Let the Bullets Fly [讓子彈飛吧] (2010)

Starring Jiang Wen, Chow Yun-Fat, Ge You, Shao Bing, Liao Fan, Du Yi-Heng, Li Jing, Zhang Mo, Wei Xiao, Carina Lau, Zhou Yun, Yao Lu, Jiang Wu

Directed by Jiang Wen

Expectations: Moderate. I’ve heard good and bad things.

Let the Bullets Fly is a very interesting multi-genre movie, but if you go in with expectations that Chow Yun-Fat will resurrect his past with John Woo by letting some heroic bullets fly, you might as well not watch it. It’s nothing like that at all. At its heart it’s a comedy, one which may or may not make it through the translation depending on your sense of humor, but it’s a comedy built on the framework of a town western with sprinkles of action mixed in very frugally. It’s also a drama, with some excellent back-and-forth dialogue scenes between the great actors. But none of these elements make the film great individually, it’s how they all work together to create a cohesive narrative that takes the film and makes it fly like the titular bullets.

A group of bandits led by Pocky Zhang (Jiang Wen, and also our director) hijacks a horse-drawn train transporting the new governor of Goose Town. He hopes to find a bounty of silver inside the cabin, but instead he only finds the snivelling governor and his wife. They tell Zhang that the money he seeks can be found in Goose Town, so the bandits, with the governor and his wife in tow, travel there and Zhang poses as the new governor. This raises the ire of local mob boss Huang (Chow Yun-Fat), and before we know it we’re locked into an intense, and hilarious, battle of wills between the two.

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