Rang zi dan fei (2010) Poster

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Highly enjoyable
kosmasp11 August 2012
This movie is really funny and brutal at the same time. Which is a hard thing to balance. Violence is "real" (with consequences for the characters involved that is), but the humor still works. Two factors play into that in my estimation: The script and the really good actors playing in this.

Mixture works and the CGI effects are really good too. Then you also have some wonderful dialogue between the main characters that is so rich, the translation might not do it entire justice (watched it with subtitles on and was hard to follow from time to time). But it's apparent how much fun they had shooting this movie. If you like eastern movies, I do not need to convince you to watch this. But maybe this can be your entry into a whole new (fascinating) world for you ...
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You will either get it or you won't....
lyx-121 January 2011
There are so many funny metaphors but you do need to be somewhat acquainted with Chinese to understand them. I think this will be a difficult film for non-Chinese to grasp, especially with a lot of deadpan satire and dark humor. It is extremely funny in a way, especially the scene between Jiang Wen and Carina Lau where she displayed a series of objects to him in bed. You won't "get it" if you don't understand Chinese proverbs and surreptitious meaning. So I'm not surprised if this movie will be rated exceptionally intelligent to its Chinese audience but will appear to many as silly, improbable and illogical.
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Definition of a pleasant surprise.
Al_The_Strange14 May 2012
At the time of this writing, this is listed as China's highest-grossing domestic film. I went into it expecting some kind of action-packed blockbuster (especially with the title "Let the Bullets Fly," got me expecting stylish John Woo style gunfights or something). I should have known that this film couldn't be identified by blockbuster terms; it's actually a pretty weird and goofy film, with far less emphasis on action and much more on setting up intricate dialogues and intricate plot points. On its own merits, the film is very fast-paced and dense; it has some gunfighting and action, and a few rather violent scenes, but most of it is focused on the storytelling.

The storytelling is satisfying. Even though the comedy can be a huge hit-or-a-miss, and there are a few unbelievable scenes, the characters shine through and dominate the spotlight. It's hard not to enjoy the antics of the bandits and the thugs, and their complex interactions. It's especially hard not to appreciate the complexity of the plotting and counter-plotting that both gangs go through; with the rapid-fire pacing, it may be convoluted for some viewers, but I was never fully lost. Each scene is set up to advance the plot in strange new directions, leading up to a rather fun climax. In the end, I enjoyed watching the chemistry between the characters and their intricate mind games, more than the action.

This film has quality photography, and some really fast editing. Acting can be very over-the-top, but Chow Yun-Fat and Jiang Wen both put on iconic performances. Writing is quite witty and sharp. This production has fine-looking period sets, props, and costumes. Certain special effects look awful, but they are few and very far between. Music for this picture is okay (it includes a pretty odd use of drums and chanting toward the end).

Chances are that some folks will find the comedy, fast pacing, and complex plot a little hard to follow, so I'd recommend it as a rental. Connoisseurs of Asian cinema will probably enjoy this a little more easily than average western audiences.

4/5 (entertainment: 4/5, story: 4.5/5, film: 4/5)
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Simply the best Chinese movie in 2010
fullpaperjacket1 January 2011
In early 1920s, China was in civil war and it was an era when disorder became part of life. Bangde Ma ( GE, You) who just became the mayor of a remote town through bribery was robbed by a group of bandits led by Pock Zhang ( JIANG, Wen). However Ma could not afford any ransom because he had used up all his money for bribery and the only way to collect money was to use the ruling power of the mayor title. Zhang decided to take Ma's position as the new mayor while Ma posed as his private adviser under the name of Tang.

Their destination, the Goose Town, was actually controlled by notorious mafia clan of the Huang family and the only way to collect money was to fully cooperate with the family and handed out most of their gains. However Zhang was only interested in rich families black money and believed in fair justice for each person, which made Huang the IV ( CHOW, Yun-Fat), the boss of the clan, very very unhappy. Almost immediately Zhang and Huang became enemies and the Goose Town would soon turn to be a battle field as well as a stage of hypocrisy, cheating, apathy and snobbery.

