Already the highest grossing domestic Chinese release ever, this comic Western has plenty of gunslinging, story twists, and sharp dialogue to make it a highly entertaining ride. During the Warlord Era of the 1920s, a bunch of bandits, led by "Pocky" Zhang (Jiang Wen), hijack a train en route to Goose Town with its new governor on board. When the train crashes, its lone survivors are the governor's sleazy advisor (Ge You) and his wife (Carina Lau). Zhang, an honorable outlaw, decides to pose as the new governor and share the fortune from the hijacking with the townspeople. But ruthless mobster Master Huang (Chow Yun-Fat) aims to stop Zhang's Robin Hood crusade, launching a battle of both wits and bullets.
Jiang Wen—acclaimed as an actor in such films as Zhang Yimou's Red Sorghum and as a writer/director with his debut In the Heat of the Sun—exemplifies all three talents here. The script is full of humorous quips, moving at a brisk pace with plenty of physical comedy that mixes laughs and bloody combat. Jiang and Chow clearly relish in the fun of going head-to-head as foes in this smart, deadpan satire.