Bullet in the Head
awards and festivals
After "The Killer," Tsui Hark and John Woo went their separate ways. Interestingly, both artists decided to make films about Vietnam, but each according to his own vision. Tsui continued the adventure with "Better Tomorrow," making its feminist prequel. Woo's vision was a fresco showing the horrors of war and its influence on the people it impacted. It was, by far, the most expensive picture made in Hong Kong before 1990, and the director had to fund most of the production himself. Without the support of Tsui, a highly influential persona in the Hong Kong film circles, Woo was cut out from other fund sources.
The result is an epic film, very different from Woo's other pictures – moving, very personal, at times autobiographical. It has spectacular, beautifully choreographed shootings, a different king of violence is the most memorable – realistic, painful, leaving its mark on the protagonists' psyche.
The "Bullet" opens with social sequences unusual for the director's work, largely inspired by his difficult childhood. It's 1967. Ah Bee, Fai, and Little Wing, friends from the poor outskirts of Hong Kong, spend their time clashing with an enemy gang. When Fai kills one of his rivals, the friends decide to flee together to Vietnam, ridden by war and chaos. The aim is to avoid death and make a quick dollar on selling deficit goods. But when they are thrown right in the middle of a military conflict, their exciting adventure turns into a nightmare. Surviving in this world is not easy – can friendship and loyalty survive as well?
The film echoes "The Deer Hunter," "Once Upon a Time in America," and "Mean Streets." War sequences were inspired by the iconic images from Vietnam, but the film comments also on the Tienanmen massacre, which took place a year before, and deeply moved the filmmaker. It is the personal approach of the director that made "Bullet In The Head" the humanistic masterpiece, a meditation on the insanity of war.
Born in 1946 in southern China, raised in Hongkong. Started his career as an assistant of the director in the legendary Shaw Brothers Studio (he worked with Chang Cheh, the legend of wuxia cinema). He debuted in 1973, but the breakthrough came only in 1986, with "A Better Tomorrow," made with Tsui Hark. Woo's subsequent Hongkong films confirmed his reputation of the master of action sequences. After 1992, he moved to Hollywood and gained acclaim for "Face/Off" and "Mission: Impossible II." He returned to China to direct his newest, two-part production, "The Crossing."
1986 Lepsze jutro / Better Tomorrow1987 Lepsze jutro 2 / Better Tomorrow II
1990 Kula w łeb / Bullet in the Head
1991 Był sobie złodziej / Once a Thief
1992 Hard Boiled. Dzieci Triady / Hard Boiled
1997 Bez twarzy / Face/Off
2000 Mission: Impossible 2 / Mission: Impossible II
2015 The Crossing