Sino-lacra

Let the Bullets Fly: Nothing Makes Sense Anymore

Comments

1
Did a 21 year old intern write this review?
2
Yes, films in another language are a bitch. Read this and then see the film: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culture…. Then ask where American filmmakers are on risky and entertaining political critique in film.
3
Did an octopus with a bowler hat write this review?
4
Did Ben Coleman write this review?
5
@1, 3 & 4: My best years are behind me, yes & yes, respectively.

@R: I like films in other languages! The problem with this particular film in another language is that it apparently requires one or more 1500 page Salon.com articles to parse the political critique. And the gunfights were dumb.
6
1500 word, rather. But still. It's a 200 word review.
7
@Ben Coleman: Most media outlets have reviews like yours. I'm just alerting readers who go down to the comments level that this is an important film. Huge current political issues in China are hidden in allegory, and the people of China have voted at the box office, making it the highest grossing Chinese film in history.
8
Thank you R for your useful information and your kind patience. You give a great demonstration in how to positively address ignorance.
9
R, Sexmachinealpha: It's an interesting article to be sure. Unfortunately, whatever profound allegory LtBF contains didn't make the translation intact. Allegory is notoriously hard to translate, and a complex national allegory so closely tied to place and a specific cultural humor may well be impossible. It might be an Important Movie in China, but it's not anything over here if no one can understand what's going on.

The other problem is that it's not really entertaining. It's not a good action movie, it's an ugly looking western, and as a period piece it's inaccurate. It's not a comedy unless you happen to be a speed reader or fluent in Mandarin, because those subtitles go FLYING by. "You're just too dumb/unequipped to appreciate it" is a fine line to take if you want to be priggish in the comments section, but it's unlikely to get many asses in those seats.
10
The film opened in the US March 2 in 5 theaters, this week 10. So having it at the Hollywood says something pretty awesome about Portland. The Hollywood, Cinema 21 and the Living Room Theaters, sometimes the Clinton, and the Film Center & Cinema Project give us great opportunities beyond the multiplex that only the largest US cities have.

Bullets also gives us a front row seat to what's going on in the biggest country in the world: http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/0….
11
I saw the film last night. Tonight, Thursday, is the last night.

It's fitting the film is at the Hollywood that has made a specialty in classic kung fu films and grindcore.

The plot is the struggle between a bandit who comes to town posing as the new governor, Zhang, played by the director, writer himself, Jiang Wen Bio and the town's richest man, the 1%, Huang, human trafficker and the man who controls the drug trade, played by Chow Yun Fat. In between, is the swindler, Ma, who shifts alliances between the two.

Each launches a series of intriques to win support of the town's poor residents, gain control of the town government, it courts and, of course its money, all held by Huang. Not only is each plot more complicated than the next, but each man quickly adapts to the moves of the other.

The film is based on a novel by an author who grew up in the area where the film is set. The author later became a party official, holding many government posts.

While I don't understand every Chinese proverb the protagonists exclaim, the film is not hard to follow. The subtitles are easy to follow on a large screen if you sit back a few rows. Not sure how they would work on a screener. The stunts are grindcore, but no more unrealistic than those of Michael Bay. The film is really about dialog and the test of wills between the main characters.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the film dubbed, or to come back as an American remake. It certainly will be sampled and referenced by people in film.