The Dissection returns to the realm of Asian cinema with this goofy Chino-western action film, LET THE BULLETS FLY.
Released on DVD: May 15th, 2012 (USA)
Genre: Action/Black Comedy/Drama
Directed By: Jiang Wen
Written by: Jiang Wen
Distributed by: Well Go USA
Runtime : 2:12:25
A bandit named Zhang and his gang highjacks a train carrying a governor, his wife, and adviser. With the governor seemingly dead and the adviser looking to stay alive, he lets the bandit pose as the governor as they travel to Goose Town. Once they arrive, they find out that the town is already under the rule of a crime lord named Master Huang. This sets off a war against the crime bosses for control of the town.
Chow Yun-Fat as Master Huang, the crime lord of Goose Town, who starts a battle for power with the bandit “Pocky” Zhang. a legendary actor with decades of experience, Chow Yun-Fat is best known as Inspector “Tequila” Yuen in several John Woo action movies, including HARD BOILED. Other films on his resume include CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON, THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS, and BULLETPROOF MONK.
Jiang Wen as “Pocky” Zhang Mazi, the bandit leader who takes the role of the governor. Serving as the director, screenwriter, and one of the main stars, he’s won several awards in the Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Supporting Actor for his role in THE SOONG SISTERS, and a best direcotr and screenplay award for IN THE HEAT OF THE SUN.
Ge You as Counselor Tang, who helps Zhang with his plans, and tries to keep his secret from Zhang . You is seen as a comedy legend in Mainland China, working in several movies, and has won awards for Best Actor in films like AFTER SEPARATION, TO LIVE, BIG SHOT’S FUNERAL, and CELL PHONE.
Carina Lau as Mrs. Ma, the governor’s wife. A Chinese actor mainstay, she’s worked in the sequels to INTERNAL AFFAIRS, the series that inspired the move THE DEPARTED, as well as played the Empress in a movie previously reviewed here, DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME.
Before we go into the movie proper, a word of caution. This is a foreign movie that is both subtitled in English with Mandarin language or dubbed in English. Similar to other movies that have been reviewed here, like DETECTIVE DEE and 1911, how you watch the film makes a difference in what you get on the screen. The subtitles and the English dubbing don’t really match up to what is getting said. Your best bet is to have the original Mandarin language on with the English subtitles, primarily because the English dub of the movie is very, very silly. Now, the movie itself is goofy, but the dubbing feels like a comedy track and not like an actual dialogue. If you can, stick with the subtitles.
The movie itself takes place in the 20’s and has a sort of western feel to it, even though it’s more industrial. However, it’s not like a documentary like 1911, as it using the era as more of a setting to the main story of a gang war. There also is a looser tie with reality, one you realize soon after you see the opening that involves a bandit hitting a railroad with an axe and causing the train it was on to flip over. While it’s not a kung-fu flick, there are a lot of different action scenes revolving on weapons and gunplay that should keep action fans interested.
The movie also works with the chemistry of the main actors, and that is a very good part of the movie. Seeing how the two criminals interact with one another and what they do to strike back at each other makes the movie and the story very interesting. Along with that, the movie has some minor characters that also do some good work in their roles. It does get a bit silly at times, especially during otherwise serious moments, but it doesn’t affect the story very much and it keeps up the psuedo black comedy angle with some of the moments in this film.
Visual wise, the movie looks good. The look of film works with the western vibe of the story and era. It doesn’t rely too much on CG effects, and the part of it that don’t are used in good situations. The overall feel of the movie is reminiscent of a Rodriquez or Tarantino movie, but with some Hong Kong style and impact added in.
There’s nothing that can be really said negatively about the movie, as all of the elements to it work with each other. There is a need for some better characterization for the gang, but it’s nothing that is major, as they do have some kind of character by the end of the movie. It’s a movie that would sit well with most people, cause of keeping the hits coming, so to speak.
On the DVD itself, not a whole lot of additions. There are some trailers in the beginning, that include:
WARRIORS OF THE RAINBOW: SEEDIQ BALE – A movie featuring a mountain tribe fighting with a more industrial army type.
WAR OF THE ARROWS – A duel between several archers facing off against one lone warrior out for vengeance.
THE FRONT LINE - A tale about the Korean War, during the last days, where a batle occurs during a general cease fire.
BLADE OF KINGS A group of mystical kung fu fighters fight off an evil empire.
Also, it shows all 3 of the trailers released for the movie, the teaser, the original and the second trailer. )
That is, though, for the standard edition. There is a collector’s edition that was released as well. That features a video with the writer and a making of feature. It’s a few bucks more for the collector’s edition, and it’s up to you to see if that is worth the extra 2-3 bucks..
It’s a very good movie that should make fan of action movies happy, along with giving a nice story to give some development for the characters involved. Not a lot I can criticize this movie for, so I highly recommend this film.
Rent LET THE BULLETS FLY(standard) on Redbox
Buy LET THE BULLETS FLY (Standard) on Amazon
Buy LET THE BULLETS FLY (Collector’s Edition) on Amazon: