HKR Title #11 will be...
John Woo's 1990 classic Bullet In The Head
One of the most neglected of John Woo's films, arguably even more disrespected on home video than The Killer.
A brilliant Vietnam war film featuring an early performance by the great Tony Leung, Bullet In The Head was released right in the middle of John Woo's "golden period" where he released his best films.
It is generally regarded as one of Woo's best films.
To date there has been no genuine HD release of this film. The best home video release is probably the twenty year old Hong Kong Legends DVD.
The only release on Blu-ray is an extremely poor Fortune Star upscale job released by Kam & Ronson.
For the first time, Bullet In The Head has allowed Hong Kong Rescue to work from a brand new 35mm print of this film.
The backstory is this:
More than a year ago a received an anonymous email from a guy who had access to a private collection of 35mm prints from a collector. He mentioned that he found two prints that he thought I might be interested in. One was "Hard Boiled" and the other was "Bullet In The Head".
Needless to say I was extremely interested and exciting about Bullet In The Head. This is a title I loved but I always assumed that it would be impossible to see a decent quality release given the sources that I knew were out there.
So I asked for a small preview scan to be done so I could assess the quality.
I was absolutely blown away by the quality of the scan.
While there was dirt and dust on the print, which is to be expected for a thirty year old film, the damage was reasonably light and I knew it could be effectively cleaned up with the restoration tools and techniques I use.
More importantly, the detail and colors were absolutely incredible. There was absolutely no fading or discoloration whatsoever and the detail was so far beyond anything that had been available for this film in the past.
So I decided then and there to commission a new 4K scan of the print.
This is the source I will be using for our release.
The process for restoring this film is fairly straightforward. It mainly involves dirt and dust removal. There are a few scratches and broken frames here or there as well.
Throughout the runtime of the film, the damage is pretty light. In fact, I'd say the early parts require a little more work and the damage becomes lighter towards the middle and end of the film.
I don't anticipate needing to do any color correction work on this title.
Here's what I'll do:
1. Use Digital Vision Phoenix for automatic dirt and dust removal. I use a light setting to clean up as much of the dirt, dust, specks, etc as possible without introducing any artifacts.
2. Use The Pixel Farm's PFClean to manually clean up all the remaining imperfections. This is a much, much more time consuming process but it allows me to achieve an extremely pristine transfer.
This title will take a while, but here are a few images to get a sense of the quality of the scan.
These shots are completely unrestored and don't represent the final quality of our restoration. They just give an idea of what the raw source we're working from looks like.
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