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Bullet in the Head - is this common knowledge?
#1
Hi all,

Tying into some discussion we've had here recently, Bullet in the Head just turned 30!

I also read this interesting, but unfortunate news:


Quote:There were plans for a bluray release of this using a brand new source in full genuine HD. But the problem was the original film negative of Woo's original theatrical cut (136 min) was never found and is believed to be long gone by now. This led to all plans being cancelled.


I'd not been aware of this, but it unfortunately isn't too surprising given how some companies in HK handled their materials.
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#2
(2020-08-18, 07:05 AM)Serums Wrote: Hi all,

Tying into some discussion we've had here recently, Bullet in the Head just turned 30!

I also read this interesting, but unfortunate news:


Quote:There were plans for a bluray release of this using a brand new source in full genuine HD. But the problem was the original film negative of Woo's original theatrical cut (136 min) was never found and is believed to be long gone by now. This led to all plans being cancelled.


I'd not been aware of this, but it unfortunately isn't too surprising given how some companies in HK handled their materials.

From what I understand about how films are handled over in Hong Kong and whatnot, is that simply put, they do not try to preserve any elements like in Hollywood or most locations really. So most likely, once the movie was made, the negatives were just dumped off somewhere never to be seen again.

HOWEVER, I am sure there are internegatives or interpositives of the movie's regular 131-minute cut still floating around that can be used instead—if the original HK materials are truly lost—that are from other nations since the movie has been released internationally (Hell, as I mentioned in the other Bullet In The Head thread, I know where one could find a LPP English print of the movie to scan if anyone wants to try and undertake that project, like HKR maybe).

However, as for the fabled Director's Cut stuff and whatnot, unless we're lucky and the negatives are found in some random obscure place or perhaps Woo has a personal print of that, I don't see a new transfer ever happening (least made from proper film elements and not upscaled SD elements).
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#3
That's a possibility, for sure. I did hear recently that an upcoming release of a HK film managed to be restored, however they had to source the main audio track from a non-studio source. Probably all too common for HK studios, but it's fresh in my mind at least.

Depending on the distributor, I'm curious if they explored those other possible sources for BITH.

Regarding that other possible project, I still maintain we could do something great with it here. Assuming we could get enough contributors to fund it, but that's another thread.
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#4
I heard that when it comes to remastering Woo's back catalogue, its the worldwide distributers that are the 'spanner in the works'.
No single distributer wants to pay out to create a new master, and non of them are willing to work together!
Most of Woo's work is owned by different company's in each territory.

I also remember a boutique label in the U.K we're trying to secure the rights to release A Better Tomorrow (The Italian 4K remaster has only been released in HK), but the rights owners didn't want to know!

I'm pretty sure there is a 'European' 1080i master floating around (probably a Betacam) of BITH, much like the one used for 'The Killer' in the US that was botched by Dragon Dynasty.
It would be awesome to get our hands on these, along with many other HK gems that had superior video transfers done on the continent.
To be honest I think these would be better than a 35mm release print scan.

If I had the time (and energy) I would have loved to have led the print scan project for BITH.
My / The world has changed, and I'm no longer in a privileged position to work on such things.
I'm happy to contribute funds, but even then it would not be that much.

I
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#5
It's funny that some of those other 4k remasters have been licensed, but not ABT. And the rights of Woo's films being with different distributors definitely would be a bit of a roadblock.

I do wonder if that BITH master has made it out, it'd be quite interesting to see first of all.
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#6
(2020-08-18, 09:56 AM)Serums Wrote: It's funny that some of those other 4k remasters have been licensed, but not ABT. And the rights of Woo's films being with different distributors definitely would be a bit of a roadblock.

I do wonder if that BITH master has made it out, it'd be quite interesting to see first of all.

Yes, its such a pity.
There is much improvement that could be done by a better transfer to disc from the remaster.
The italian restoration team also restored the original mono audio, but that has yet to see the light of day.
From what I remember ABT was only worked on as it was chosen because of its cultural relevance.
I don't think that was sourced from a original negative but a interpositive / Interneg.

