Bullet in the Head (1990)
Director - John Woo
DVD Released by : Mega Star
Player reviewed with : Sony S3000
Receiver reviewed with : Sony 925

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Filmogrophies and Bios
Dolby Digital 5.1
English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean,
Bahasa Malaysia, and Spanish Subtitles
Scene Access
Cantonese or Mandarin Soundtracks
Running Time : 126 mins.
Bullet in the Head is considered by many to be John Woo's best film. The story takes place in Hong Kong, 1967. Three very good friends, Ben, Frank, and Paul need to leave town after Ben and Frank kill a gang member in retribution for a beating he gave Frank. The three decide to try their luck in Vietnam, taking advantage of the chaos that the war has created. While in Vietnam they team up with Luke, who helps them steal a case of gold and rescue a lounge singer in which the friends listened to in Hong Kong. Once the rescue takes place, they are pursued by the military.
This is a classic movie that has been compared to many others but it stands on its own merits. There is plenty of action as well as drama. Woo really takes these three friends and puts them through the ringer. It is obvious from the beginning who will be the betrayer but the telling of the story makes up for it. There are different levels to this film. Woo's personal feelings at the time of filming are obvious in how some scenes reflect the feeling in Hong Kong at the time of filming. These are sometimes obvious but it doesn't detract from the movie.

The overall picture quality is pretty good. I am actually surprised at how vibrant the colors are in the print. The print that was used is in good condition and specks are kept to a minimum. The one problem I did notice was that every once in a while a frame would jump. This is most noticeable towards the beginning of the film although it does occur occasionally towards the ending. Even with this one flaw, the DVD looks better than some of the more recent releases.

The sound is in Dolby Digital 5.1 and does a decent job. There are a couple of times in the movie when the rear speaker kick in with a little ambiance sound. The vocals and the music are mixed well and the soundtrack is free of any hiss or pops. There are some occasions when the sound effects seem a little out of place, sounding to near or far from the action on the screen but overall it's tolerable. This is just another instance when the original mono soundtrack would have been much better than a remix.

The subtitles appear mostly on the picture but there are times when they appear in the bottom black bar. They are relatively free of spelling errors and grammatical errors. They are also in sync with what is being said on the screen.

The extras consist of the usual a trailer, film and character information, as well as a Media Asia promotional trailer.

If you are a fan of the movie, this is most likely the best presentation you will see on DVD at this time. Buena Vista has the domestic rights to it so generally that means they will release a cut version without the original soundtrack. I can't picture this movie with different music. On the plus side, Hong Kong Legends will also be releasing this in the future.

This version of the movie has the car chase scene at the end is the most complete version on DVD. Overall, aside from the occasionally jump in the picture, this is worth getting. This is one of the few movies that has the same impact every time I watch it. The performances are very good. Tony Leung, Jacky Cheung, and Simon Yam all give great performances in my opinion. The more I watch this movie, the more it draws me in.

DVD provided by HKFLIX.COM .