Chow Yun-Fat did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Huang Fox in Let the Bullets Fly.
Chow Yun-Fat portrays the villain of the picture Huang Fox who is the crime lord who quickly does not take to kindly to the governor. The film amounts to their struggle for the city which involves a lot of double crosses, banter, and some bullets of course. Chow Yun-Fat when acting in his own language has a tremendous amount of presence and just owns the screen. This is true here and important in his role as Huang Fox who is a pompous somewhat over the top crime lord who does not mind telling everyone about his money and power.
Chow Yun-Fat has a lot of fun in his role as the crime lord giving a very expressive performance as the crime lord. A great deal of the scenes are where the bandit and the crime lord are basically trying to out think each other in various ways particularly in long scenes where they try to out trick each other in strange negotiations. Yun-Fat is great in all this scenes showing a sly intelligence in the man and always the joy of the game in Fox throughout the whole thing. He and Wen Jiang as the bandit create the right tone by portraying their power struggle in a very strange yet oddly believable fashion.
Although he plays the villain this is a very humorous performance by Chow Yun-Fat. Most of the humor comes from his scenes where he flaunts his power which Yun-Fat portrays in such a joyful and completely unabashed manner. Whether he is abusing people randomly or having some of his men kill themselves Yun-Fat honestly is able to bring some comedy to the scenes through the gleefully insane way that he plays the part. Fox easily could have fallen flat but the energy Yun-Fat brings to the part brings this part alive in a very entertaining fashion.
The only part of the performance that is a little underwhelming is the menace in the role. This is not to say Chow Yun-Fat does not make a fine villain, he does, but he is not quite an amazing villain. Yun-Fat is decent enough when he needs to show the direct villainy and does have some intensity. He never quite finds the perfect balance between being the evil crime lord and the comedic crime lord. Yes he does manage some menace while being enjoyable to watch but he never meets the two aspects of the character in a way that would make Huang Fox an all time great villain.
He handles the role in an energetic fashion with a lot of style and that usually Yun-Fat screen presence on display. Chow Yun-Fat gives a strong performance as Huang Fox although to be sure he is better in the comic moments than the menacing ones. This is not one where he is okay in one bad in the other though. He is great in the comedic scenes of his portrayal, and still fine in the moments where the true villain comes out. Chow Yun-Fat gives an effective villainous turn here, it is not one of those absolutely unforgettable villain portrayals but it is a pretty good one.