A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop "San Qiang Pai An Jing Qi" (2010)
dir. by Zhang Yimou
Starring: Honglei Sun, Dahong Ni and Ni Yan
By Blair Stewart
A self-explanatory title for a cultural oddity, Zhang Yimou has remade the Coen Bros. debut "Blood Simple" into a mildly-forgettable show of buffoonery in Technicolor.
Taking Godard's theory of filmmaking and shoe-horning a noodle shop in there, the backwater pulp tale is moved from 80's Texas to imperial China in the belly of the Gobi desert. The Noodle Shop owner (Dahong Ni) is a spiteful ol' burlap sack who hires the local policeman (Honglei Sun riffing on Beat Takeshi's stone-faced countenance very well) to whack his trophy Wife (Ni Yan) and her hired 'help' (Xiao Shen-Yang).
If you're already familiar with "Blood Simple" you'll know all the double-crossings and grave-diggings will stack up like pancakes and if you aren't you should be by now. *smacking the latter-half of readers with a rolled-up newspaper*
What Zhang Yimou brings to this sidewinder tale apart from changing the setting is a digitally-enhanced colour scheme that would surely make Baz Luhrmann tip his light meter and added some very broad traditional Chinese comedy as well. And when I say broad I mean pratfalls, prop teeth and loads of shrieking, hoo-boy. While the film is not without merit because of the intensely beautiful surroundings it also doesn't have enough substance to surpass the American version, despite Sun's deadpan and Yan's screen luminosity.
If you want a good fix for down-and-dirty behaviour you should surely pay well for the pure stuff, not the imitation knock-off.
BTW-"A Woman, A Gun and A Noodle Shop" was in dire need of more noodles.