It’s not often you get English-language movies being remade into a foreign-language features (it’s usually the other way around) – and yet, that’s exactly what’s happening with the Coen Brothers’ classic directorial debut, Blood Simple.
Hero and House of Flying Daggers director Zhang Yimou has already started filming San Qiang Pi An Jing Qi, which roughly translates as The Stunning Case of the Three Gunshots (according to Empire). It will be the director’s first film since the extravagant Curse of the Golden Flower back in 2006.Looking at the work of Zhang Yimou ( (he also designed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics), it’s hard to see why he would choose to remake Blood Simple. The aforementioned Hero, House of Flying Daggers and Curse of the Golden Flower are the type of movies modern audiences have come to know from the man: flamboyant, action-packed movies filled with stunning visuals and plenty of wire-work to make the fantastic seem to occur before our very eyes.
However, as Empire reminds us, Zhang Yimou wasn’t always that type of filmmaker; before the likes of Hero, he directed such dramatic, romantic and comedic fare as Happy Times, The Road Home, Not One Less and Raise the Red Lantern. So a small-scale murder mystery like the Coens’ Blood Simple may just be more akin to some of the Chinese director’s older, lesser-known work.
Since Blood Simple is such a brilliant film, especially for a first attempt (yes, the Coens were always that good), I was automatically ready to cry in outrage at the news of a remake. But since this probably won’t be a straight translation (no pun) – probably more along the lines of borrowing some of the plot elements and characters – and will most likely feel like a totally different movie because of the Chinese setting, I actually don’t mind it.
Yimou’s Blood Simple remake is described as a thriller-comedy, which surprises – even though Blood Simple had some of the Coens’ trademark dark humor and wit, I wouldn’t exactly call it a comedy as such. It’ll be interesting to see how Yimou’s version turns out.
Zhang Yimou is a director who’s always impressed me, and I look forward to seeing a much different type of movie from him with this Blood Simple remake than what we’ve seen over the past few years.
What do you think of Zhang Yimou remaking the Coen Brothers’ Blood Simple? Does it being in a foreign language as opposed to being remade in English affect your opinion?
San Qiang Pi An Jing Qi a.k.a. The Stunning Case of the Three Gunshots is currently filming and is aimed to be released later this year (no word as of yet if that includes an international release).
Sources: Empire and THR