Let the Bullets Fly / 讓子彈飛 (2010)
Genre: Comedy / Western
Director: Jiang Wen
Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Jiang Wen, Ge You, Carina Lau
Duration: 132 min.
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.
Let the Bullets Fly is a blockbuster Chinese film written and directed by Jiang Wen. Released theatrically in December 2010, it has since become the most successful domestic box-office film of all time in China.An action comedy film set during the 1920's Chinese Warlord Era, the story itself is based on the work of Chinese writer Ma Shitu and borrows heavily from elements of classic samurai and western films. Following bandit leader Zhang Mazi (played by the director Jiang Wen) as he impersonates the newly appointed governor (Ge You) of a remote town controlled by a criminal gang led by Huang (played by Hong Kong acting legend Chow Yun Fat).
The film is quite funny throughout, with some very humorous scenes, and some clever political parallels to current events, but does drag a bit in the middle of the film, and the action never really feels intense or exciting. Just silly, over the top, and burdened by the overuse of distractingly obvious CGI effects.
What makes this film are the excellent performances from two of the most charismatic actors alive today, Jiang Wen as a Robin Hood like bandit hero whose only goal is to take down Chow Yun Fat as the clever and manipulating, larger than life kingpin. These two play off each other so well that every scene they share is just so fun to watch, and they are supported brilliantly by Ge You, who steals some scenes as the real governor, a greedy and sniveling scammer trying to get rich.
Overall an entertaining and hilarious film carried by some fine acting that plays like a slapstick cross between The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Yojimbo, but is saddled by cheesy action, gets a bit repetitive, and you just might have to be Chinese to fully enjoy the humor, heavy on cultural references.