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Bullet in the Head (1990)
"Dip huet gaai tau" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  17 August 1990 (Hong Kong)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 7,606 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 39 critic

When three close friends escape from Hong Kong to war-time Saigon to start a criminal's life, they all go through a harrowing experience which totally shatters their lives and their friendship forever.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
Waise Lee ...
...
Fennie Yuen ...
Jane
Yolinda Yam ...
Sally Yen
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Paul's father
Yue Ding
Shek Yin Lau ...
Fatso
Chung Lin ...
Y.S. Leong
Siu Hung Ngan
...
Ben's mother
Hang Shuen So ...
Jane's mother
Wai Man Tam ...
(as Wei-min Tan)
Kan-Wing Tsang ...
Jane's father
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Storyline

In 1967, on the way to the wedding of a friend a young man is accosted by a local gang member. Later, the three friends administer justice, in the process of which the gang member is killed, so they leave Hong Kong to avoid the police and the gang. They run black market supplies to Saigon and get embroiled in the war, being arrested as Viet Cong, then later captured by the Viet Cong, and find that their friendship is tested to the limits as they try to escape. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

17 August 1990 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Bullet in the Head  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (heavily cut) (video)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Woo rewrote much of the script to incorporate his reaction to the massacre in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Woo has described this project as his equivalent of Apocalypse Now (1979), as it had the same exhausting and draining effect on him as that film had on Francis Ford Coppola. See more »

Goofs

When the action moves to Vietnam the movie posters ('Dien Bien Phu', etc.) shown are films that came out well after the Vietnam war was over. See more »

Quotes

Ben: In Vietnam Fai was like a wild animal, you know why? A bullet in the head... why couldn't you shoot straight? Why make him suffer so much?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Carnosaur 3: Primal Species (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm a Believer
Written by Neil Diamond
Performed by The Monkees
S.E. Asia Music
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User Reviews

 
Another exuberant thrill ride from John Woo!
3 March 2005 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

In 1989, John Woo made a film that would simultaneously redefine and reinvent the action genre forever. The film I speak of is, of course, The Killer. Blending a touching storyline with exuberant gunfights, The Killer worked through excess and it was an absolute delight to be behold. It's hard to follow up on something like that, and for his next A-class feature; Bullet in the Head, John Woo wasn't quite able to recreate that what he did so incredibly well a year earlier. However, what he has created is still an excellent thrill ride and one that fans of The Killer wont want to miss! Woo is keen to keep that gang element from The Killer, except this time he fuses it was action from the Vietnam war, and as the story spans across many different locations, it can aptly be considered an epic. We follow the stories of three young men who leave Hong Kong after two of them kill another gang member. They decide to become smugglers and take advantage of the Vietnam War, but little did they know that they would end up in the thick of it.

The film takes obvious influence from the classic Vietnam war dramas such as 'The Deer Hunter' and 'Platoon', but through Woo's stylising, it takes on a life of it's own and stands apart from those films that influenced it. Woo is known for going over the top, and seeing three men in suits in the middle of the Vietnam war is over the top alright! However, also going over the top is the sentiment and I don't know if it's just the way that Chinese translates into English or what, but this film is definitely cheesy! The sentiment boded well in The Killer, but here it definitely doesn't and the film would be a lot better if the amount of sentiment was more realistic. The sentiment messes up the characters as well as the film too, as seeing one or more of them break into great long speeches undermines the fact that they're supposed to be criminals. However, all this doesn't matter once you get into the gun battles; which are incredible to say the least. If it wasn't for the sentiment, it would have been a complete whole; but it's still a damn good movie regardless.


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