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A Woman, A Gun and A Noodle Shop 2010 R CC

4.4 out of 5 stars (34) IMDb 5.6/10

Set in a Chinese noodle shop in a dune-specked desert, revolves around the restaurant owner's plan to murder his adulterous wife and her lover.

Starring:
Honglei Sun, Xiao Shen-Yang
Runtime:
1 hour, 30 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, International, Comedy
Director Yimou Zhang
Starring Honglei Sun, Xiao Shen-Yang
Supporting actors Ni Yan, Dahong Ni, Ye Cheng, Mao Mao, Benshan Zhao, Ran Cheng, Julien Gaudfroy, Shuo Huang, Wenting LI, Sisi Wang, Xiaojuan Wang, Na Wei
Studio Sony Pictures Classics
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is a Chinese film (English subtitles) based on the 1984 Coen brothers' production of Blood Simple. I think both films are excellent and would be hard pressed to rank one above the other.

The basic story: Cheaters are discovered. Cuckolded husband is most unhappy and makes plans. Plans veer off course. People get . . . injured.

The eighties version was set in present-day Texas. The 2010 production is set in a small noodle shop surrounded by a desolate lunar-like desert region. The shots involving this landscape are somewhat surreal and often spectacular. The time may be the 1700's or 1800's; it's when guns were still a novelty in remote parts of China, and people rode their mustangs instead of driving their Mustangs. Time and place are significant factors in the Chinese movie; they are virtually irrelevant in the Coen brothers' film.

Director Zhang Yimou's version definitely has more comedy than the original. There's scarcely a giggle in the dark eighties tale. Related to this, a fundamental difference between the films is the portrayal of the wife's boyfriend. Actor John Getz's Ray is far more believable than Xiao Shenyang's Li. Li emerges as a strangely innocent buffoon. He provides a big part of the comic relief that is lacking in the original. There are also two helpers in the noodle shop who generate grins.

Yan Ni, portraying the Chinese cheating wife, brings a lot more passion to the film than Frances McDormand brought to the original. Sun Honglei is great as the ruthless and greedy police officer, Zhang. M. Emmet Walsh was also great as the slimy, slovenly detective, Loren Visser, who, like Zhang, equates infidelity with opportunity.

You don't have to see the original film to enjoy the recent production. But I did find it most entertaining to compare the two.
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Format: DVD
The Hollywood buzz about this movie was mostly negative with lots of comments about it being overly acted and overly directed. Frankly, I found the movie excellent with many flashes of the cast and director's great talent. The location of the Noodle shop on the edge of a great painted desert-like wilderness reminded the audience of an early 2,000 year-old version of the Howard Johnson chain motels and cafes. These inns were placed along roads so that travelers wouldn't starve or run out of water. The only thing that was missing was a series of stone signs reading "Last Water Stop For Two Day's Walk."
The movie was kind of slap-stick Chinese Theater, but it worked fine. Much has been made out of the director's adaptation, actually homage, of the Cohen Brother's movie "Blood Simple," but frankly most people won't even recognize that. This story works just as well in Chinese cinema as it did in America. The humor is funny, the characters are large and obvious, but oh so human. As is the usual case with this legendary director, the cinematography is wonderful. Some of the landscapes are stunning. Over-all the film also has a Clint Eastwood, Italian Western feeling about it. It's kind of a successful chop suey-spaghetti western. It's a very entertaining escape from the boring daily routine.
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Format: DVD
A WOMAN, A GUN AND A NOODLE SHOP (2009, dir. Zhang Yimou, U.S.A. release 2010) is one of the most delightful, weird and suspenseful arthouse type films I have ever seen. It was laugh-out-loud hilarious yet it had a combined air of Hitchcock and Kurosawa. A remake of the Coen Brothers' first film, BLOOD SIMPLE (1984), NOODLE SHOP got the ancient Chinese treatment, and I've never seen Chinese actors excel like this since they did CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.

Set someplace in the Taklimakan Desert in China, along the Silk Route, set around the late 1700s, this is a tale of four young innocents and a nasty, bitter old miser. Wang, the old miser with the fortress-like little mini-village all his own along the Silk Road, keeps almost as a prisoner his young wife of ten years. She is nearly insane with boredom and the desire to flee old Wang. But she is trapped.

In a hilarious rickety train wreck of a story, the restaurant employees (a chubby simple fellow, another young woman, and the rather gay best friend to Mrs. Wang) entertain a group of Persians. The leader (an incredibly goofy Julien Gaudfroy), dressed a bit like a colorful Captain Jack Sparrow, sells Mrs. Wang a pistol. The most powerful weapon in the world, and the sales pitch, haggling and general dialogue is some of the best I've seen. They try to sell her a 6" gun (meaning a typical ship's cannon) and the crazy Persian fires it into the distant desert to show it off.

"I'll just stick with the gun" Mrs. Wang says dryly. The cannon fire brings along a Monty Python detachment of Imperial police, their leader one of the funniest performers I have ever watched. I called him "Officer Cookie Monster" because of his Muppet-like demeanor and his goggly crossed eyes. Absolutely fall-down-on-the-floor.
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Format: DVD
In 1984 two film making brothers, Ethan and Joel Cohen, bust on the scene with a film called BLOOD SIMPLE. The film offered a philandering wife, a sleazy bar owner and a man who'd kill for money. Stylishly made it put the Cohen brothers on the map and led to a string of hits that culminated last year with TRUE GRIT. It also resulted in being remade in China under the name A WOMAN, A GUN AND A NOODLE SHOP.

The movie this time around changes not just locations but time period as well. Taking place in the not too distant past, a woman purchases a gun during the opening sequence. She is the wife of Wang, the owner of the noodle shop and a woman unhappy in her marriage. As we find out, she was purchased and nightly punished by her husband, Wang. It's little wonder she's taken up with one of his employees, Li.

The movie shifts back and forth from drama to comedy depending on the circumstances and actors involved. Li comes off as a bit of a buffoon, always concerned that the boss will find out about their indiscretion and do him harm. The wife (as she is known) shows less concern and more of a plotting attitude, not planning on killing her husband but still attempting to find a way out of the marriage and into the arms of Li.

As for Wang he appears to be an older man who knows his wealth buys him power. So much so that when he learns of the affair between his wife and Li, he asks a policeman/solider named Zhang to kill them both for a fee. They discuss the amount and Wang goes to his safe to retrieve the money for Zhang who sees just how much the safe holds.

The culmination of these events, the purchase of the gun, the affair, the planned murder and what happens to each of these characters makes for an interesting story.
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