Sunday, 20 January 2013

The Bullet Vanishes Movie Review!!!

Wow - what a great movie!! That should be all you need to know but for the more discerning of you, please read on...

Lau Ching-Wan is one of my favourite Hong Kong actors and movies like this show us why.  Highly talented and highly versatile, he adds a touch of class to any movie.  Nicholas Tse, on the other hand, is not quite up there in my books but he definitely gets an A for effort.  Put the two together and you have something greater than the sum of their parts – director Law Chi-Leung’s The Bullet Vanishes.

Set in 1930s China, Song Donglu (Lau Ching-Wan) is a prison police officer with a difference.  He enjoys hearing the stories of the prisoners and uses his brilliant mind to free numerous wrongly convicted prisoners.  This of course soon catches the attention of his superiors and promotion to detective status rapidly ensues.   

Deployed to a town with a fresh murder to solve, Donglu joins forces with local cop Guo Zhui (Nicholas Tse).  The two team up to try and solve the riddle of the vanishing bullets.  Each of the victims appear to have been shot but the bullets cannot be found at the crime scenes or in the bodies.  Factory workers soon start to suspect supernatural causes and fear that it is a curse coming true.  Donglu knows otherwise and uses, for the time, cutting edge forensics methodology to try and crack the case.  Think CSI in 1930s China.

Fearful of corruption and ulterior motives within the local police, Donglu and Zhui join forces with a rookie-cop to try and get to the bottom of things, not without a little help from a street informant (Mini Yang) and the police departments coroner (Yumiko Cheng).  The chemistry between the three cops really sells this and makes us want to follow their findings as they unravel the mystery. 

It’s beautiful watching the logic unfold as they explain and decrypt the different crime scenes.  Comparisons with Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes are inevitable, especially as a certain explosion scene is a straight rip-off of a scene out of the first Holmes movie.  However, such comparisons really don’t do justice to either movie.  Besides having two uber-smart detectives in olden times solving crimes, this bears little resemblance to the Holmes movies and characters.  Arguably, this is a better movie.

In addition to the razor sharp logic and detective work, we also have some expertly crafted actions sequences.  Put it all together and you have a pretty great movie. 

Is this a perfect movie?  No.  I’m sure many will be left disappointed by the ending as I was.  Not disappointed because it was an anti-climax but rather because it’s, perhaps, not as formulaic as sometimes movies can be and we often want them to be.  The ending left me thinking for quite some time and part of me wishes that it was different.  The fact that I’m still thinking about it is testament to how good this movie is.  My only regret is not having seen it on the big screen when it was released last year.

Highly recommended!! Get it on Blu-ray or DVD!

Rating 4.5 out of 5.


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