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Let the Bullets Fly


Image courtesy of IFC Films
Let the Bullets Fly
Exclusive Columbus Engagement Jiang Wen, 2010
Mar 23, 2012–Apr 5, 2012
“Unabashedly entertaining! A rollicking Chinese western! Few Chinese blockbusters achieve this film’s level of sophistication in nuanced dialogue, plot twists, and bravura acting!”—Hollywood Reporter

The highest grossing domestic Chinese film ever, this comic variation on the Western has plenty of gunslinging, superstars, story twists, and sharp dialogue to make it a highly entertaining ride. During the Warlord era of the 1920s, a bunch of bandits hijack a train that’s transporting the new governor. When the governor dies in a train crash, the leader of the bandits (Jiang Wen) impersonates him to share the fortune from the hijacking with the townspeople. That’s when a local mobster (Chow Yun-Fat) shows up to launch a battle of wits and bullets over the loot.

This smart, deadpan satire mixes laughs and combat in a way that recalls Akira Kurosawa, Sergio Leone, and John Woo (but with a more subversive streak). The film also provides meaty roles for some of the best-known Chinese actors working today, including the great Chow Yun-Fat (The Killer, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Ge You (who won the Best Actor award at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival for his performance in Zhang Yimou’s To Live), and Carina Lau (Days of Being Wild, Infernal Affairs). Let the Bullets Fly’s writer/director/star Jiang Wen began his career as one of the most charismatic “sixth generation” actors, including a memorable performance in Red Sorghum, Zhang Yimou’s debut film, before becoming one of China’s most highly regarded (yet controversial) directors. His 2000 film Devils on the Doorstep won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival and then was banned in China. (132 mins., digital presentation)