The first impression of the movie is that it is no doubt of a typical Hollywood style action comedy composed by every piece of commercial element you can find in other Hollywood action movies such as gun firing, explosions, beauties, muscles, fast moving, slangs, and etc. The movie itself is of great fun and you will laugh from the beginning to the end. Also the story is told in a straightforward way and there would be no problem of understanding it even if you have no idea where China is located. The problem, however, is how to interpret Jiang Wen. Let the Bullets Fly is becoming one of the hottest and the most appraised movies in recent years in China neither because it is more dazzling than the Avatar nor because it is more surprising than the Inception. It is welcomed because many Chinese viewers regard the story as a mirror of present China and a movie with strong critical acclaim should have not been approved for public show by the authority such as Jiang Wen's previous movie the Devils on the Doorstep. Interestingly, different people can interpret the movie in a way they like and this may be the power of a comedy. Frankly speaking, if you are not a Chinese, chances are you will enjoy the movie for funny stuff while not the metaphor of the movie.
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Bullets Flow in The Sky
bluegobin-926-48018418 December 2010
Jiang Wen is a good actor and great director. He reminds me of Clint Eastwood, who is also a good actor and great director. Wen Jiang only have 4 films as director, he is not productive but every film he made is masterpiece to me. I love the Devils on the Doorstep most, it tell some truth no one fear to say.

Let The Bullets Fly is newest work of Jiang Wen. I watched the Chuan idiom edition today, very love it. Chuan idiom is one of Chinese hundreds idiom, the people live in Sichuan Province and Chongqing use it in their daily life. The reason why the movie have a idiom edition because the script is adapted from a novel of a old Sichuan writer. That's too much fun to watch the movie with the familiar idiom. However I love it not because the idiom, the reason is it's a good movie.

This movie is mixture of Quentin Tarantino and Sergio Leone, full of bizarre funny idea and masculinity. The last film The Sun Also Rises is criticized too vague, so this one is totally a commercial film. But as the one said in this film, he can made money without knee to others, Jiang Wen not knee to business, there's no disgusting ads and low-grade lines only passion for a good work, that's not easy for present Chinese film. This is why I respect him.

Some sensitive people like me aware some political metaphor in this film, this feeling is similar to the one I felt in Devils on the Doorstep. Jiang Wen knows Chinese deeply, or maybe he just so brave and smart can tell the public what he knows. Someones know the truth but they keep it and exchange it with fortune. Someones speak it loudly and directly, they only scared the public and get suffering. Of course in Jiang Wen's way, only small amount of people know what he want to say, but that's enough. Truth always rests with the minority.

Although this is a good movie, the non Chinese native speakers may found a little difficult to understand it, it like more a Cult than a commercial film to them.
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Comedy and violence don't work together particularly well but mostly it is playful and benefits from good performances
bob the moo15 May 2013
"Pocky" Zhang is a notorious bandit who robs trains and any other soft target. When a train robbery turns up no loot, a different prize is sought as it does contain a con artist (Tang) who was on his way to Goose Town to pose as their Governor for a while then make off with the taxes. Zhang agrees to spare Tang in exchange for the role and together they head to Goose Town, however once there they discover that the role of Governor is secondary to that of Godfather – a role held by Master Huang.

I came to this film having heard that I wouldn't "get it" because it was a Chinese film which was not for the international market. Whether this is the case or not I do not know, but perhaps regardless of nationality, the film only partially worked for me. The plot and the characters weren't an issue for me and I enjoyed the back and forward of the various twists and turns of the story. The action was not quite as good and those coming here for the action suggested by the title will almost certainly be disappointed since it doesn't deliver on that front as much. The comedy aspect is a strange mix and maybe this is the thing that I wouldn't "get" by being from Northern Ireland.

At times it is quite playful and witty but then at the same time it is pretty violent . In and of itself, I don't have a problem with this because it can work but in this case I didn't feel like it did as the violence was almost too jarring and too heavy or serious to really be able to be darkly funny in the way needed. The direction is a little bit excessive in the same way – not making its different extremes really work together particularly well, but it does still have some things about it which I enjoyed and mostly the tone of the film is consistent. The winner for me was the performances from the lead actors because they sold their characters better than the material did. Chow overplays it perhaps but he is a good foil for the rather calmer playing from Wen Jiang (who I really liked here). Xiaogang Fen is fun too in support as Tang.

Although I am not Chinese, I did still quite enjoy this film even if I didn't think it totally worked. The comedy aspect is odd and the violence doesn't always work with it as it should, although the playful spirit of most of the film combines well with the delivery of Chow and Wen to make it better than it otherwise would have been.
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The Good, the Bad and The Ugly meets Yojinbo
harry_tk_yung13 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The opening of the movie proffers LI Shu-tong's sadly languid "Song of farewell", the best known musical piece of the period in the warlord-troubled period of China of the early 20th Century. The transition to the farce that follows is a stroke of brilliance.

