132 min. (plus extras)/2 discs (combo version)
Rated: Not Rated
$24.98 (DVD)/$29.98 (Collector’s Edition DVD)/$29.98 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)/$32.98 (Collector’s Edition Blu-ray)
Available April 24
Grade: 3 stars (out of 4)
Let the Bullets Fly is a movie that lives up to its name — and then some. The action is fast-paced, crazy, and entertaining, and the plot is equally engaging. This film, starring Chow Yun-Fat alongside Jiang Wen (who also directs) and Ge You, follows the battle for dominance in the village of Goose Town between the resident kingpin (Yun-Fat) and a team of bandits posing as political figures, led by Wen and You.
Blood and bullets fly incessantly, as the bandits and the town struggle to survive. There’s a mystery accompanying all the comedy and drama, and that is what pushes the movie along as the battle of wits becomes a bloody free-for-all in the streets. The atmosphere, plot, music, and characters blend to make this movie very reminiscent of the classic Sergio Leone spaghetti western, A Fistful of Dynamite (1972).
As with other movies in the Asian-produced period-piece genre, basic laws of physics aren’t always followed. Fortunately, also like many other entries in this genre, this one embraces that in the name of spectacular scenes and humorous moments that don’t hinder the movie.
The film clocks in at more than two hours, and if it weren’t for one notable production issue, that time would fly by. The wordplay, like the bullets, flies. This in itself is a non-issue. However, subtitles are onscreen quite often for only a second or two. Compounding the issue is the fact that they’re placed at the bottom of the frame instead of in the widescreen black bars. Which leads to another compounding effect: The subtitles are in white font, which is quite hard to read depending on what’s onscreen at the given time. It can quickly become a headache to stay focused on and keep up with what’s being said.
That said, this is otherwise an excellent movie. The creative plot and script are complemented by numerous hilarious moments and solid performances, especially by Wen and Yun-Fat.
As for extras, it depends on which of the four versions of this release you procure. The standard versions offer only trailers, while the collector’s editions additionally boast deleted scenes and a making-of featurette.
Bottom line: Let the Bullets Fly is a wonderful film, especially for fans of Asian cinema and action movies, and it’s sure to find a fanbase for years to come.
Ray Sidman is a former associate editor and longtime reviewer for Comics Buyer’s Guide. Read his reviews in CBG each month. You can read more Ray’s Reviews here.
(Image (c)2012 Well Go USA Entertainment)