The Missing Gun (PG-13) 2004

Chinese Title: Xun qiang
Director: Chuan Lu
120 min
Sound: Dolby Digital

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In the U.S., we’ve got as many guns per household as we do televisions; misplacing a firearm is about as eventful as losing one’s keys. In China, where it is illegal for regular citizens to own weapons and ammunition is rationed to the police force, a missing gun is a much bigger deal. When local policeman of the year Ma Shan wakes up to discover his gun is gone, a frantic search ensues to recover the gun before it falls into the wrong hands. Things are further complicated when Ma Shan’s childhood love turns up dead shortly after a disagreement with his wife. Wen Jiang does an outstanding job with the Ma Shan character, growing progressively frantic as he backtracks through the previous day’s events, interviewing friends and relatives in an attempt to remember exactly when the gun disappeared. Writer/Director Chuan Lu adeptly builds the story, weaving a complex tale that wrestles with pride, sense of duty, love, and honor on the way to a ending that seems obvious once it’s reached but wasn’t predictable at the outset. Subtitles are well done and easy to follow. The Missing Gun is available at most rental outlets, but I recommend adding it to your personal DVD collection as one of the best Chinese dramas currently available.

According to IMDB, this is the first film to be digitally projected in a Chinese cinema.