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Movie review: Let the Bullets Fly

Movie review: Let the Bullets Fly

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What happens when we throw an anglophile into a Chinese movie screening? The results are not too bad, actually. Rating: 3/5. Release date: 30th March.

By Hayden Tay


AS one who doesn’t watch Chinese movies often, this film confused me with idioms, deep historical backdrop, and philosophy. Hence my reliance on the English subtitles. The whole experience, though, turned out better than I expected.

Let the Bullets Fly, or 讓子彈飛, is a satirical, pun-filled, comedy thriller. But it does have its fair share of gravitas due to a heavyweight cast of Chow Yun Fatt, Carina Lau, and actor-director Jiang Wen.

The movie brings us to Sichuan Province, China, circa 1919. A governer, Ma Bangde, was heading to Goose Town, when his train was hijacked. The bandit, Zhang Muzhi (Jiang Wen), decides to steal the governer’s identity, rank, and even his wife (Carina Lau) for profit.

Once Zhang arrived in Goose Town, it was revealed that there is no law and order among the people. Thrust in his new role as Governor, he promised that justice should be served among the commoners. In comes raw opium dealer Huang Silang (Chow Yun-fat), who challenges Zhang’s authority.

And oh, Huang happens to be the instigator behind the suicide of Zhang’s adopted son. Things start getting interesting from there, as gunfights, explosions, blood baths ensue.

I’m a sucker for macho men in uniform (and masks), and the movie is full of it. There’s plenty of action involving rifles and pistols, and cleverly choreographed fight scenes that elicit laughs. A scene where bandits used the sound of bird whistles to communicate left the audience in stitches.

What I really like about the movie is the plot, which is filled with feigned friendships and back-stabbing. The dialogue is entertaining too. The script was actually edited over thirty times, and the results actually showed.

The second half of the movie, however, is too draggy, marred by dialogue which is too long for my taste. It would be better if more time were devoted to the fight scenes, which is the fun part of the movie. The film, though, wrapped up nicely with a heartwarming ending.

Overall, despite some slight misgivings, I’d say this film is worth the watch.