A thoughtful film
Viewer from Guam | Mariana Islands | 08/15/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Missing Gun (Xun Quang) is a surprising film. At first it appears to be a comedy, but soon reveals itself to be much more.
Ma Shan (Jiang Wen) is a detective in the People's Republic of China who wakes up one day to find that his gun was stolen at his sister's wedding the night before. This is a very serious matter that threatens to end Ma's career - or worse - and bring shame upon his department. The movie follows Ma's efforts to find out who stole the gun, which is subsequently used in a murder. It also presents an accurate picture of life in China.
I couldn't help admire Ma's abilities as a very sharp detective, but it is his devotion to duty that left me thinking about this film long after it finished. There is a wonderful scene where Ma is chasing a criminal and, after arresting him, explains where his power to catch him comes from. But the film touched me most as a meditation on personal integrity, and what it means to honor that integrity."
Not at all what you might expect...
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 02/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Missing Gun aka Xun Qiang is one of those films that creeps in under the radar and surprises you. Arriving on DVD with no reputation and packaged as an action movie, it's really a rather good drama with more in common with The Bicycle Thieves than your average Hong Kong action movie (although thankfully the hero leaves his kid at home on his quest). In fact, it's not even that, but a Chinese drama about a small-town cop (the wonderfully hangdog Wen Jiang) who wakes after a drunken wedding reception to find his gun missing and no-one able to remember the previous night's events any better than he can. The poor small town China setting is intriguing, a mixture of mostly old with flashes of the new China - supermarkets, imported cars and Italian suits. Of course, this being a Chinese film, the latter are frowned upon as the fruits of corruption, but it's not an overt propaganda piece, more a character driven drama executed with an interesting but strangely appropriate visual style (the shot of a murder victim's hair spread out on the ground is hauntingly beautiful) and compassion. The final revelation feels a bit awkward (that pesky Asian cinema habit of having the killer become Irving the Explainer), but it even finds its way out of that with some imagination. Quietly impressive.