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Y (1990)
Bullet in the Head

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 07/13/2010
Summary: in this world, we can do anything if we have guns...

hong kong, like many other places in the mid-to-late 1960's, is experiencing a period of transition: socially, economically and politically. three friends, ben (tony leung), frank (jacky cheung) and paul (waise lee), seem oblivious to this as they coast through life; drinking, acting the fool, dancing, romancing and involving themselves in petty fights over their turf. despite their apparent lack of ambition and prospects, the three have not resigned themselves to a life where they struggle to make ends meet.

things change when ben decides to marry his sweetheart, jane (fennie yuen); frank funds the wedding banquet by visiting a loan shark, but is jumped by a local hood, ringo (yee tin-hung), on his way to join the party. he makes it to the banquet, along with the money, although he has sustained a nasty head wound. whilst paul talks of illegitimate business opportunities, ben quizzes frank on the origins of his injuries. when frank reluctantly tells ben of his run in with ringo the two set out to take revenge, but events soon spiral out of control and ringo ends up dead.

wanted for murder, pursued by ringo's gang and the loan shark, the three decide to flee hong kong for vietnam. ben, frank and paul take the opportunity to make some money as they go, smuggling medication that is to be sold on to the north vietnamese. the journey to vietnam goes smoothly, but the deceptive peace of saigon is soon shattered when they get caught up in a bombing, which destroys their cargo and leaves them high and dry. when the three meet up with their middle-man, luke (simon yam), they hatch a plot that starts by pitting them against mr leong (lam chung), the vicious gangster whom their cargo was to be sold to, and ends up testing their friendship's limits as they encounter gangsters, a box of gold, corrupt soldiers, a fallen pop idol from hong kong and the viet-cong.

'bullet in the head' is a film that its director, john woo, describes as his equivalent to francis ford coppola's 'apocalypse now', both in terms of the film's scope and the toll that the project had on him personally. that may be a slight overstatement, but it is a film that was dogged with trouble throughout its pre-production, shooting and after its release. initially, along with producer tsui hark, woo envisioned the film as a prequel to 'a better tomorrow', but a falling out prevented this and resulted in woo working on the project, and funding the majority of it, by himself. when woo had finished editing the film, it ran to around three hours in length; golden princess insisted that woo cut the film, to a more audience-friendly length, and a two hour cut is what eventually reached the screen. even at this length, the film wasn't a hit; it was thought to be far too depressing and its referencing of the tienanmen square massacre didn't sit well with audiences.

opinions on 'bullet in the head' are distinctly polarised; people seem to label it as woo's masterpiece, a work of genius, or the epitome of his self-indulgence, messy and poor. personally, i can agree with both sides of the argument as the film swings from the sublime to the ridiculous but, overall, it is a film that i really enjoy watching.

the opening of the film is where i believe its editing has caused the most damage; the establishing of the relationship between its three main protagonists seems to be dominated by twee montages, including a violent clash with ringo's gang, up to the wedding banquet, when the tone of the film settles down. still, in a strange way, this first twenty-five minutes does its job; establishing the three characters, whilst painting a picture of hong kong in the late sixties. it also works to disorientate the viewer as, when the tone settles, the gritty drama appears all the more hard-hitting as a result. whether this is deliberate or not, i'm not sure. what is certain, though, is that when ben, frank and paul arrive in vietnam, the film really takes off; the characters develop, the narrative arc is in full flow and the gun-play, for which woo is famed, comes thick and fast.

as you'd expect, woo again looks to explore the nature of friendship, loyalty and the ethics of men who inhabit the fringes of society. through his casting and writing, he has much success here. tony leung puts in the kind of performance that is expected of him, he makes ben a model of integrity and honour, in the understated manner anyone who is familiar with his work would recognise. jacky cheung, in a role that won him a hong kong film awards : best actor nomination, is probably doing the best work he's ever done here; his portrayal of frank, a simple, honest man, who undergoes more than his share of hardship, is delivered without the melodramatics that it would be so easy to fall in to. waise lee's paul, a man blinded by a desire for wealth, is convincing in a role that requires him to fall from grace when intoxicated by the prospect of personal gain.

