There’s plenty of visual talent on display in Zhang Yimou’s A Woman, A Gun and A Noodle Shop, but that doesn’t mean the movie’s any good.
For 27 years, Robert Denerstein was the film critic at The Rocky Mountain News. Read more of Robert's reviews at Denerstein Unleashed.
Zhang has taken on the oddball task of remaking the Coen brothers’ debut movie, Blood Simple. Zhang already has done his version of film noir with the gorgeous Ju Dou (1990). Maybe that’s why so much of this strange hybrid seems to be straining to be different.
Zhang treats his characters as pawns in an antic comedy that’s reliant on slapstick, overly broad acting, devious plot twists and cartoonish directorial ploys. Some of the terrain surrounding the noodle shop is astonishingly sparse, but this story about a woman trying to free herself from a beastly husband — the owner of a noodle shop in the middle of nowhere — lacks the sexy allure of noir, the undertow of eroticism and even the sustained fun of good comedy. Zhang is too talented to make a movie that’s totally without interest, but this one’s a miss.