The main drawing card of the movie is of course three superstars in the Chinese language cinema today, JIANG Wen, CHOW Yun-fat and GE You – in the order of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. This is actually the second time Jiang has fashioned a movie in this way, the first one being "Tian di ying xiong" (2003) in which he also took the role of The Good, while roles of The Bad and The Ugly were taken up, respectively, by Kiichi Nakai and WANG Xueqi (who back then had not yet attained today's lofty status in the movie world). The beauty in that one was ZHAO Wei.

As mentioned in my summary line, to the main structure of "The Good, the Bad and The Ugly" is added certain elements of the Kurosawa's classic Yojinbo (1961). But while therein, the hero (played by Toshiro Mifune) is the guy between two opposite camps, here in "Bullet" it's the clown, i.e. The Ugly.

I am not going to go into the plot which can be summarized as a convoluted game of power struggles between two rivalling gangs for control a small town. Exciting action and outlandish black humour make the movie thoroughly enjoyable. The highlight is of course the acting of the three superstars. One scene, in particular, must not be missed – the first meeting between The Good and The Bad, with the Ugly as the balancing factor in the subtle confrontation. Just to witness how in this scene the three pull all plugs in their acting reservoir to outdo one another is worth the admission price.
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A Nutshell Review: Let the Bullets Fly
DICK STEEL1 April 2011
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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Hollywood should move to China.
carbuff10 May 2015
This is the best Clint Eastwood "Spaghetti Western-type" movie ever made, except that it was made in China and Clint had nothing to do with it.

If there was a better film made in 2010, I don't know what it is. I'm sure that I missed a ton of allusions and stuff that a Chinese person would catch instantly, but it doesn't matter, because even if I didn't get half of it, the half I got was still over-the-top great.

The only real warning I would offer is that mixed in with the action, humor, wit, and clever plot twists there are a few bits of harsh violence, which might not be appropriate for young children. While this is no "chick flick", I think a lot of women would enjoy it too.

It's definitely an intelligent movie which is overtly artistic and much more than just a bunch of macho guys spilling blood and blowing things up. Sometimes the subtitles flashed by pretty quickly, but, like Shakespeare, you don't have to get every last bit to really enjoy the production (although this is nothing like Shakespeare, so you don't have to worry about that).

How did two plus hours go by so fast? I have no idea. Nuts to Hollywood, these Chinese just totally kicked it.
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Jian wen the Chinese Quentin Tarantino
KineticSeoul16 January 2013
This is a movie that I thought would have a simple story and a lot of shoot em up. But it was actually the other way around. In fact this movie sort of reminded me of Quentin Tarantino movies. And wouldn't be shocked if Quentin got some ideas from this movie for "Django Unchained". One thing I was disappointed with this movie is how it has Yun-Fat Chow is shown holding a pistol in the back cover of the DVD for this movie. And was hoping for a dual pistol wielding showdown with Yun-Fat Chow and Jiang Wen but that never happens. In fact Jiang Wen is the one that shoots the most in this movie. Chow Yun-Fat and Jiang Wen is just excellent with the roles they are given and are charismatic while also giving off strong impressions. Even is one is the sharp shooting cool anti-hero guy and the other one is a bit obnoxious and yet dominant bad guy. The plot is cleverly crafted although it might have few plot-holes and don't make sense during few scenarios. It's just a very small gripe because everything else is just entertaining to watch. From the dialogue, the acting and the way Pocky Zhang(Jiang Wen) and Huang(Chow Yun-Fat) try to beat each other with mind games and strategy. Overall this is a well crafted movie and clever one as well. It's a movie well worth checking out and I personally will check out more past and future Jian Wen movies.

