Let the Bullets Fly - movie review
If China were to make a their own version of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, then this would be the closest to it. Directed and acted by Jiang Wen, along with other heavyweights like Chow Yunn Fatt, and interestingly, Feng Xiao Gang as an actor instead of the director, this show has action, comedy and a real boiler of a plot.
However those expecting a shootfest will be disappointed. The tilte is a misnomer really. Sure there are the obligatory showdowns, but the words and dialogue are were the jousting occurs, and it comes fast and furious, whereas the action comes along like a leaking facet, giving us just enough to prevent the action from going totally dry.
However the heavyweights employed didn't just come to collect their paychecks, and it is especially gratifying for me to see Chow Yunn Fatt back to top form, giving us the magical sparkle we last saw in his hits from the 90s. Its been a while and his co-actors keep up and seeing him play a baddie against the more straight-laced Jiang Wen was interesting.
So a bandit decides to pretend to be the incoming governor, and intend of doing the usual thing i.e. milking the town dry of money, he pits his wits, skills, courage and brawn against the town mobster. However if you are looking for the John Woo type gun play thinking this is merely a mobster movie, then you will walk away with the wrong impression. There are no pigeons in slow mo flying across the screen, no long coats flying in the wind. But you get plenty of sharp dialogue and it is more than enough entertainment to make up for the shortage of bullets flying. If comprehension of the language proves to be an issue and you need to rely on the subtitles, then you will lost more than 50% of the plot immediately. That is the only caveat in the whole show.
You do get the obviously eye candy/chick factor, with Zhou Yun lighting up the stage with her vivacious personality, and Carina Lau trying her best to look sultry in her 40s… I I wonder what Tony Leung has to say about Jiang Wen putting his hands on her boobs for so long in a bedroom scene…)
There are also a few newcomers, and they make the best of their limited screen time, and all in all, this movie will be worth a rental and if you like Mr Chow, probably a keeper too.