Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Jiang Wen, Chen Kun
Director: Jiang Wen
Running Time: 132 mins
Let The Bullets Fly is a Chinese film about a group of bandits in 1920s warlord China who pose as the local governor when they enter a nearby town, and attempt to work from within to bring down a tyrannical leader in the village.
Right, this is basically Django Unchained, just two years earlier, so it’s pretty safe to say that Tarantino ripped this film off. That’s harsh on Tarantino, but it’s strange how uncannily identical the two films are, for the better, because this has got some great comedy, exaggerated action and stupidity throughout, along with a relatively entertaining story, although one that isn’t so heart-pounding or intelligent as the one in Django.
Let’s start with the main part of this film, the comedy. Now, I don’t really understand Chinese humour all too well, so the first stages of this film were some of the strangest I’ve ever been through, due to the completely over-the-top and farcical nature of the comedy, however that does settle after about half an hour when the story kicks in and you realise it’s all a part of the crazy atmosphere, by which time it’s a lot of fun.
To be honest, there really are a lot of laughs here, whether it comes from complete idiotic slapstick or the crazy dialogue, and even if you’re not really into the story after over two hours, you can get through this film enjoying it because of the stupid comedy.
What’s more is that the action here is a hell of a lot of fun. Although it comes in short bursts and is usually accompanied by some pretty laughable CGI, it’s got the feel of a Tarantino film crossed with a spaghetti western, and it’s always properly exciting to watch the gun battles that pop up every now and then even if you’re not so invested in the stakes of the story.
That’s the biggest problem with this film: the story. Now, as a premise, the whole undercover thing is a lot of fun, and is an interesting plot line throughout, but the way that the story unfolds in quite a repetitive and slow way over a two hour-plus running time means that it does get a little boring, and reduces your overall enjoyment of the silliness of the whole film.
Overall, this gets a 7.3, because even though its story is pretty weak and dragging, the comedy is hilarious and the action is a lot of fun.