as well as the three main performers, simon yam and yolinda yan deserve a lot of credit. simon yam's luke, a man who is seemingly lost; struggling to reconcile his inner desire to be a good man and his life as a gun for hire, powerless to change for the better, he drifts through life with a cosmopolitan swagger. i don't think he's ever been cooler, than he is in this role. yolinda yan is stunning as the film's fallen angel; a once innocent princess of hong kong pop, now trapped in a seedy world of drugs and prostitution, emits a glacial beauty from within her tragic existence.

once the film finds its feet, the narrative moves smoothly and swiftly through the vietnamese underworld, showing a country that is being torn apart by the waring factions and its seedy underbelly. as our three friends move from hong kong, they are faced with a series of encounters, obstacles and trials, each escalating in intensity and testing the bond that exists between them. woo manages to sustain a pace that is almost unrelenting throughout the majority of the film, only replacing the action and drama with a more emotionally intense finale. although, whether you agree with this statement may depend on which ending you watch; both are presented on most releases, usually as a bonus feature. the joy sales version gives you the option to select which ending you view the film with, though. personally, i prefer the ending known as the "boardroom" ending; it keeps with the pacing of the film and just feels right. the standard ending just seems to lose the plot, as far as i'm concerned; it's messy, it feels as if it was contrived to simply include a more action heavy finale and strays towards being a little silly.

as for the film's action, fans of woo's frenetic, balletic shoot-outs will not be disappointed. the film opens with a rather uncharacteristic rumble between the main characters and some local hoods, although the cheesy rendition of the monkees' 'i'm a believer' behind a rather full-on street fight, is a little odd. the following encounters the escalate, to what you'd be expecting from woo; from a bloodier, grittier fight with the local hoods, a confrontation in a saigon nightclub (my favourite!), a riverside entanglement with the vietnamese army and, almost, all out war with the viet-cong. all of which add to woo's reputation: they are as stylish, inventive and have body counts to rival any of his previous, or subsequent, efforts.

it's not my favourite woo film (that would be 'the killer', very closely followed by 'hard boiled') but, all things considered, this film is a 'must see' for any fan of john woo or hong kong cinema. sure, it's uneven at times and you can say that its beginning, and to some degree its end, could be stronger, but what comes in between is almost all gold; be it the performances, the epic journey that the three friends undertake, a box of actual god, the action set-pieces or the pints of urine.

as for the dvd release from joy sales; if you're familiar with their recent batches of remasters then you'll know that there have been a few quality control issues. luckily, this set gets a proper slip-case, with new art-work, and a synopsis that isn't a bit of paper glued to the back of a generic slip-case. the film itself is presented in three different forms: the standard 130 minute cut, that has been available for some time; the standard cut, with the alternate "boardroom" ending; and, the standard cut, with deleted scenes re-inserted into it.

i'll be kind and start by saying that the crisp anamorphic (1.85:1) presentation and the choice of dolby dts cantonese or dolby 5.1 mandarin, as well as the original dolby mono cantonese, audio tracks are tip-top; even if you can only watch the version with the deleted scenes with the mono track. the subtitles are pretty good, although the odd typo does sneak in, although i can forgive that. just. if you're watching the version with the alternate ending, then be aware that the quality of the sequence is closer to vhs quality, than it is to dvd, but, it's the ending that i prefer and i'll forgive it as, it is perfectly watchable.

now, everything has been pretty rosy so far, even if you can only watch the version with the deleted scenes with the mono track, but that is about to change, when discussing said version. joy sales, what the hell were you thinking? come on, answer me, damn it!!! having enjoyed seamless branching on dvds in the past, i expected the same from this release. i was wrong. if your dvd player pauses, ever so briefly, when layer transitions occur, then you'll experience this at every branch. now, you're probably thinking that is isn't so bad, at least i'm getting to see these scenes that were thought to have vanished from the face of the earth; if that's the case, then you're wrong. very wrong.

the quality of these scenes, like the quality of the alternate ending is, on the whole, closer to a good vhs standard, although a few are like a below average vhs. what is unbelievable, though, is the quality of the scenes themselves, apart from one scene, they simply don't merit being called scenes at all. of the four and a half minutes of re-inserted footage, there is only one scene, which actually merits that label. what we are given is an extra shot here, an extra shot there, a repeated line of dialogue here, a wide shot there; mostly, these sections last for a few seconds only and add absolutely nothing, whatsoever, to the viewing of the film. in fact, when combined with pause that begins and ends each one, they are bloody annoying. it absolutely beggars belief that someone thought it was a good idea to create this version, in this fashion, and it is astounding that it has actually been released. what the hell were they thinking?