I forgot to mention that I did hear that Fortune Star / Media Asia have done a new scan of BITH.
What materials they have used I don't know, but they have been redoing there catalogue to great success like you have mentioned, and the missing / misuse of negatives is a industry wide problem.

Lets keep our eyes peeled.

'Full Contact' had a HD scan (but not remastered in any way, and I think from a euro master much like I was talking about above) released on Streaming, so it may not even appear as a Bluray release.
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#7
(2020-08-18, 10:32 AM)CSchmidlapp Wrote:
(2020-08-18, 09:56 AM)Serums Wrote: It's funny that some of those other 4k remasters have been licensed, but not ABT. And the rights of Woo's films being with different distributors definitely would be a bit of a roadblock.

I do wonder if that BITH master has made it out, it'd be quite interesting to see first of all.

Yes, its such a pity.
There is much improvement that could be done by a better transfer to disc from the remaster.
The italian restoration team also restored the original mono audio, but that has yet to see the light of day.
From what I remember ABT was only worked on as it was chosen because of its cultural relevance.
I don't think that was sourced from a original negative but a interpositive / Interneg.

I forgot to mention that I did hear that Fortune Star / Media Asia have done a new scan of BITH.
What materials they have used I don't know, but they have been redoing there catalogue to great success like you have mentioned, and the missing / misuse of negatives is a industry wide problem.

Lets keep our eyes peeled.

'Full Contact' had a HD scan (but not remastered in any way, and I think from a euro master much like I was talking about above) released on Streaming, so it may not even appear as a Bluray release.

I'd hope the mono wasn't altered in any way, given the restoration team's habits, but that's interesting to know. Hmm, knowing that, the ABT that we did get (colours and all) was better than not getting anything.

That's indeed interesting. I might try and see if anyone knows anything about the new scan. If it doesn't eventuate, it's at least good to know that 'backup options' exist.

Didn't know that about 'Full Contact' but that's indeed good news! Similar I guess to those remasters that pop up through Chinese TV/streaming and/or Amazon, but nowhere else. Somewhere in there is a good possibility for a catalogue/list of all of these remasters that get shown in unexpected places. But such a thing would be hard to do completely.
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#8
Full Contact had a Hong Kong Blu release by CN Entertainment released last May:

https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Full-Cont...ay/242179/

https://www.amazon.com/Contact-Region-Bl...raylink-20

BTW, this CN company also recently put out Hard Boiled with the same 2k IP scan and crazy 5.1 mixes as the JPN Fortune Star/Paramount Blu.

https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Hard-Boil...ay/246067/

https://www.amazon.com/Hard-Boiled-Blu-r...raylink-20

The master for Full Contact is said to be a proper 2k scan and looks pretty decent all things considered. It only has remixed 5.1 Cantonese and Mandarin tracks, which are presumably of the common sound mix. It has been mentioned the Cantonese mono track on the US Columbia-TriStar and UK Hong Kong Legends DVDs are of a different mix that has some missing/alternate music cues and SFX.

Both of these are under licence from Mei Ah Entertainment, who had put out the previous HK DVDs. Full Contact was released by Sony (under Destination Films) in the US and Atlas International had overseas rights. Vudu and Amazon Prime Video had a HD version of Full Contact on streaming in the US that used the same master as the Sony DVD, but only had the English 5.1 dub. I believe that's gone nowadays as Sony's US rights are presumed to have lapsed.
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#9
Thanks. I knew about the Hard Boiled release but didn't know Full Contact got one too. That's great to know.

I'd be interested to know how these Full Contact masters look(ed), especially if they've got the flaws that seem to be common to the HD transfers of other Woo films of similar vintage.
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#10
In regards to Bullet in the Head, HKR have just announced a fundraising project to get a 4k print scanned for them to work on.
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