Wednesday, October 27, 2010


My review for A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop is now up on In Review Online.

Although I really hate to say it, this film is a mess. I saw A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop before I headed off to Vancouver, and the more I think about it (and compare it to some of the amazing films I've seen in the past couple of weeks) the more I'm convinced that this crazy idea to remake Blood Simple into a Chinese period piece is just that: crazy. The unfortunate component to slamming this film is that Zhang is no slouch and has brought a well crafted film to the table.

(This poster speaks louder than words. Even when I look at it, I wonder "What is going on!?" If it seems like it has a Stephen Chow/Chinese Odyssey element to it, that is not far off the mark.) Read here.


villainx said...

I know this is just the recap, but I'm having a hard time reconciling "this film is a mess" with "unfortunate component to slamming this film is that Zhang is no slouch and has brought a well crafted film to the table."

Your comment on the poster is hilarious and dead on. Wondering what's going on with Chinese flicks. I'm thinking you are right that the movie is a mess, but might A Woman appeal to the locals, just like Stephon Chow does? And is this part of Zhang trying to reach some kinda broad popularity?

That said, Feng Ziaogang is some kind of machine, right? I'm not sure who might be his modern day Western director equivalent. But reminds me of the studio system hey days, churning out flicks from divergent genres but finding the right hook to draw in the box office.

YTSL said...

Hi villainx --

Having watched the film, I think I see where Kathie's coming from with regards to describing the movie both as a mess and well-crafted. I.e., it clearly has great production values and scenery and costumes that, taken individually, would be quite breath-taking but combined in the way they are in the movie, it all can be really jarring.

Also, yeah, Zhang Yimou might have been trying to emulate Stephen Chow and/or Feng Xiaogang in going for populist comedy with a masterful touch. The only problem is that Chow and Feng have produced so much better. E.g., Chow's Chinese Odyssey films actually feel like they have a lot of pathos and depth (as well as nonensense and comedy). Zhang Yimou's film, OTOH, just had me thinking that the slapstick was just too stupid for my taste and, when allied with the incredible violence on display, all too unpleasant.

Kathie Smith said...

villainx, you accurately point out my mixed feelings about A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop. Hopefully my review explains myself a little bit better, but in the end, my incredibly strong desire to want to like this film is completely deflated.

I come at this movie with a great deal of love for both A Chinese Odyssey and Blood Simple, but I never dreamed of the two finding a meeting ground! In the context of the entire film, that open scene is just bizarre!