moving swiftly on, you're probably thinking; 'what about the infamous "piss-drinking" scene?' well, of all the re-inserted footage, this is the only material that is actually a scene and has any merit in it's content. it's not the greatest scene you'll ever see, if you've built it up in your mind, you'll be disappointed, if not, then it serves to add a little more to the relationship between the three main characters. all in all, it is not worth watching the whole of this version of the film, unless you're doing it to laugh at joy sales or you have a morbid curiosity, that isn't satisfied by watching the same scenes on the second disc.

the second disc, which is fully subtitled, contains standalone versions of the alternate endings and the deleted scenes, a bizarre documentary about guns, which seems to be there to fill up some space on the disc, and a reasonable interview with waise lee. when it comes down to it, the only thing that makes this edition worth buying, over the other versions, is the chance to see some "piss-drinking" and the choice of watching three different versions of the film with (not quite) seamless branching.

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 07/16/2008
Summary: 7/10 as cinematically subtle as the title, but also as intense

BITH is John Woo's attempt to make a film as powerful and profound as Deer Hunter. He succeeds in the power, with some incredibly intense scenes, but fails in the profundity because of a complete lack of subtlety. Now the disregard for subtlety is one of the things I like about HK cinema as a whole, but it's clear Woo wants to be taken seriously here, as an artist with something to say about the human condition, but he doesn't have the maturity to pull it off. He does have a talent for adrenaline and testosterone-melodrama though, and the film delivers on that in buckets - after about 1 hour in it just builds and builds in intensity. I'd like to see the original "boardroom ending", as the tacked on car joust is really just too daft!

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 05/02/2007
Summary: Somewhat overrated?

I won't deny Bullet in the Head of its (occasional) powerful impact... but calling it John Woo's best and one of HK cinema's finest, I certainly did not get that impression when I viewed it. Some of the scenes described by others to have left scars and deep impressions, I simply did not feel the intensity thereof. I agree with reviewer jfierro that John Woo doesn't resort to much subtlety. Everything is in-your-face. The insertion of the final sequence of the boys gaily riding their bicycles feels incredibly contrived.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Libretio
Date: 10/12/2005
Summary: The greatest HK movie ever made


Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Sound format: Mono

Fleeing from a murder rap during the political turmoil of 1960's Hong Kong, three devoted friends (Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Jacky Cheung and Waise Lee) seek their fortunes in war-torn Vietnam and are ripped apart by greed and betrayal.

John Woo's ambitious movie - an operatic valentine to his youth in HK and his love of David Lean epics, and a response to the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 - went over-schedule and flopped at the local box-office when released in 1990, but has since been recognized as one of the finest productions in HK film history. Newcomers Leung, Cheung and Lee are terrific as the three friends whose lives are devastated by the violence they encounter in a foreign land, and they're matched throughout by Simon Yam as the Eurasian hitman who rescues them from the worst of their experiences. For all its explosions and gunplay, however, BULLET IN THE HEAD is a very human drama, played out against the vast backdrop of the Vietnam conflict, and invested with a palpable sense of love and compassion for its leading characters. Cinematography and editing are world-class, and Woo's dark-hearted script (co-written by Patrick Leung and Janet Chin) incorporates the themes of loyalty and brotherhood which have shaped and defined all of his films since A BETTER TOMORROW (1986). Cheung's final scene is absolutely heartbreaking; classic score by James Wong and Romeo Diaz.

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: balstino
Date: 06/04/2003
Summary: Not classic Woo action wise, a different type of film.

The action here is not as stylised as other Woo films. It's the relationships and characters in the movie that are his signature. Due to the subject, this has a disturbing atmosphere, something along the lines of the Deer Hunter. The story is pretty good and overall it is a respectable effort, but a bit too grim for multiple viewings. I wouldn't exactly call it entertaining either. Watch it and decide for yourself.

