Let the Bullets Fly 让子弹飞 (2010) – Bandits, Action and Deception!

Learning Chinese with a Classic – Let the Bullets Fly

If you’re into action packed, bandit-filled, Chinese language comedy action movies, Let the Bullets Fly (让子弹飞 ràng zǐ dàn fēi) is the film for you!

Directed by Wen Jiang, this classic caused quite the stir in 2010 and is now a household name. Here’s everything you need to know (including useful Chinese vocabulary!) before you dive on in.

Let the Bullets Fly Review | Brief Introduction

Let the Bullets Fly Review | Where to watch

Let the Bullets Fly Review | Director’s relatives: it’s who you know!

Let the Bullets Fly Review | Cast

Let the Bullets Fly Review | Words to know

Let the Bullets Fly Review | FAQ’s

Let the Bullets Fly: Brief Introduction

What could possibly go wrong when when you are just having fun, eating hotpot and singing your favourite Chinese songs?

Let the Bullets Fly
Let the Bullets Fly

Well Governor Ma (马邦德 mǎ bāngdé) never imagined that while he was doing all three he would be robbed by a group of bandits led by Pocky Zhang (张麻子 zhāng mázǐ)!

Governor Ma is travelling by train to Goose Town (鹅城 é chéng) with his adviser Counsellor Tang (汤师爷 Tāng shīyé) to take up the position of county governor, when the group is suddenly attacked.

During the robbery, Counsellor Tang (汤师爷 Tāng shīyé) is killed, along with Governor Ma’s bodyguards.

Governor Ma, however, won’t go down so easily!

To avoid being killed by the bandits he lies to them, claiming instead to be Counsellor Tang and insisting one of them men killed was Governer Ma. He bargains with the bandits and says that if they spare his life, he will help Pocky Zhang impersonate Governor Ma so that they can go to Goose Town and steal the town’s finances.

What they didn’t know is that Goose Town is actually ruled by a local mobster Huang Silang (黄四郎 Huáng sìláng).

So what will happen after Governor Ma meets Huang Silang? One side wants justice and the other wants money, as you might have guessed… bullets might fly!

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Let the Bullets Fly: Where to Watch

Let the Bullets Fly was made in both Mandarin and Sichuanese, so there are two versions of it available to watch.

Both versions are available to watch on the Chinese streaming platform Youku for free with English subtitles.

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My Own Swordsman // A Popular Chinese Sitcom

The TV show My Own Swordsman (武林外传 wǔlín wàizhuàn) is set during the Ming Dynasty in a fictional town called Qixia Town (七侠镇 qī xiá zhèn).

Let the Bullets Fly: It’s Who You Know! (Especially if that ‘who’ is the director)

Let the Bullets Fly was directed by the very famous Chinese actor and director Wen Jiang (姜文 Jiāng Wén). You may recognise his from his part as Baze Malbus in the Star Wars film Rogue One! In Let the Bullets Fly, Wen Jiang plays the part of Pocky Zhang.

What might surprise you is that he also hired some of his family members to act in the movie as well.

Wen Jiang’s wife, actress Zhou Yun (周韵 zhōu yún) plays a prostitute in the film named Flora (花姐 huā jiě). His brother Wu Jiang (姜武 jiāng wǔ) also plays a role in the film, but we’re not telling you who 😉. However, you should be able to figure it out because of how similar the two brothers look.

Even if you have a very high Chinese level, this movie may be a little hard to understand so we’d recommend watching it with English subtitles. But don’t worry, as long as you’ve got Pleco and your notebook on hand, you’ll still be able to learn some famous lines and new words, while laughing and enjoying the film.

The must have tool when studying Chinse!

Let the Bullets Fly: Cast

Megastar Chow Yun Fat Huang Silang (黄四郎 Huáng sìláng) in the movie. He is a famous Hong Kong actor who has starred in films such as A Better Tomorrow, God Of Gamblers and most recently, 2022’s Monkey King.

The famous editor, director and actor not only directs this movie, he also plays Pocky Zhang (张麻子 zhāng mázi). He is also known for his role in Red Sorghum and directing the well-known 2000 film Devils on the Doorstep, winning him a great reputation. Oh, and he appears in Star Wars: Rogue One as Baze Malbus.

Plays Counsellor Tang (汤师爷 tāng shīyé). A famous actor who has starred in films such as Lifetimes Living and The Wasted Times.

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Let the Bullets Fly: Words to Know

鹅城 É chéng Goose town
麻匪 Má fěi Bandit
县长 Xiàn zhǎng Governor
算逑 Suàn qiú (Sichuan dialect) Cut it out
公平 Gōngpíng Justice
报仇 Bàochóu Avenge
枪在手,跟我走 Qiāng zài shǒu, gēn wǒ zǒu Those with guns follow me

Some people say that this movie is actually a profound metaphor and is hard to understand.

However, as the Chinese saying goes “There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes” (一千个人眼中就有一千个哈姆雷特 yīqiān gèrén yǎnzhōng jiù yǒu yīqiān gè hāmǔléitè).

Let us know what you thought about Let The Bullets Fly in the comments below!

Let the Bullets Fly Review: FAQ’s

When was Let the Bullets Fly released?

Let the Bullets Fly was released in 2010.

How long is Let the Bullets Fly?

Let the Bullets Fly is 132 minutes long.

Can I watch Let the Bullets Fly on YouTube?

Yes, you can pay to watch Let the Bullets Fly on YouTube.

What’s the meaning of Let the Bullets Fly?

The character Six asks: “You missed?” and Pocky Zhang replies: “Let the bullets fly…”. It means that you need to be patient and wait for the ending.

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