Let the Bullets Fly


Let the Bullets Fly

[Rang zidan fei]

Written by Zhu Sujin, Shu Ping, Jiang Wen, Guo Junli, Wei Xiao & Li Bukong

Adapted from “Ye Tan Shi Ji” by Ma Shitu

Music by Joe Hisaishi & Shu Nan

Production & Costume Design: William Chang Suk-Ping

Director of Photography: Zhao Fei

Edited by Jiang Wen

Produced by Ma Ke, Albert Lee & Yin Homber

Directed by Jiang Wen



Chow Yun-Fat

Ge You

Jiang Wen

Carina Lau

Jiang Wu

Liao Fan

Zhou Yun

Chen Kun

Zhang Mo

Production Studio:

Theatrical: Polybona Films & JCE Movies Ltd.

Video: Well Go (U.S.)


Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Codec: AVC

Disc Size: BD-25

Feature Size: 19.7 GB

Total Bit Rate: Moderate~Low (15-20 Mbps)

Runtime: 132 minutes

Chapters: 18

Region: A


Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0

English Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles: English

Extras: DVD copy


Amaray Blu-ray case: BRD x 1

Release Date: April 24, 2012

Critical Reception:


A rollicking, violent, Western-cum-comedy that serves many masters, but adds up to an entertaining hot pot of wry political commentary and general mischief. . . While a generous portion of Let the Bullets Fly is dedicated to computerized chaos, explosions, and mayhem, the subtle is always in competition with the ostentatious. – John Anderson



Time Out Hong Kong:

Three of Chinese cinema’s greatest actors converge in this political satire disguised as a 1930s China-set spaghetti western. To flaunt its genre trappings and prove that all revolutions began as unfortunate coincidences, Jiang Wen’s darkly humorous tale of guns and guts kicks off with a railroad robbery, in which the private train of veteran con-man Tang (Ge You), who is enjoying a meal of hot pot with his capricious wife (Carina Lau), is derailed by the notorious bandit Pocky Zhang (played by Jiang).

For their new venture to scam a huge fortune together, Tang and Zhang, posing as the newly installed governor and his right-hand man, head to Goose Town, a desert city overlooked by the powerful mobster Huang (Chow Yun-fat, who also plays Huang’s imbecilic double). But as the craftily material quest turns gory, vengeance is added to the agenda as the three set themselves up for a perpetual cycle of carnage. An acting masterclass throughout, Let the Bullets Fly turns out to be more than just comedy gold: its nifty setting – where foot soldiers are invariably idiotic, and the dodgy protagonists all try to make a bigger buck with the authority they practically bought – perhaps takes a native Chinese to fully appreciate.

– Edmund Lee



Twitch Film:

It's obvious that Jiang is making full use of his freedom as a director. This is his film and whatever he seems fit will happen. Some scenes don't make much sense, some comedy bits are a little far-fetched, others completely random, but whenever Jiang appears in the frame it's clear he's just toying with his audience a little while still providing all the necessary entertainment. It might be that you don't appreciate such follies, but Jiang never comes of as condescending or pretentious and is simply having a blast making his film.

The ending isn't the big climax you might've expected, it's a little more refined than that, but it definitely fits the film. For all the entertainment value on offer here, Let The Bullets Fly is just not a regular big budget affair that is held down by conventions. It's a remarkable blend of arthouse and commercial cinema that strikes a perfect balance between entertainment and cinematic wonder. In that sense, the ending is just perfect and finishes off the film with a final nod of genius. –  Niels Matthijs



The Movie: 9

Let the Bullets Fly has become the highest grossing Chinese film, beating the record set by Aftershock.  Following James Cameron's Avatar, this film is now the second highest grossing film ever released in China.  The film mixes low comedy, witty dialogue (evident even in translation), sexual innuendo, visceral action, nutty characters and graphic violence - a pizza with everything on it, held together by Jiang Wen’s cheesy choreography.

Except for that I found the idea of Huang’s double underdeveloped, I found myself pretty much on the edge of my seat with a huge smile plastered on my face throughout most of the movie, separated by the occasional laugh out loud.  I had no idea Chow Yun-Fat could be this funny, and he has good company with the estimable Ge You, who is pretty much hysterical from start to finish.  Jiang Wen has done it all here: he co-wrote, directs, edits and stars in this inexplicably amazing film.



Image : 8/9

Compared to the original Hong Kong release from Emperor Motion Pictures, Well Go’s Blu-ray of Let the Bullets Fly is just a little brighter.  (Somehow I would have expected it to be the other way around.)  Both the HK and Well Go Blu-rays are satisfied with only a modest bit rate enough to fill a single layered disc, which seems to be adequate if a little polished.  Colors are spot-on while contrast is held in control.  The WellGo release permits highlights to wig out, while the HK transfer tries to limit them.  In either case blacks are deep, primaries are rich.  Transfer artifacts do not rise to the level of concern.  CGI is less than first class, and there is a curious wild and crazy motion judder, more like what we find deliberately authored in anime, during one of the shots of the train before Pocky’s attack at the start of the film.  This judder exists on both the WellGo and the HK BLu-rays but is more pronounced on the American disc.  There is also some minor aliasing from time to time.

     Honk Kong




     Hong Kong




     Hong Kong





Audio, Dub & Music : 8/5/7

The HK Blu-ray offers two 7.1 mixes, while WellGo is happy enough in 5.1 DTS HD-MA for both the Mandarin and English dubs.  My audio setup is only 5.1 but rendered in that configuration, the HK version is more dynamic and robust.  We hear this easily in the drum group fanfare that greets Pocky and Tang as they first enter Goose Town, the train rumbling from the opening scene and the bullets that whiz about from every conceivable direction.


As with previous Blu-rays, WellGo includes an English dub – in this case less insulting than was common only a few years ago.  The voice for Tang maintains a semblance of character.  I can’t say the same for Pocky Zhang however.  The women are fair-to-OK as is the voice standing in for Chow Yun-Fat. Effects are well managed, clear and dynamically presented, and Joe Hisaishi’s music is properly colorful and idiomatic.  The subtitling is neat, reasonably unobtrusive and in good idiomatic English – similar to, but not identical to the one used on the HK Blu-ray.



Extras : 1

You gotta give WellGo credit for not even listing their HD trailers as Bonus Features.  There is, however, a DVD copy of the feature film included.


Recommendation : 8

Let the Bullets Fly is a fun piece.  Don’t expect it to make sense all the time – the movie exists in a parallax universe with odd angles and leaps of logic.  But so did the Marx Brothers.  Unlike the Hong Kong Blu-ray there are no bonus features to speak of (thus the overall score of 8 instead of 9), but there is a serviceable English-language dub for the subtitle-impaired.  The image quality is much the same as the HK release – a little denser perhaps, with a tad more motion oddities.  The audio, here 5.1 instead of 7.1 is very good indeed, if not as robust as the original Chinese release.




Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

April 15, 2012

WellGo also makes Let the Bullets Fly in a cheaper edition sans DVD, HERE:  

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