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 01/25/2003

John Woo's most nihilistic piece of filmmaking draws on inspiration from "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948) and "The Deer Hunter" (1978). Comparatively, "Bullet in the Head" doesn't hold a candle to either classic though it has few peers in the heroic bloodshed subgenre.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: phil28
Date: 01/24/2003
Summary: One of Woo's best ever

John Woo directs another great film about the importance of brotherhood. Set in the bloody backdrop of the Vietnam War, three close friends embark on a journey that will change their lives forever. This film will give you the suspense, the violence you may expect from a John Woo film, but it will bring you to tears as well, especially the last lot of scenes. One scene to point out that's quite disturbing: a student stands in front of a war tank in protest, "Peace, No War", so similar to the man to stood in front of the war tank during the Tiananman Square Massacre. Probably that's one of the principal reasons why this film didn't do so well at the box office. The June 4 incident is still fresh in the minds of the Hobg Kong people. Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Jacky Cheung and Waise Lee has done great job in portraying the three main characters. Simon Yam and the supporting cast done a marvelllous job too. This film will have an indelible impression on you forever.

Reviewed by: Waiguoren99
Date: 07/10/2002
Summary: Woo's best and most uncomfortably violent film

In 1967 three buddies from Hong Kong, Ben (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), Frankie (Jacky Cheung), and Paul (Waise Lee) get into trouble after Ben's marraige. Their need to escape from justice sends them to war - torn Vietnam as smugglers. After meeting Luke (Simon Yam), a suave ex - CIA agent, they steal a chest of gold bullion from the local triad boss and his South Vietnamese Army cronies. While trying to escape they are caught and tortured both physically and mentally by the North Vietnamese. The gold becomes both a testing ground for the friendship between the three young men and the vehicle for betrayal and tragedy.

This epic, John Woo's most uncomfortably violent film (especially the scenes from the Viet Cong prisoner - of - war camp), is often compared to THE DEER HUNTER. The script is very well constructed both as a complex character study as well as a study of the effects of greed and violence on the human soul. The level of that violence is stunning, but each scene of violence ties to the next, and all are critical for their eventual psychological effects on each of the three men. The acting by all three principals is outstanding, with special mention for Jacky Cheung. More often seen in comedy roles, his portrayal of a man in the extremity of pain and despair is searing. This is one of Waise Lee's best and most complex performances. Simon Yam, more famous for psychopathic characters, is wonderful. And as one of the great chameleon actors of our times, Tony Leung Chiu-wai's performance as Ben anchors the film. Woo's directing is, as expected, faultless. The violence is meant to be terribly distressing; if you can cope with that, this is a superior film, not to be missed. Five out of five.

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: grimes
Date: 02/17/2002

Except for a few little nits I have to pick with this film, Bullet in the Head is almost my favorite John Woo film (nearly
dethroning The Killer.) However, those nits are there so it will have to rank with Hard Boiled in a tie for number two.

Bullet in the Head follows three buddies, Ben, Frank, and Paul. They are ne'er-do-wells in a very fifties type of way. The
opening of the film is a fantastic montage of different scenes of them getting in fights, hanging out with each other, and
dealing with their families. The way it was filmed was something like West Side Story or The Outsiders à la John Woo. Very
cool. This whole montage is largely without dialogue and is set to the movie's theme music (it's kind of the "buddies theme"
which, while not bad, has a phrase that kept reminding me of Happy Birthday!).

Being ne'er-do-wells, they swiftly get in serious trouble and end up running to Vietnam, where they think they will make
their fortune in the chaos of the war. Obviously this is a foolish idea but these three are extremely naive. Of course, this is
part of their charm. They haven't experienced nearly enough to be hardened to violence and they aren't fundamentally evil.
This naiveté is challenged over the course of the film.

John Woo's depiction of Vietnam is intense, to say the least. He does not shy away from showing the brutality of war. One of
the things that I really liked about this film is that it avoided portraying the war as black and white. The vietcong are
certainly portrayed as sick, horrible people, but their opponents don't fare much better. We see that war is not so much
about the soldiers, but about what it does to everyone involved.

It is the three's time in Vietnam that occupies the bulk of the film. Soon after arriving in Vietnam, they hook up with Luke,
played by Simon Yam (in what I is one of his best performances that I have seen) and decide to rob a powerful local gangster.
Soon after, they're on the run from his henchman, straight into the war zone.

