Monday, May 28, 2012
Let the Bullets Fly (2010) - ActionFest Buffet 3.0: Plate #1
On the Menu: LET THE BULLETS FLY (2010)
Ingredients: Chow Yun-Fat, Wen Jiang, Ge You, Xiaogang Feng, Kun Chen and Carina Lau. Directed by Wen Jiang. Run time: 132 minutes. Rated: Not rated.
At First Bite: Chose this as my first Saturday film of ActionFest 2012. Seemed like it could be this year's THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD.
A group of bandits, led by Pocky Zhang (Jiang), ambushes a "train" carrying, Ma, the next governor of Goose Town (You), his wife (Lau) and his counselor. The counselor perishes, but, to avoid death, Ma poses as the counselor. Ma tells Pocky he can be the governor of Goose Town and split the taxes with Master Huang (Yun-Fat), the local mobster.
Zhang would rather just take from Huang, not the townspeople.
But, it's just not that easy.
Tough to Swallow: In the opening, regular titles and subtitles conflict in telling the year. One reads 1919. The other reads 1920.
Often, the subtitles go by pretty quickly.
Not sure it had to be two hours and twelve minutes long.
Something to Chew On: LET THE BULLETS FLY is China's highest-grossing film (domestic) of all-time, passing Xiaogang Feng's AFTERSHOCK.
Feng plays the counselor in the opening scene of this movie.
Jiang is also credited as one of the film's six screenwriters.
The budget was an estimated $18 million.
Aftertaste: LET THE BULLETS FLY was much funnier than I had expected. And, the laughs start right off the bat with the "train" robbery. Ge You is the comic relief, but Yun-Fat gets some chuckles because he plays two roles: the mobster and his double. For the most part, it plays like a black comedy -- since the death scenes are funny as well.
I don't know enough about present-day China, but I've read how this movie is a commentary on the corruption they've seen. Maybe that's why it broke the box-office record there.
Even though the movie runs long, its pace is pretty frenetic. The back-and-forth dialogue is tough to follow at times. If you don't like subtitles, this might be a tough film for you (unless the dubbed version stays true to the script).
The game of one-upsmanship between Zhang and Huang grows and grows as the movie progresses. The laughs are entertaining, sure, but it's this battle that keeps you interested. They are great, well-written characters, and they're pretty badass, too.
Comedy, violence and mind games: A winning trifecta.
This is one of the first of the ActionFest 2012 flicks to get a DVD release (April 24, 2012), and I'm definitely planning on getting one.