HTS Moderator , Reviewer
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8546[/img]Title: Let the Bullets Fly
Starring: Wen Jiang, Chow Yun-Fat
Directed by: Wen Jian
Written by: Wen Jian, Ping Shu
Studio: WellGo USA
Runtime: 132 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: April 24th, 2012
HTS Overall Score:75
The best way to describe "Let the Bullets Fly" is as a cross between Kill Bill, Blazing Saddles and Robin hood, all with an Asian flair. Normally one wouldn't expect a mish mash like that to work, but surprisingly enough it works, and works very well. The film starts with a bandit crew, lead by Pocky Zhang (Wen Jiang), attacking a train carrying the newly appointed Mayor of a small town called "Goose town". The Mayor is captured and forced to serve as Zhang's assistant while Zhang himself assumes the role of Mayor. In this era the status of mayor was bought and sold to the highest bidder and the summary result was a mayor who used his status in order to make money by taxing the populace to death and splitting the profits with the local gangsters. Pocky Zhang has another idea though, don't tax the poor, but rather tax those who can afford it. E.G. the rich gangsters. The head gangster in town, Master Huang (Chow Yun-Fat) has his own agenda, use the new mayor to take down the bane of his opium smuggling operation, the mysterious and hither to unseen bandit Pocky Zhang.
Zhang starts the cat and mouse game by acquiescing to Master Huang's request and starts his own plan of taking down Master Huang's operation, using his bandits to play both sides, both bandit and government stooges in order to coax Huang out of both his riches and his life. As with most convoluted plans they don't always work out. Huang discovers that his new "mayor" is actually the same bandit he has been hunting and an all out battle must ensue to determine who will rule Goose Town, Gangsters or Pocky Zhang's new order.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8556[/img]My main complaint against asian humor is that much of the humor gets lost in the translation. Luckily for the viewer the extremely quick and intelligent back and forth bantering is both humorous and witty. Zhang and his subjugated "assistant" exchange biting repartee and some fantastic use of situational humor to keep the mood light and cheerful even amid some very R rated violence. This is what keeps the movie so very fresh and unique, both lighthearted Asian humor and bloody violence are blended together to create a soup that tastes better than the sum of its parts.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8555[/img]Well Go USA gives the fans a very well done AVC transfer with little to complain about, and luckily for the audience the film is abundant in bright outdoor scenes which serve to showcase the transfer. Colors are lush and rich with no apparent boosting of the contrast. The blacks are inky and deep with very little black crush happening. Shadow's are an exceptional example of this with amazing detail being shown even in the deepest and darkest shadows. No DNR was present but the main factor to the 4 star rating rather than a 4.5 star rating is the presence of video noise and compression artifacts. Ever so often a scene would get riddled with a fine level of video noise and the occasional pixelation errors. Overall a very fine effort from a studio that is mainly known for its low budget martial arts movies.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8554[/img]Simple and to the point. The 5.1 Mandarin DTS HD-MA track is another fine example of a very well balanced track. LFE is present and clean, but not over the top, highs and mids are smooth and dialogue is crisp and clear, without being over shadowed by the soundtrack. Basically it is a simple and well crafted audio track. Nothing that will make your walls crumble and shake, but there should be no complaints due to deficits in the track. There is also an accompaning English track, which after A/B ing, turns out to be a very similarly mixed track (although the LFE channel was slightly boosted), albeit with the expected lack of talent behind the English dub in comparison to the original language actors.
Easily the most notable section of the disc is the features, or more accurately, the LACK of features. Well Go USA gives us 2 trailers and a teaser trailer for the feature film... and nothing else. Zip, zero, nada, nothing else. The 2 disc collectors edition, on the other hand, sacrifices the DVD copy of the film for a second disc that includes 65 minutes of extra features.
"Let the Bullets Fly" surprised me personally. I enjoy Asian cinema immensely, but I have a tendency to be very leary of Asian comedy due to the humor losing its impact during translation, however both myself and my guests were laughing our heads off from beginning to end at the well done slapstick humor and over the top action. This wasn't Chow Yun-Fat's best acting job but he still did a great job as the goofy, yet cruel villain and Wen Jiang was excellent as the bandit leader Pocky Zhang. The video is excellent and well deserving it's praise and the audio is just as good. The lack of special features is the only major complaint I had and that can be remedied by upgrading to the 2 disc collectors edition. The 2 hour and 10 minute runtime could have been trimmed a little, but the movie very rarely had me glancing at the player's timer. Its not often that I see a film which mish mashes genres like "Let the Bullets Fly" does without being disappointed, however in this case I was pleasantly surprised. My final thoughts are, if you're a fan of Asian cinema you must watch this. If you're not a wild fan of Asian cinema, I would still recommend a rental, it very well may surprise you.
Recommendation: Watch It!