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A great and exciting opening that had me hooked, then slowly started to lose me. Anti-climatic ending. I say B-
cosmo_tiger14 April 2012
"I do not care about being rich but I must come up with a game plan to rid of Huang once and for all. Give me time, Pop will avenge your death." When bandit chief "Pocky" Zhang comes to a remote Chinese village he says he is the new mayor. After things go too far and someone ends up dead a battle for revenge begins between him and Master Huang (Yun-Fat). This is a movie I was actually really looking forward to. The preview looked really good and action packed. The first 15 minutes was great and full of action. Then it started to gradually slow down. The story was very interesting and kept me watching, but it really lost momentum and by the end I was starting to lose interest. I'm not saying this is a bad movie but it was like coasting down a mountain, the closer you get to flatting out the slower you go. This is worth seeing but don't expect excitement all the way through. Overall, a good movie that could have been better I think. I give it a B-.
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you will need insights for this movie.
jxingy2 March 2012
i ain't gonna talk about the storyline or something like that, i just gonna tell you, you will need some insights for this excellent movie. living at U.S i don't often watch movies from mainland China, not that i can't. it's just Hollywood and Hongkong cinema got my attention most of time. Until this one [ Let the Bullets Fly - for a little ]. if you think this is just action, comedy, Western, you are wrong. there are much much more of the story and secret behind that you need some insights in order to get it. the things that they do and the version that someone or somebody die inside this movie, they all links together, and what's so amazing about this movie is, it is a great movie where you can just watch like a comedy and don't think too much about it. but, if you wanted it more,re-watch it again. and then you will know, for some of them to die, it isn't just because they got shot, cut, or whatever. there is a untold storyline behind it. and that makes this movie from great to excellent.

sorry for my poor English.
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Stay away from this unless you like draggy, farcical films.
Eternality31 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Jiang Wen is one of China's less well-known directors, especially to filmgoers outside of China. Famously acting as the male lead opposite Gong Li in Zhang Yimou's Red Sorghum (1988), Jiang is a more familiar face than name, but the few works that he has directed have appeared in major film festivals worldwide including his most acclaimed feature Devil on the Doorstep (2000), which won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes. His latest endeavor, Let the Bullets Fly, for better or worse, is significantly more mainstream, and is a surprising box-office hit in mainland China.

Let the Bullets Fly is a bizarre film to begin with. It is a film that does not know whether to take itself seriously or not as an action- comedy. It starts with a tense sequence showing a few bandits attempting to rob a train with the governor and his wife aboard. It is serious business, with quick cuts of the bandits taking aim with their rifles, suggesting a well-planned attack. And then the big moment comes when the train is derailed. It is a moment that leaves me stunned.

Let the Bullets Fly is not so much an action film in the context of a pure Asian martial arts flick, but a comedy with Western-action elements that even the characters themselves find funny to be involved in. Frankly, if there is a sub-genre called farcical cinema, this film would be an excellent example. To his credit, Jiang's direction of the actors is quite impressive, with the chemistry between Chow Yun-Fat, Ge You, and Jiang himself showing positive signs of spot-on comic timing, though it must be said that much of the humor is derived from mind games played not only to confuse and amuse viewers but also to themselves.

Let the Bullets Fly is without doubt an exercise in exaggeration – everything from acting to dialogue to dramatic set-pieces – such that the film overwhelms viewers before it even passes the midpoint mark. As a result, the second half becomes too entertaining for its own good, with potential viewers likely to feel empty watching the flurry of activities that occur on screen. The lead characters are also not developed fully, if they are developed at all. They are almost the same at the start of the film as the end, with no clear transformation. Worse, Jiang's film ends predictably and unsatisfyingly, even to the extent of meaninglessly linking the epilogue back to the opening sequence.

In a nutshell, Let the Bullets Fly is a lamentable attempt to break into commercial filmmaking by Jiang, though box office figures tells us a different tale. Despite charismatic actors on board, the film seems to drag along with the sole motivation to quench viewers' thirst for more farce. Stay away from this unless you like draggy, farcical films.

GRADE: C- (www.filmnomenon.blogspot.com) All rights reserved.
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A nice movie
lubin201024 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I like this movie, and it's quite interesting. It's Jiang Wen's fourth movie as a director.

Many interesting things are shown by the director and actors. Most of the actors also do great jobs. My favorite actor in this film is Jiang Wen, who is also the director, as well as Ge You.

The most attractive thing about this movie is that the story is quite coherent. The whole story happens in old China, when there are many corruptions in the old government and the governor of the county could be sold as long as you pay some money.

Overall, i think this is a good movie, and the best one this year in China.
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LET THE BULLETS FLY sees a bandit, a governor and a criminal boss face off in a Chinese Western
YohjiArmstrong23 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Plot: A bandit impersonates the new governor of a town and comes into conflict with the crime boss who runs it.

