Bullet in the head is my favourite of all John Woo's films, it gets inside my head everytime I see it and without fail pushes all the little drops of salty water from my eyes. Since it's my pick of Woo's movies I had to have a poster for it but didn't like any of the designs produced for it, until that is I came across this little beauty.
It's a little beat up but this thai poster is absolutely beautiful, it's easily one of the best posters I have and I wouldn't part with it for anything. You can still find them on ebay if you're interested.
Over the years I've had more versions of this movie than just about any other, actually that's not true, that dubious honour probably belongs to either The Killer or Hard boiled but Bullet must be next in line.
I had various bootleg VHS tapes, including one purchased from Eastern heroes head honcho Rick Baker at the Scala cinema in London. That tape had a xeroxed colour cover, pretty decent picture and sound quality but the tape ran out five minutes before the end of the film!
I think the next version was the Hong Kong laserdisc which was obviously a huge improvement except that it was cut to make the film fit on one laserdisc. Next up was the UK Made in Hong Kong VHS (which I still have somewhere but couldn't find for this post) This was more like it, at the time the most complete version available.
At the dawn of the digital age, I picked up the vcd on my first trip to Hong Kong as it was rumoured to have a completely different ending to any version seen before, "The boardroom ending" as it's known. I will save my thoughts on the two endings until I cover the film in depth, I do consider the vcd very worthwhile though.
Shortly after this Megastar issued the first dvd release of the film and typically of early HK dvd releases it was a pretty poor effort, although to their credit it was at least a dual layer dvd. The credit didn't go very far though due to a terrible 5.1 remix of the audio, with no other audio option.
Things got better when Fortune Star remastered the title and it was released by both Hong Kong legends in the UK and IVL in HK. The Hong Kong legends dvd was one of their Platinum collection titles meaning a second dvd of extras, in fact the cover promotes five hours of bonus material, the Bey Logan audio commentary is an excellent listen. The image quality in particular for these releases were a significant jump forward from previous versions. The Hong Kong legends dvd has the best subtitle translation of any version to date.
Not too long after IVL released the remastered dvd, Joy Sales announced a new Ultimate edition, which would insert deleted scenes including the legendary piss drinking scene from the festival print, only ever available on bootleg VHS. The "seamless branching" used to insert the scenes is far from seamless, but it is good to have them included and the general quality of the dvd is pretty good. Some prefer the image quality to the HKL disc, but for me the image is too bright and the red colour balance is off, leaving skin tones looking very pinkish. A very good example of why screen grabs should not be used alone to judge video quality, as in comparison shots the Joy Sales looks better but when viewed in motion the HKL dvd is my much preferred option. The Joy Sales subtitle translation is poor, considering the film was re-translated, the usual grammar issues surface, the subtitles that appear for English dialogue are almost always wrong and most unforgivably one of the most important scenes in the film is ruined. A second disc of extras is included but these pale in comparison to the riches of the HKL release.
Which brings us up to date with the release of the HK blu ray from Kam and Ronson, I will be watching this over the weekend and posting a full piece on the film and disc soon after, I'm really excited about this, so look out for it.