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Rang zi dan fei (2010)

Not Rated | | Action, Comedy, Western | 16 December 2010 (China)
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In 1920s China, a bandit arrives in a remote provincial town posing as its new mayor, where he faces off against a tyrannical local nobleman.

Director:

Wen Jiang

Writers:

Junli Guo (screenplay), Wen Jiang (screenplay) | 5 more credits »
21 wins & 35 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Yun-Fat Chow ... Master Huang
You Ge ... Ma Bangde
Wen Jiang ... Pocky Zhang
Carina Lau ... Mrs. Ma
Jun Hu ... Fake Pocky
Pu Miao Pu Miao ... Shanxi MIstress
Wu Jiang ... Master Wu
Fan Liao ... Three
Yun Zhou Yun Zhou ... Flora
Kun Chen ... Hu Wan
Mo Zhang ... Six
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bing Bai ... Daiyu Qingwen
Lei Chen Lei Chen ... Husband
Yi-Heng Du Yi-Heng Du ... Four
Xiaogang Feng ... Counselor Tang
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Storyline

Set in China during the warring 1920s, notorious bandit chief Zhang descends upon a remote provincial town posing as its new mayor, an identity that he had hijacked from Old Tang, himself a small-time imposter. Hell-bent on making a fast buck, Zhang soon meets his match in the tyrannical local gentry Huang as a deadly battle of wit and brutality ensues. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A comic western legend See more »

Genres:

Action | Comedy | Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

China | Hong Kong

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

16 December 2010 (China) See more »

Also Known As:

Ase tis sfaires na horevoun See more »

Filming Locations:

China

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,287, 4 March 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$63,012

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$104,336,887
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At its release, was the all-time highest grossing domestic film in China but has since been passed by a number of films. See more »

Connections

Followed by Yi bu zhi yao (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Nutshell Review: Let the Bullets Fly
1 April 2011 | by DICK STEELSee all my reviews

With the current election fever brewing in Singapore, one can't help but to view this through a tinted prism and taken note of the surreal, and perhaps coincidental parallels in this Jiang Wen film about the relentless grab for power and money amongst officials and wannabes, of that fight for moral justice against another hell bent on consolidating ill gotten gains and fending off new entrants to the turf. Jiang Wen doesn't make as many films as he stars in, but here's a Chinese filmmaker with an interesting vision, almost always successfully blending stylish art-house sensibilities and visuals with mass entertainment, bearing the biggest names and featuring the hallmarks of a rich Mandarin language.

The incredibly strong story centers around three major characters set in the warring 1920s in China, with Ge You playing Bangde Ma, a man who had unscrupulously bought his position of governorship and is on his way to claim it, having done his sums and understanding the material wealth that comes with holding that position through partnering the rich and the exploitation of the weak. However the train he's travelling in with his wife (Carina Lau) gets hijacked by infamous bandit Pocky Zhang (Jiang Wen) and his band of loyal merry men, who decide to take on Bangde's identity as the incoming Governor of Goose Town, while keeping the real Bangde Ma by their side as a councilor for his political savvy. But standing in their way is the local godfather and real seat of power Wang (Chow Yun-Fat) and his gang, which obviously sets a showdown between the two camps.

And I'm not kidding you when I say there are parallels drawn here with our sunny little island, since the introductory shot of Goose Town made it seem like an island that Bangde Ma and Pocky Zhang had to cross into, before confronted with by a wily, scheming political incumbent determined to hold onto his turf and not yield it without a fight. Like politicians, they plot and counterplot against each other's schemes, with deep mistrust all round even when smiling at each other during a round table discussion. Those amongst the elites horde most of the wealth of the town, and it is not until Pocky Zhang had a change in heart and strategy of wealth distribution and moral justice did he find it within himself and his lean, mean team to inch toward power in his fight for the little man. Though of course it's pretty clear still who's being manipulated for someone's objective.

As a film, Let the Bullets Fly is sheer spectacle for its action sequences, lush cinematography, and comically awkward CG at times, with some scenes being deliberately and extremely over the top. But that's part of the fun, as the narrative is kept tight with nary a wasted scene, and what would be one of the best parts of the film is the rapid fire dialogue exchange between characters. Black humour is rampant as well to make this very close to a laugh a minute affair through its wickedness, though I have to admit at times things do get lost in translation, especially when required to read between the lines of what's said when the characters try to outdo one another, or in attempts to understand their opponents, through many twists and turns.

Stellar performances from the leads make this a must watch as well. Jiang Wen has this air of gravitas associated with his presence, and he makes for a believable bandit who found the moral courage to turn his life, and that of his followers, around to fight the good fight against Chow's Wang. Chow Yun Fat redeems himself from his really cringeworthy foray into Hollywood with dubious roles in films like Dragonball Evolution, and his performance here in dual roles as Wang and his body double, reminds us why Chow is top of the class when he gets his act together in the right charismatic role. Ge You himself is no pushover, although his character gets the least screen time. Still, when all three share the same frame or scene, the mood is nothing short of electrifying, as they banter and feed off one another's energy.

And Jiang Wen also assembled a credible ensemble support group with the likes of Carina Lau, Hu Jun in yet another cameo as a make pretend Pocky Zhang, Chen Kun as a cocky young upstart in Wang's camp, and even Feng Xiaogang making a cameo in the beginning of the film trying to suck up to Bangde Ma. You can label it a satire, or an action comedy, but one thing's for sure, this Chinese film showcases just what their industry is capable off in pulling something quirky, offbeat and yet entertaining for the masses. Jiang Wen continues to expand his filmography in a slow but assured pace, and hopefully we can get to see another one of his films soon. Highly recommended as one of the best this year, and I'm really tempted to get the DVD in order to watch this battle of wits all over again.


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