This film is essentially a Western set in the Warlord China of the 1920s. It is full of zest and at its best it is a charming mix of cartoon action, physical humour and bravura performances by the leads. Its desire to simply play around with genres, techniques and conventions is wonderfully endearing and very interesting. The gunplay in particular, which becomes a sort of ballistic chop-socky, is superb. But the problem is that the script is too messy, desperately in need of an edit. Nearly every character is pretending to be someone - or someones - else, whilst the conflict between the two gangs is largely played out through ruses and deception rather than fighting. The result is a hugely over-complex, over-long and needlessly confusing plot. This film ought to have been a good 30 minutes shorter and a great deal tighter - and would have been all the better for it. Nonetheless, this is an interesting and enjoyable mess.

Worth one viewing.
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Crazy but enjoyable ride! 7/10
leonblackwood20 February 2016
Review: What a brilliant movie but I must admit, I missed a lot of the plot because the subtitles are going too fast. With that aside, the witty script and brilliant performances from Chow Yun- Fat, (Master Huang) and Wen Jiang, (Pocky Zhang), made this crazy, unique, and definitely unpredictable ride, a joy to watch. When I heard that this movie had a western backdrop, I thought that it was going to be, more like a Cowboys & Indians type of storyline but once the movie gets going, it's a funny political comedy about a ruthless bandit who steals from the rich to give to the poor. The script is top class but it does get a bit complicated after a while, mainly because you have to concentrate on the annoying subtitles. The cinematography and costumes are authentic and the real governor, who wouldn't stop going on about losing his wife, cracked me up. The clever mind and coolness of Pocky Zhang is truly something to watch and the few action scenes were also impressive. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, even though I lost the plot but it's definitely worth a watch, for its originality and crazy storyline. Enjoyable! 

Round-Up: When this movie was released in December 2010, it broke several box office records in China, and has received critical acclaim. It became the highest grossing domestic film until 2012, when it was beaten by Painted Skin: The Resurrection, which grossed $140million worldwide. The movie was directed by Wen Jiang, 53, who also played the leading character, so he really did give this movie his all. He also contributed his directing skills to New York, I Love You in 2008, which had a top cast, and he brought you Devil's on the Doorstep, The Sun Also Rises and Gone with the Bullets. This movie definitely has something for everybody but you have to be a fast reader to keep up with it.

Budget: N/A Worldwide Gross: $104million

I recommend this movie to people who are into their action/comedy/westerns starring Chow Yun-Fat, You Ge, Wen Jiang, Carina Lau and Jon Hu. 7/10
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Quick-fire Chinese comedy
Leofwine_draca12 April 2015
LET THE BULLETS FLY has an extraordinarily fast pacing to recommend it, so you better be ready to pay attention with this one. It's a twist-a-minute tale of gangsters battling corrupt politicians in a remote township, where everybody is saddled down with greed and rivalry and death is only a footstep away. The film it most reminded me of is THE GOOD THE BAD THE WEIRD, with both films revelling in their quirkiness and action-packed narratives, although this isn't quite as good as the Korean movie.

I was thinking about LET THE BULLETS FLY after I'd finished watching it and I realised that in reality this is quite a slight tale; not much in the way of substance really happens come the end, but it's the journey there which is so entertaining. This is highbrow, intelligent humour for the most part, where the fun comes from watching Chow Yun-Fat and Jiang Wen doing their best to constantly outwit each other. What the film has going for it are two fine performances from the leads and some great cinematography, which makes the various violent interludes highly enjoyable. It's a film that brims with energy and gusto, although I did find it quite wearying especially in the second half. Good fun but now I know the outcome I don't see any need to watch it again.
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A Farce & A Puzzle Wrapped In Civil War
LawyerTom12 March 2013
Although the movie is allegedly set during the Chinese civil war, the first phase of the war between the Nationalists and Communists did not start until 1927, and the movie appears to be set in a time before the first phase began.

The underlying story is about a bandit (played by Wen Jiang) who disguises himself as a local "governor" (mayor of a town). His motive is acquiring wealth through fraud, or so one is lead to believe initially. Instead, the movie turns into a complex mind-game between the bandit, named Pocky Zhang, and a local war lord (Master Huang, played by Yun-Fat Chow). A struggle ensues, and the storyline turns on who will prevail. Prostitutes (with hearts of gold, of course -- something movies seem to love even though divorced from reality) also play a major role in the story.

