Bullet in the Head

ISBN 13 : 9786305120384

Bullet in the Head

 
9786305120384: Bullet in the Head
Review :

The 1990 film Bullet in the Head engages at every turn. At once a political epic, a story about childhood friends and loyalty, as well as a tale of corruption and war, John Woo's action-packed face-off contrasts '60s idealism--the Beatles and Elvis--against the shifting tide in the East. It's plain that Woo has pulled his trio of heroes straight from Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America as well as Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter, but there are bits of Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause tossed in for good measure. The old Chinese way of life is fading in the face of the emergent Vietnam War and Chairman Mao's Red Army, and Hong Kong struggles under archaic British rule. Three friends--Ben (Tony Leung), Frank (Jacky Cheung), and Paul (Waise Lee)--rub up against gang warfare, capitalism, and opportunism in a life that is strongly tinged by Western culture. Ben falls in love and wants to marry Jane (Fennie Yuen). Frank has borrowed money from a warlord to pay for his pal's bridal bash but a rival group, led by Ringo and his thugs, are hell-bent on keeping loose-cannon Frank from keeping his promise. The boys kill Ringo in a face-off and the cops come looking for them, separating Ben and Jane. The trio escapes to exploited luck-of-the-draw Saigon to make their fortunes. Luck, however, isn't with them. In a violent, balletic dance to honor, greed, and a teenage pledge that is challenged with adulthood, Bullet in the Head is sentimental despite its exquisitely choreographed blood bath; it's steeped in the kind of code-of-ethics morality that has been the glue of buddy films since the beginning of cinematic time. Bullet in the Head is a tale of love and betrayal played out against a backdrop of wartime chaos, and while Woo had made other vital and vibrant movies-- The Killer, Hard Boiled, and A Better Tomorrow--none were as impassioned as Bullet in the Head. That it retains its innocence at all is a tribute to this Hong Kong action auteur, who brands his movies with visual flair as well as a palette splattered with blood. --Paula Nechak

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