The Bullet Vanishes

The Bullet Vanishes

Theatrical release poster
Traditional 消失的子彈
Simplified 消失的子弹
Mandarin Xiāo Shī Dè Zǐ Dàn
Cantonese Siu1 Sat1 Di1 Zi2 Daan6
Directed by Lo Chi-leung
Produced by Derek Yee
Mandy Law
Zhang Zhao
Albert Lee
Shan Dongbing
Catherine Hun
Written by Lo Chi-leung
Yeung Sin-ling
Story by Yeung Sin-ling
Starring Nicholas Tse
Lau Ching-wan
Yang Mi
Boran Jing
Wu Gang
Liu Kai-chi
Music by Teddy Robin
Tommy Wai
Cinematography Chan Chi-ying
Edited by Kong Chi-leung
Ron Chan
Distributed by Emperor Motion Pictures
Release dates
  • 14 August 2012 (2012-08-14) (China)
  • 13 September 2012 (2012-09-13) (Hong Kong)
Running time
108 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Language Mandarin
Budget US$15.8 million[1]
Box office US$25.0 million (Worldwide) [2][3]

The Bullet Vanishes (also known as Ghost Bullets and Disappeared Bullets[4]) is a 2012 Hong Kong-Chinese mystery film.[5][6][7] It was written by Yeung Sin-leung and directed by Lo Chi-leung,[8] produced by Mandy Law and Derek Yee, and starring Nicholas Tse, Lau Ching-wan, Yang Mi, Boran Jing, Wu Gang and Liu Kai-chi.[9] The film pertains to a detective duo investigating a series of strange murders, in which the bullets used seemingly vanish (and hence the title), after the death of a factory girl accused as the perpetrator of the theft of a few bullets. Set in 1930s Tiancheng County, China,[10] filming took place in Shanghai.[11] Grossing US$25,280,000 in ticket sales domestically in China, The Bullet Vanishes is the eighth highest grossing Chinese film of 2012.[12]


Ding (Liu Kai-chi), the overbearing owner of a bullet factory in Tiancheng County, intimidates his workers to keep them in line, leading to a public Russian roulette "suicide" of a female employee (Xuxu) accused of stealing a box of bullets. A curse relating to a certain "Phantom Bullet" is found written in red on the walls of the factory, though the workers are soon ordered to scrub it off. Subsequent deaths from "phantom bullets" which are never found, seemingly vanishing, suggest that the factory has really been cursed. Song Donglu (Lau Ching-wan), a newly promoted detective with a slightly eccentric personality, is summoned by Tiancheng's police chief Jin (Wu Gang) to assist Guo Zhui (Nicholas Tse), "the fastest gunman in Tiancheng", and novice policeman Xiaowu (Boran Jing) in investigating the peculiar murders.


[16] [17]

Critical reception

As of 23 October 2012, on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film had received a 92% "fresh" rating from 12 reviews, with an average of 6.9/10.[18] On Metacritic, it had an average score of 65 out of 100, based on 4 reviews.[19]

The Bullet Vanishes generally received favourable reviews from contemporary film critics, with Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter commenting that the thriller "boasts a fiendishly clever plot and gorgeous production elements".[11] Chuck Bowen of Slant Magazine praised the film for being "an effective tonic for summer-movie fatigue".[20] Simon Foster of SBS gave The Bullet Vanishes 3 stars, out of 5, praising its engagement.[21]'s Ken Eisner said that it was a "strikingly beautiful detective thriller" and that it hit most of its marks.[22] Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times was one to give a negative review, concluding that it had "no story but lots of action" and was "visually stunning but emotionally empty", slamming the "over-abundance of visual pizazz".[23] Many critics felt that The Bullet Vanishes had been influenced by the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes directed by Guy Ritchie,[10][11] in particular the pairing of Song and Guo has been compared with that of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.[9]

Box office

The Bullet Vanishes earned HK$8,016,951 at the Hong Kong box office.[24]

The Bullet Vanishes was officially released in North America on 31 August 2012. According to Box Office Mojo, The Bullet Vanishes domestically grossed US$43,444 in its opening weekend, and has grossed US$117,629 as of 27 September 2012.


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients and nominees Result
49th Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards[25] November 24, 2012 Best Feature Film The Bullet Vanishes Nominated[26]
Best Costume Design Cheung Sai-kit Won
9th Huading Awards April 10, 2013 Best Actor Nicholas Tse Won
Best Screenplay Lo Chi-leung, Yeung Sin-ling Won
32nd Hong Kong Film Awards April 13, 2013 Best Film The Bullet Vanishes Nominated
Best Director Lo Chi-leung Nominated
Best Screenplay Lo Chi-leung, Yeung Sin-ling Nominated
Best Actor Lau Ching-wan Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Liu Kai-chi Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Jiang Yiyan Nominated
Best Original Film Score Teddy Robin, Tommy Wai Nominated
Best Sound Design Phyllis Cheng Nominated
Best Cinematography Chan Chi-ying Nominated
Best Film Editing Kong Chi-leung, Ron Chan Nominated
Best Art Direction Silver Cheung, Lee Kin-wai Nominated
Best Costume & Make Up Design Silver Cheung Nominated

See also


  1. Chen Nan (July 5, 2012). "First Concept Poster of "The Bullet Vanishes" Released". Chinese Films. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  2. "Bullet Vanishes (2012) International Sales, excluding China". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  3. "Bullet Vanishes (2012) Sales, China". ENT group. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  4. Liu Shuai (March 9, 2012). ""Disappeared Bullets" in Post-production Stages". Chinese Films. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  5. French Clements (August 29, 2012). "The Bullet Vanishes". The Village Voice. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
  6. Buchanan, Jason. "The Bullet Vanishes". Allmovie. Rovi Corporation.
  7. Elley, Derek (December 20, 2012). "The Bullet Vanshes". Film Business Asia. Retrieved December 27, 2012.
  8. "消失的子弹The Bullet Vanishes (2012)". mtime. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  9. 1 2 Gabriel Chong. "THE BULLET VANISHES (消失的子弹 Xiao shi de zi dan) (2012)". Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  10. 1 2 Daniel Eagan (August 29, 2012). "Film Review: The Bullet Vanishes". Film Journal. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  11. 1 2 3 Frank Scheck (August 30, 2012). "The Bullet Vanishes: Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  12. "Weekly box office". Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  13. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Jay Seaver (August 2, 2012). "Bullet Vanishes, The". Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  14. "No Bullet, but Plenty of Questions". New York Times. August 30, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Maggie Lee (August 30, 2012). "The Bullet Vanishes". Variety. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  16. The Bullet Vanishes at HKMDB
  17. The Bullet Vanishes at
  18. The Bullet Vanishes (2012) Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
  19. The Bullet Vanishes Metacritic. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
  20. Chuck Bowen (August 29, 2012). "The Bullet Vanishes Film Review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  21. Simon Foster. "Mystical mystery draws on familiar influences: The Bullet Vanishes review". Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  22. Ken Eisner (August 30, 2012). "The Bullet Vanishes hits most of its marks". Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  23. Abele, Robert (August 30, 2012). "Review: No story but lots of action in 'The Bullet Vanishes'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  24. "The Bullet Vanishes Hong Kong Box Office". HK Neo Reviews. 2012-08-22. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
  25. "China's 'Mystery' vies for Golden Horse film award". New York Daily News. November 23, 2012. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  26. "Golden Horse Film Awards: Chinese films do well". BBC News. 24 November 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
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