'Blood Simple'Yes, I have a knee-jerk negative reaction to remakes in general. Yes, I love Blood Simple, the Coen Brothers' debut feature, so much so that I wrote a long article about the film. Yes, I initially thought the prospect of a Chinese version set in a noodle shop was ridiculous.

On the other hand, we're talking Zhang Yimou, people! He's a world-class filmmaker who has demonstrated his artistry over many years, ranging from the delicate poetry of Raise the Red Lantern to the homespun humanity of Not One Less to the martial arts dramatics of House of Flying Daggers and Curse of the Golden Flower. Do I want to see that guy remake Blood Simple in Chinese? Heck yes!

The new version will indeed be set in a Chinese noodle shop, but rather than Texas, the background will be "a sand dune-specked desert." The premise remains the same -- a married man's plot to kill his adulterous wife and her lover quickly spins out of control -- with a slight twist: these characters are more accustomed to knives and swords than guns.Sony Pictures Classics will release the picture, which is currently untitled; Anne Thompson has the press release. The Coen Brothers really have no reason to complain, since they had no compunction about remaking Alexander Mackendrick's The Ladykillers.

If you have any doubts that Zhang can handle a thriller-comedy, may I refer you to Happy Times, which wrung deadpan laughs out of a dramatic situation that could have been smarmy and dreary. While he hasn't made a dark thriller before, he'd never made an action picture before Hero (the one with Jet Li) either, and that turned out pretty darn good. So I have every confidence that he'll make something distinctive, and definitely his own, out of Blood Simple.