“Let the Bullets Fly;” When a Chinese Movie Is More Than Just a Movie

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I sometimes find meaningful information in the most interesting places.  This week it was in a movie review I found in Slate about a Chinese film, “Let the Bullets Fly.” The movie takes place in 1920’s China when the country was overrun by warlords.  It opened in December of 2010 and quickly became the second highest grossing movie in Chinese history (Avatar still holds that record).

The movie, which sounds like a Chinese version of a western, sounds like fun.  But what, you might ask; does a film about Chinese bandits have to do with the toy industry?

Well, if you read the full article you come to this statement:

To a Chinese audience, Let the Bullets Fly is an unapologetic critique of the powers that be. It’s astounding that [a producer] has been allowed to make a state-sanctioned movie that sends up state-sanctioned corruption. What’s even more astounding is that it’s been allowed to become the most popular Chinese movie ever made.

The author of the article, Grady Hendrix, sees this as a sign that the Chinese government is cracking down on corruption and wants everyone to know it.  He sees it as a powerful sign about China’s government’s growing commitment to the rule of law in China. 

If he is right and that is indeed the case, it is good news for those in the toy industry who are concerned about doing business in China and being able to protect trademarks, patents and copyrights.  This bears watching as if it is true it is good news for the toy industry and for China.




One thought

  1. Interesting thought Richard. How do you reconcile this with the kinds of problems many western companies have with their Chinese competitors with respect to IP? I’m thinking here of non-Toy companies such as Dyson for example.

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