Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The original BULLET IN THE HEAD ending

If you're not familiar with video-cd's you're bound to get confused by the double audio: Most HK VCDs have two audio tracks, Cantonese and Mandarin. You'll need to switch off the right loudspeaker so you only hear the sound from the left one (which contains the Cantonese dialect, i.e. the HK dialect).


I was talking to Brian of Wildside Cinema about the original ending of John Woo's BULLET IN THE HEAD today. As I'm sure you know the original ending isn't the one that you'll find on the 100s of DVD, VHS and laserdisc releases. The only version that contains the original ending and the original music is the old Mai Ah video-cd from Hong Kong.

To cut a long story short, when John Woo first screened the film at festivals before the ordinary cinema release the film used the ending used on the VCD. It's a shorter, more abrupt and cynical ending. I have no idea as to why John Woo changed the ending before the film was release to a wider audience. I've heard all the speculations, sure, but you can't use fanboy speculations for shit if you ask me.

Maybe Woo got criticised for the ending being too cynical, maybe he wanted a more action movie style ending, or maybe he just wasn't happy with the original ending. Who knows. And why did he (or someone) change the music? Who knows. If you want a 1000 speculative reasons go ask some fanboys.

For the longest time I tried to track down the VCD and I succeed in doing so a while back. It's pretty rare but I'm sure the print is available on YouTube or elsewhere in Cyberspace. For more info on the VCD check this Mark's post here.


5 comments:

  1. Apropos:
    http://www.forum.uncut.dk/viewtopic.php?t=989&sid=a0712e94fcefda51a7a9cd7e573648db

    What happened to Asian DVD Guide and all their valuable information?

    Oh, and by the way I still prefer the international version of "Bullet in the Head" with its superior ending.

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  2. "I was talking to Brian of Wildside Cinema about the original ending of John Woo's BULLET IN THE HEAD today. As I'm sure you know the original ending isn't the one that you'll find on the 100s of DVD, VHS and laserdisc releases. The only version that contains the original ending and the original music is the old Mai Ah video-cd from Hong Kong."

    What about the Joy Sales edition?
    From dvdcompare.net:
    R0 Hong Kong- Joy Sales - No Cuts - International Version: 2:10:49, with Alternate Ending: 2:00:55, with Deleted Scenes: 2:15:02

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  3. They went into that great dark abyss we know as "the big unknown". I have no idea. I wrote to the guy who was behind it but he obviously didn't think it was worth spending time on a reply. Nobody even seems to know who he is.

    Fortunately I managed to save the "alternative versions of HK films" list and posted a while back.

    You're right about the new(ish) FS DVD and someone else also mentioned that to me on Facebook last night. That's why I changed the text to say, "only version that contains the original ending and the original music is the old Mai Ah video-cd". The new DVD has the original cinema ending but not the original music bits.

    Btw, it's kinda wild that you got to watch the cinema version at the cinema! The mysterious guy behind the ADG forum played a part in restoring the FS DVD version and he said there was parts of the footage they couldn't use cos it was in too bad a shape. I don't actually have the FS DVD but after that guy reminded me about it on FB last night I went to dddhouse and ordered it right away.

    I also ordered the new remastered vcd version of ABT 3 also from FS. They haven't put it out on DVD yet. I quite like that film and I'm curious to see which version they're using for their new release. The old Taiwan VCD runs 130 minutes!

    Thanks for your comments. Why's no-one posting on Uncut? Are you on other boards now?

    December 14, 2011 12:44 AM

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  4. Fortunately I managed to save the "alternative versions of HK films" list and posted a while back.
    Great! Thanks Jack. I'll make sure to copy it this time... you never what's the next site to be consumed by the black cyberhole.

    Where did you post the list?

    Btw, it's kinda wild that you got to watch the cinema version at the cinema!
    Yep! About 8-10 years ago the Cinematheque held a John Woo retrospective, and the print screened was decent, quality-wise.

    ... he said there was parts of the footage they couldn't use cos it was in too bad a shape.
    Did he (and if so: how?) solve the problem?

    Blame the hackers! They've scared away all the newcomers.
    Seriously, I haven't noticed any change in activity.

    No, I just don't feel like contributing these days.

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  5. I posted it right
    here. Also check out this post (also saved from ADG).

    Hmm, I don't have the new(ish) FS dvd that contains both versions but from memory I think it was mentioned on ADG that they were trying to create the original version as seen on that VCD and some footage was ruined, and no they didn't save it all. But all that info in now somewhere in the same abyss that ADG disappeared into! Maybe it's mentioned on the DVD cover. I'll let you know when I get it.

    Too bad about Uncut. :(

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