Die xue jie tou [Bullet In The Head] (1990)

(On VHS, February 2000) This certainly feels like John Woo’s most personal film, but it’s certainly not a *fun* movie like Hard-Boiled or Face/Off. What it is, instead, is a wrenching, often unbearable Hong Kong view of the Vietnam war, with four protagonists who will be forever changed by the experience. Starts out slowly (it takes nearly an hour before we see the usual Woo shootouts) but then quickly becomes involving at a visceral level. No humour, no relief. Features a POW camp scene that will sear itself in your mind. The film is somewhat of a let-down after that, feeling overlong and forced in its pyrotechnic conclusion. Not a fun pop-corn rental, but nevertheless an essential part of the John Woo collection.

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