Beginning with an introduction to the important plot element of introducing a gun into the story, a group of Persian merchants come into Wang’s noodle shop to sell some wares, and ultimately Wang’s Wife decides to buy a three-barrelled gun. If you’re familiar with the original film, it should be noted that now the action has moved from Texas to a valley in China at some unspecified point in the feudal past. Zhang Yimou, director of Hero and House of Flying Daggers, are always typified by bright colors and this film is no different. From there Yimou finds his footing and the plot really begins to pick up.
A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop has some fancy swordplay and nifty special effects that contribute to the above-par visual design. In addition, remember how I mentioned the actress who bought a gun? Well, she’s sleeping with the shop’s young noodle master, and just bought that said gun to shoot her husband so she and the noodle master can live happily ever after. It is a good fil to watch as it unfolds but as it starts to get more dark and gritty, there are some moments where the film starts to drag. The other two employees are more along the line of caricatures, but still caricatures with lives and characters of their own. There’s also a villain with a menacing dark aura.
About halfway into Noodle Shop, dialogue nearly vanishes and the rest of story is told mostly with motion. The tides of jealousy, betrayal and murderous intent rise and transform everyone into monsters, and the people affected, never revert back. Zhang perhaps could have focused on just the comedy or drama instead of trying to mix which didn’t work out in the end. As the film comes to an end, more and more of “Blood Simple” is translated directly to China, even to the last drop. Makes sense too: Blood Simple is really a comedy of errors, an account of the fruitless drive for power that informs most human interaction. It highlights how men become easily tempted by money, the root of all evil, when faced with bucket-loads of them, and how coincidences play a huge part in getting the characters where they end up.
There’s no point in a further synopsis since as the film is a faithful adaptation to its source and anyone reading this knows that the Coen Brothers classic is all about the plot twists, which I don’t want to spoil. So, in conclusion, the film is great but is missing what makes Zhang’s previous movies good. I can’t put my finger on it but I did think Zhang did a great job on this. The only real negative with this film is that at times, it comes off more as an exercise than a full-blooded movie. I guess I can best sum it up by saying that it’s easy to have an opinion when Americans remake Swedish vampire or hacker-goth thrillers, but a remake of a Coen brothers’ film from the Chinese director of Hero, is a bit bizarre. Luckily, it works.