a pointed examination of the director's traditional themes of loyalty and brotherhood and the consequences of betrayal. For all its explosions and gunplay, however, the film is a very human drama, played out against the vast backdrop of the Vietnam conflict, and invested with such a palpable sense of love and compassion for its leading characters and their circumstances that it defies all attempts at categorisation.

The cast is pure gold: Tony Leung (superb as the film's tragic 'hero'), Jacky Cheung (giving a revelatory, career-making performance) and Waise Lee play lifelong friends who flee from a murder rap during the civil unrest of 1960s Hong Kong, only to have their loyalties tested to breaking point by their experiences in wartime Saigon. Overall, the film is less an action-thriller than an operatic valentine to Woo's teenage years in HK and to the personal values which have shaped and defined his films since A BETTER TOMORROW. Only HARD-BOILED comes close to it in terms of greatness, though many people - myself included - would argue that BULLET is not only Woo's finest achievement to date, but also one of the best films ever made, anywhere.
18 minutes cut from this VHS and DVD!
Libretio | 01/24/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Yes its true, unless you saw the movie in its theatrical debut or live in France and happen to own a laserdisc player you have never seen the full version of this film.The full version runs 138 or 135 minutes(depending which ending, there are 2). Its a very different film compared to this hacked up for the rest of the world version. ITS NOT RIGHT! And how about those subtitles? I don't even speak the language and i could have done a better job than that! They even dub Tony Leung in his own language for some beyond strange reason.This DVD is a throw away.Wait and hope until Anchor Bay gets the full print and beefs it up. This is just pathetic."
This is John Woo's version of A Better Tomorrow 3
Dune21 | Paris, France | 03/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I noticed nobody mentions this detail :Bullet in the Head is John Woo's version of the third part of the "A Better Tomorrow" saga... or Tsui Hark's ABT 3 is another version of Bullet in the Head, depending on who you trust.The Amazon review of ABT3 (by David Chute, see elsewhere on this site) states that John Woo wrote the script, but was supplanted by Tsui Hark as director of the movie. There is no hard evidence of this.Apparently, Tsui Hark and John Woo competed to shoot and release their own version of the script of ABT3... I don' know who was faster, but Tsui Hark had the rights to the title. According to articles in the trade specialist press (HK Orient Extreme, possibly the most professional magazine on Asian cinema worldwide), they had worked together on the script before they ended their collaboration. So "A Bullet in the Head" and "A Better Tomorrow 3" are actually 2 versions of the same storyline. The differences and variations, and the way each of these two geniuses shot their own version is quite interesting. For those who know Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), the way each of the two directors shot the outdoor scenes is also quite interesting. Whose version is the best? In any case, the two movies are great, and they are even better when compared to each other (if that makes sense).Who owns the actual story? My personal intuitive inclination goes to Tsui Hark, who was always a better writer than John Woo and had a personal involvement in this story (if I'm not wrong, he grew up in Saigon and witnessed the fall of the city). For one thing, he depicts the city and its people with more empathy and depth than John Woo. But I may be wrong : If someone has the final word or some kind of historical angle on this, please enter your review, I'll be glad to read more on this. If Mr. John Woo or Mr. Tsui Hark would care to comment on this issue on this Amazon site, (you never know, I get lucky sometimes), I think it would be great for all HK cinema fans worldwide."
Joseph Culbert | Minneapolis, MN | 10/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Those people familiar with John Woo's work might know what to expect from this movie -- except you won't. This was one of Woo's final Hong Kong films before he went to Hollywood, and it is rivalled only by his masterpiece "Hard Boiled". But while Hard Boiled offered pure action, Bullet in the Head is an entirely different story. It's neither a typical Vietnam film, nor is it a typical HK action flick -- instead it's a shattering drama about friendship and brotherhood violently destroyed. In the past, to friends who aren't familiar with Woo's work, I've described his films as "chick flicks for guys" -- which is accurate. Woo invokes feelings of fraternity and male friendship like female-oriented movies tend to do for the opposite gender. In Woo's world, violence (even theatric, unrealistic violence) is one of the few ways the male can express his emotions, even if the violence is forced on him by the circumstances. When one friend betrays another -- as happens in this film -- the consequences are staggering. At this point, late in the film, Woo produces the most dramatic scenes ever seen in any of his films. This is my favorite Woo film ever -- and for good reason."