The joy of the movie is watching the two protagonists (each served by loyal and capable side-kicks) try to one-up each other. There are plots within plots within plots. The film is also laced with farce and a few guest appearances by an excellent traditional Chinese drum band. All characters have traits that are both admirable and foolish.

Can you stay one step ahead of the protagonists as they scheme and counter-scheme? Good luck.

My one criticism is that the English language subtitles are small and pass by on the screen so fast that it is often hard to read them completely.

If you enjoy watching cleverness unfold, with the hero ultimately prevailing, and you do not mind struggling with the dialog, this is a cute movie. It is a much more sophisticated sojourn into Chinese culture and greed that the traditional kung-fu movie. It is likely that the script reflects more than a tad of Party influence since our hero, the bandit, ultimately turns out to have a heart of gold (no pun)and care only for "the people." Fortunately, this does not distract from the plot or the characters. Wen Jiang and Yun-Fat Chow are superb lead characters, as one would expect of actors of their quality.

The movie is long at 132 minutes, but you will never be bored. Even the special effects are exceedingly well done.
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Let The Bullets Fly
lasttimeisaw9 January 2012
I'm quite lagging behind the progress of recent Chinese film market, LET THE BULLETS FLY is still the No.1 film in the all-time domestic grossing (approximately 100 million US dollars, it seems that the record still holds steady judging by the under-performance of Yimou Zhang's THE FLOWERS OF WAR 2011 and Hark Tsui's THE FLYING SWORDS OF DRAGON GATE 2011 in the past Christmas season), and its preeminent word-of-mouth prompts itself as a must-see for every aficionado, it is a bit shameful of me to been not have watched this one, aside from that I'm a bona fide Chinese, thus I chose this one as the first film to start my 2012.

However the road is bumpier than I thought, at first the abrupt dialogs and some implausible scenes grate on my nerves (particularly the absurdly droll disembowelment suicide). But it is a genuine slow burner, the tension ignited by a spanked-up manhood hegemony is sterlingly fabricated at the latter part, there is a conspicuous political intent has been underlined in a metaphorical method while contains some visceral vibes being spiritually entertaining and optically stylish! As a matter of fact the censorship of cinema in China is harshly stern (politically preferred), thus it is wondrous to guess how this film had evaded it and subsequently became the highest grossing one in the Chinese film history, lots of context reading could be arresting and effectual for other film directors.

As the elite in contemporary Chinese film market, LET THE BULLETS FLY is Wen Jiang's most ambitious work to date (after a failed attempt with DEVILS ON THE DOORSTEP 2000, which was shut down completely in the domestic cinema due to some political reasons, and a box office debacle in 2007 with THE SUN ALSO RISES), Wen cunningly harness a cast with trio male leaders, which has an overpowering appeal towards nearly all the Chinese audience. You Ge (a household name in China and majorly allures the large northern demography) stands out in the mêlée, his satirical aura is the key catalyst in the film and also salts his tragical doom with a poignant flavor. Yun-Fat Chow (the Hongkong marque name which has more box-office sway in southern area) is solid too, but his villainy is a trifle overstated with his over-stately appearance. The real top dog is Wen himself, the winner both in and outside the film, with a gutsy supporting characters (Yun Zhou, Carina Lau is the meager female included).

Hardware-wise, the film represents the top-notch level of contemporary Chinese film (one exception is the CGI effect of the opening train accident, which is risibly artificial), and the final battle of the strategy about acquiring the dominance and manipulating of the mass demonstrates that Wen is the master of fashioning a compelling period mainstream work with modern political allegory, which is a highly valued rare bird in this era.
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Great film
dworldeater28 June 2018
Jiang Wen's Let The Bullets Fly is a very original piece of cinema that blends genres seemingly with ease to create a fantastic and unique cinematic experience. This film is hard to put in one category but I am reminded most of Korean western The Good, The Bad And The Weird and Kung Fu Hustle, to get an idea. The story has a group of bandits with a Robin Hood ethos at odds with a ruthless gangster(played by Chow Yun Fat) and their attempts to outwit one another. The film looks fantastic and the film is very tight and well performed. The film is recommended to watch multiple times to try to fully grasp and absorb the film as a whole as there is much to take in on one sitting. There are plot twists galore with large doses of Chinese black humor, sprinkled with small doses of extreme violence and some gunplay. The film goes by at a rapid pace and has some tremendous performances. Let The Bullets Fly was a huge box office hit in China and got some well earned critical acclaim. This is recommended for cinema lovers looking for something complex, rich and at times bonkers.
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The Bard would be proud.
jory-andrea2 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
If William Shakespeare had written a western that takes place in China at the beginning of the 20th century, it would be thus. This intricate plot contains many of the hallmarks of Shakespearean storytelling, conveyed with clever and engaging dialogue and satisfying action: murder, revenge, hidden identities, nobility of purpose, greed, political machinations, romance, violence, greathearted heroes, petty tyrants, henchmen, and impostors. My only real complaint with this film is that the denouement is a little weak. But, overall, I loved it.