Their experiences in Vietnam puts their friendship to the ultimate test. Friendship and bonding between men is one of
John Woo's favorite topics, and this film is probably his best realization of that subject. The most powerful moments are not
from the almost constant violence, but between Ben, Frank, and Paul. This film has been compared to The Deer Hunter,
which I have yet to see. However, just by reading about it I can see that there are probably similarities.

Tony Leung Chiu-Wai is a great actor, and he does not dissapoint here. Jacky Cheung, who seems to always play the buddy,
is good but overdoes it in some of the more intense scenes in the movie. It's not horrible but a little more restraint would
have made these scenes that much more effective. Waise Lee (?) was good but is in the film more out of a narrative necessity
than as an independent character in his own right. There are, as often seems to be the case in John Woo's films, no
significant female performances. The longest, Fennie Yuen's portrayal of a club singer, gets about 15-20 minutes of screen

Despite its flaws (some overacting and an annoying ending), this is a great movie and one of John Woo's greatest
achievements. Bullet in the Head has more character development than most of his other films, but it also features several of
his trademark 'ballets of violence'. In addition, there is his extremely powerful portrayal of a wartime society. Definitely not
for the gun shy, but otherwise recommended.

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 02/15/2002
Summary: Pretty good

I can't remember much about this movie apart from it being worth watching and it being very violent.

The one thing i didn't like about the movie was (SPOILER) how Jacky Chueng dies, because if your disabled mentally, he will NEVER think normally again and him saying JUST kill ME was just too unbelievable for me!!

Apart from that, the movie is very moving and emotional. VEry strong performances for all involved makes this worth watching!!


Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/12/2002
Summary: Better than A Better Tomorrow!

There is not a lot I can say that anyone else has not said before, it really is a good movie. To me, this rates higher than A Better Tomorrow, which seems everyones favorite.

A very powerful story which keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole way. This is one of the few movies where you can't predict what is going to happen next.

A definite buy!

Rating (of 5): 5

(This rating is based on the year & genre, so don't think it's based as a comparison on new releases etc.)

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: alienlord
Date: 04/30/2001

Shocking, ultra-violent, film saga about a group of friends who go to Vietnam to make it big, but end up getting caught in the middle of a raging war. Intense, action scenes followed by dramatic showcases by the talented cast put this seemingly real film above any other friendship-tested-to-the-limits actioneer.
*** and a half/4

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: nomoretitanic
Date: 03/06/2001
Summary: What's this?

I expect a lot from John Woo movies. He's got them all going on: the actions, the metaphors, the script, the relationships and the badass attitude. While Bullet in the Head MAY seem to possess all those qualities, they're only on the superficial levels. It's a movie full of self-righteous Tienenmen Sqaure homages (Vietnamese student protestors chanting and being ran over by tanks), overacting (Jacky "I Sing High" Cheung), overused irony (The Monkees tune "I'm a Believer" is used no less than three times here in contrast with, gasp, ugly violent images!) and an overly foreshadowed plot twist (three friends vow to stay togehter, but one of them is obsessed with money--wonder if he's going to sell out huh?).

The actions here of course, is solid (the end, the out-of-place car chase in the original HK cut is very impressive and self-contained), but it reminds me a lot of a far less ambitious but far more entertaining Eastern Condors. The Deer Hunter homages are there too, but this movie is NO Deer Hunter. The development is very predictable, but smooth. The characters move from point A to point B without big jumps. Tony "Chunking Express" Leung is solid here as our main character losing innocence but keeping integrity. Jacky Cheung gets very annoying in the second and the beginning of the third act, and Waise Lee here reprises his role in A Better Tomorrow, pretty standard I thought.

That is it, I would not recommend this as a deep involving movie, if you are drawn into it, more power to ya, but a John Woo flick looking like this is not cutting it for me.

Reviewed by: dragyn
Date: 02/18/2001
Summary: John Woo's Vietnam

John Woo's "Bullet in the Head" stands alone as the most harrowing war movie I have ever seen; it's even more disturbing that Michael Cimino's "Deer Hunter", from which it borrows many elements, and "Apocalypse Now".

Woo's tale begins with three naive young men in Hong Kong, played by Tony Leung, Jackie Cheung, and Waise Lee. We are shown the strong bond between these men very clearly, with lots of trademark slo-mo shots of them laughing and playing togather, until they become like brothers in our minds - a bond which seemes unbreakable.

