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Zhang Yimou's Blood Simple [DVD]

Part of our Four DVDs for £10 offer*

Honglei Sun , Xiao Shen-Yang , Yimou Zhang    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: £3.79 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Zhang Yimou's Blood Simple [DVD] + Red Sorghum [1987] [DVD] + The Story of Qiu Ju [All Region] [import]
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Product details

  • Actors: Honglei Sun, Xiao Shen-Yang, Ni Yan, Dahong Ni, Ye Cheng
  • Directors: Yimou Zhang
  • Producers: William Kong, Weiping Zhang
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Momentum Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 18 April 2011
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004C9MCHY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,007 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Wang is a miserable noodle shop owner in a desert town in China. Feeling neglected, Wang’s wife secretly goes out with Li, one of his employees. Li reluctantly keeps a gun his lover bought for killing her husband and together they plot his demise. However, not a single move they make escapes the boss’s notice, and he decides to bribe patrol officer Zhang to kill the illicit couple. It looks like a perfect plan--the affair will come to a cruel but satisfying end... or so he thinks. The equally wicked Zhang has an agenda of his own that will lead to even more violence and bloodshed.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Black comedy with a difference 23 May 2011
Movies with subtitles rarely make a splash in the US as Americans are simply too lazy to read subtitles. European audiences, however, have a better ability to appreciate different cultures. That said, A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (which is what this movie is titled for international audiences -- although it has reverted to Blood Simple in this instance) is a very dark and funny take-off on the Coen brothers original. Much slapstick in the first half and spiralling darkness in the second, this is a terrific alternative to the original. If any complaints were to be made it would be for the Ali-Baba costumes that are vivid in the extreme. Constantly entertaining, twisting and turning with non-stop action, this is a delight to watch and well worth the time.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better Than Those Flying Blokes. 24 April 2011
The Coen Brothers can hardly complain when someone comes along to remake one of their films. It was bound too happen sooner or later! Sooner in this case! Remember what they did to that wonderful Ealing film "The Ladykillers". Yuuuuk!!! Although they have redeeemed themselves somewhat with their remake of the much cherished John Wayne film "True Grit". Their debut classic "Blood Simple" made back in 1984, was a typical Coen offering of double crosses and misunderstandings, and a prime target for a modern makeover. This remake is directed by China's finest Zhang Yimou, who as the DVD cover screams was the director of both "Hero" and "The House of the Flying Daggers", presumably in the forlorn hope of repeating their success. Instead it alas bombed at the box office in America and has gone rapidly and unnoticed onto DVD in whipped dog fashion, as punishment for failure. This is a pity because the film has much to recommend it, although it certainly does not come without its faults.

Set in a far flung desert province of China the action centres around a noodle shop. This is not your everyday sort of noodle shop, and there are a lot of very strange goings on, which is quite hard to follow at times if you are a numpty like me. Suffice to say that there is a ruthless shop owner whose wife has ambitious plans of her own, that do not include him. Throw in a ruthless Policeman who is happy to take anyones money for a bit of dirty work, and that noodle shop gets pretty frenetic. Agatha Christie eat your heart out!

Firstly a special mention should be made of how beautifully shot this film is. The strange desert locations have a haunting ethereal quality that gives the film a very spooky quality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhere in the middle 7 Mar 2013
I saw the edge of the box in a shop, noticed the title, hoped it was the Coen Brothers' film and pulled it out to have a look. 'Ah, no, it's a remake by Zhang Yimou. Well, it will look pretty and the plot is good, so...'

I was spot on: it does look pretty, the plot is almost the same as the original, and the result is indeed so-so.

Taking those in order, the land- and skyscapes are beautifully shot, and the costumes look nice even if they're apparently anachronistic. Large chunks are filmed 'day for night', and even in the dark, it looks good.

Where the plot goes wrong is having it set in and around one set of buildings, a noodle bar, somewhere in the middle of a desert with no visible customers apart from the police and one passing trader. (And the police probably didn't pay.) The original was filmed on a low budget, but still filled its bar with customers as well as providing other places for the protagonists to go. Here, with everyone except the corrupt detective living so close, you start to wonder why some of them are so deaf. Setting it in the past means that one twist is unavailable, so a not nearly as good reason for someone's actions is needed at one point.

The other issue is that when lifting the plot, they forgot about the strengths of the dialogue and the characterisations. In the original, only one secondary character is in any way 'good', but here it's been sweetened and sugared with comedy.

I'd recommend seeing it after the original, because it is an interesting adaptation, but you don't want to spoil the surprises in store when you see the real thing.
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