Let’s start with a crackling good mystery. People are shot. Some in front of witnesses. Yet forensics can’t make a case of death by gunshot. Why? Because without a major piece of evidence – the bullet – the cause of death cannot be ascertained only assumed.
At a local munitions factory, a woman is accused of stealing a box of bullets. Is she fired? Are the authorities brought in to question her. Neither. She’s offered “The God’s Will Resolution.” Basically, she must play a one-round game of Russian Roulette. If she is innocent, God will spare her from blowing out her own brains and everyone would return to work. If she’s not innocent…well, the case would be opened and closed right then and there.
Let’s make it a period drama. Set it in the 1930′s. Lots of men in long overcoats, newsboys caps, or fedoras. Plenty of pistols and tommy guns. Big cars that look boxy and black.
We will need a couple of heroes for the film. One is a local cop who is known as being the fastest gun in the area. The other is a brilliant detective known for both his eccentricities and amazing investigative and deductive powers.
Add in a beautiful woman doctor of forensics as the Medical Examiner (M.E.). And a little exotica in the form of a mysterious fortune-teller. Spice it up with dance halls, opium dens, and houses of pleasure. Then set the whole story in Tiancheng Province in China. They call this film – The Bullet Vanishes.
If we were pitching the story to investors we might describe it as something along the lines of CSI meets Sherlock Holmes with a hint of Miller’s Crossing and Last Man Standing. Actually, TBV only resembles those films based on style and look rather than subject. I’ve used those films as examples only in a general sense of saying that the costumes and cars, the guns and gals, the science, and the period settings of those films are as good a way of describing The Bullet Vanishes as any other.