22 April 2011
Let the Bullets Fly
Unexpectedly, I liked the very masculine Let the Bullets Fly (2010). I don't usually like political satires but China’s biggest domestic box-office hit to date is a fast, freewheeling romp full of wit, violence, and humor. Set in the 1920s, after the Qing dynasty ended in the era of the warlords who fought over the empire’s pieces, Let the Bullets Fly tells the tale of a notorious bandit facing off with the local strongman for control of Goose Town.I liked its crackling amorality and lack of ideology, which feels truly modern. Jiang Wen, who directed the film, plays the bandit chief, whose band of brothers robs a train, along with the governing seal to Goose Town, where they steal from the rich to distribute to the poor. Opium smuggler, played by Chow Yun Fatt tries to kill the bandit and regain his town. The weasly former governor, played by Ge You, tries to gain at ever twist and turn of the plot. The chemistry sizzles amongst the charming leads (I liked the casting), and all the art direction is fresh. As my friend BLA observed, the clothes are beautifully made. However it is a bit long, and as it ends, sags rather a bit. It's thought-provoking nonetheless, and clever, and way ahead of much that is coming out of Hollywood, for instance, or Hong Kong.