From the relative peace of Hong Kong, the three are plunged headlong into the shocking, horrifying heart of Saigon in 1967. We get a strong sense that they are young and inexperienced enough to almost believe that they can not be harmed by the violence that surrounds them - that they are indestructable.

But as the intense, brutal war seeps into them, they begin to change, and to gradually turn agaisnt one another in the ultimate destruction of human nature. We are shown all the same cliched visions of war that every other war film has used: prison camps, death, torture. But here. Woo hiehgtens the experience for the watcher by showing us very planly exactly how each terrible event effects the three central characters.

The whole movie is so emotionall powerful because we are shown the destruction of war not through the decemation of millions of faceless victims, but through three characters who we come to car about.

Woo almost had a mental breakdown when making this movie, apparently. He went on to make the superbly silly "Once A Thief" as an antidote.


Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: Souxie
Date: 01/29/2001
Summary: John Woo is a git!!

Okay. I know I'm just a girl but I like John Woo movies. I saw the American releases of Ghost, The English Patient and Gladiator, and none of them made me cry. Then John Woo goes and makes Bullet in the Head and without spoiling the plot for those who haven't seen it, I cried... A lot, and probably not when you thought I would either.
It's a harrowing tale, and for those of you who've seen Apocolypse Now and think that was horrifying, think again. Bullet in the Head was the most shocking film I have ever seen - and not because of the gunplay or the blood or the violence of war, or anything cinema censors go for. It was because friends turned on each other.
Watch this film. You'll be so glad you did.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/21/1999

John Woo's Vietnam epic is a harrowing tale of 3 young men lost in the turmoils of Saigon in 1967. Even with its serious story line this is one of Woo's most over the top movies.


[Reviewed by Andrej Blazeka]

Reviewed by: jfierro
Date: 12/21/1999

I can't believe I'm the only person thought this was a self-indulgent piece of crap. John Woo is the HK equivalent of Oliver Stone when it comes to subtlety. The audience I saw it with was groaning all the way through. Non-stop cliches and over-acting. I originally thought there was no editor on this film, but it turns out it was John Woo himself...what a joke! I liked this film much better when it was originally released by Michael Cimino in 1978 as THE DEER HUNTER.

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 12/11/1999

A masterpiece of a film, paced full of emotion. Perhaps John Woo's most under-rated movie, maybe because it concentrates more on the characters rather than the bloodshed -- though BITH does have its fair share of action.

Reviewed by: leh
Date: 12/09/1999

The basic story was augmented with scenes of war and a terrifying sequence in a prison camp. Woo says the tragedy at Tiananmen Square inspired him to add these scenes, and they are the best in movie.

Reviewed by: hokazak
Date: 12/09/1999

West Side Story + Mean Streets + Deerhunter + Treasure of the Sierra Madres +? [This is the long version, WITH the final outdoors battle betw. Tony and Jacky.]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

A John Woo action film presenting three good friends who went toVietnam in the Sixties and became smugglers. Conflicts concerning money, love and friendship reveal the true personalities of the three.

[Reviewed by Rim Films Catalog]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

I consider this to be Woo's second best film, some consider it his best. A sprawling epic detailing three friends who go to Vietnam during the war to make their fortune and end up losing their innocence. I've heard that this film only costed 6.5 million but it looks 30. Woo's most cinematic and devastating movie.

[Reviewed by John Robert Dodd]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Probably the best John Woo film to date. A cross between "SALVADOR" and "THE DEER HUNTER" a-la John Woo! A very hard and emotional experience. It's a shame that such an incredible film made so little money (the chinese audience, still fresh from the Tianamen incident, thought it was too depressing) It's one of Simon Yam's best performances. A must!! (I am still waiting for a long version) Was nominated for 4 Hong Kong awards.

[Reviewed by Martin Sauvageau]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999

Circa 1967. Inseparable childhood hoods plan to make millions smuggling contraband into Vietnam, but a pretty girl and a chest of gold bullion complicate things. The Vietnam prison camp sequences make similar scenes from The Deerhunter seem pale. Lotsa loud explosions, gunplay, and man-to-man emoting show off John Woo's hemoglobin-intensive brand of melodrama.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 7