If you buy/rent it on DVD, I would recommend viewing it in Mandarin with English subtitles —I found that the English overdub was enjoyable, but a little too "American"; the subtitles had more punch, and kept the flavour of the original Mandarin (fyi, watching it with English overdub *and* English subtitles is trippy).
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Not your typical Chinese action/comedy film...in a good way
asc8516 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not a huge fan of Chinese cinema, although I do enjoy many of the films that get released in America. And while I enjoy the wuxia fighting scenes in most Chinese action films, it does get a little predictable after awhile. However, while Let the Bullets Fly is definitely an action film, there is very little, if any, wuxia fight scenes. Instead the film relies on American-style shoot-em-ups, clever dialog, and a clever (but at times complex) plot. The acting is also surprisingly very strong for a film like this, particularly Ge You who is very funny as the exasperated counselor to the governor. Director Jiang Wu also stars as the bandit masquerading as the governor. Chow Yun-Fat is not the focus of this movie, but he does well in the role as the local strongman, and has a great laugh that is frequently used. All in all, an interesting and atypical Chinese action/comedy film that's right now the highest grossing domestic Chinese film ever made. It's definitely worth a look.
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False advertising and humor lost in translation.
Geschichtenerzaehler15 December 2012
I don't know what to make of this movie. The trailer promised lots of action and remembering some of Chow Yun Fats best movies, I had high hopes. But instead of tons of action, we get a movie about two men trying to outwit each other in a macabre duel of treachery:

A robber becomes an impostor, assuming the role of a towns new governor. He soon begins to oppose the towns true ruler, a crime lord in a game of deadly schemes. This could be very entertaining, if most of the humor wasn't lost in translation. The non verbal humor is basically slapstick and seems kind of outdated.

The acting was okay, the characters had some depth to them, especially the "robber". There were some CGI effects in the movie and they were terribly bad.

It's an uneven mixture that'll probably prove to be boring or confusing to most watchers.
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Even if you see this without understanding Chinese this film is a blast
dbborroughs15 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Comedy action film that is currently (rightly) devouring the Asian box office. I had a chance to see it in Chinese (which I don't understand)with no translation into English, but decided to give it ago since I had heard such great things about it.

It's got Chow Yun Fat in a wickedly funny role as one of three gangsters who are playing games with each other. I couldn't follow the details I just know that it has some great action and the jokes are funny even when you don't understand Chinese because the cast sells it.For the most part it's not goofy humor, but you still laugh simple because the rhythms of the jokes is there.

I watched the film glued to the screen for much of the first hour, but then I realized that as good as it was there was too much I didn't know and I found I was torn between sticking to the end or waiting until the film appears in English either on DVD or in the movies.

This is a super film no matter how you slice it.

See this movie if you get a chance.

(I should mention that while there is plenty of action- and blood- the film isn't a nonstop shoot out as the title might suggest.)
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Let the snores fly...
ChristianUnchained23 April 2013
Advertised as a shoot em up, gun fu action flick, Let The Bullets Fly is anything but. The plot is interesting, but is too convoluted and wildly confusing, which would have worked if the film were directed in a more digestible manner. The action is far and few between, with only about 9 1/2 minutes of poorly shot and poorly directed shootouts in a 124 minute drama-dey. The special effects are very bad, and the sense of any rising action is bogged down by way too much talking, and not enough shooting. For a film that advertises big flash, LTBF fizzles.

The acting is very good though, and Jiang Wen and Chow Yun-Fat are excellent and very charismatic. But this film is so ridiculously cluttered, confusing, and just plain boring, you'll have spent your time watching better foreign films, such as IP MAN, The Good The Bad The Weird, or Hard Boiled. The only thing I can walk away and say about this film is that it undeniably sets itself up for brilliance, and then follows a horrendous train ride to boring-town. The bullets don't fly, but the snores do.
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