The term remake has predominantly negative connotations, but once in awhile we see proof that a redo can be a good thing. Just look at Werner Herzog's new film, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, which isn't quite a remake of Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant so much as it's a stand-alone sequel or simply another filmmaker's take on the same sort of character explored in the original. It's enough to make me wish we could have seen what Spielberg and Will Smith's version of Oldboy would have looked like.
And here's another perfect example of a good remake: Zhang Yimou's version of the Coen Brothers' neo-noir cult classic Blood Simple, which Peter excitedly wrote about back in July. The film now has a title, The First Gun (aka Amazing Tales: Three Guns), and an international trailer, which shows us just how different Zhang's version is. The Chinese filmmaker, acclaimed for numerous Oscar-nominated films, whether recognized in the foreign, cinematography or costume categories, recently confirmed that he added a lot of things and changed the whole tone from the Coens' version.
"We brought in a lot of comedic elements and changed the relationship and personalities of the characters," Zhang told Chinese website Sina.com.
Of course, you can tell from the trailer that "comedic elements" is an understatement. The First Gun looks downright ridiculous, but in a good way. Not only does the film seem far removed from the original film, it also appears to be a new direction for the artist who gave us serious historical dramas like Ju Dou and Raise the Red Lantern and gorgeous action spectacles like Hero and House of Flying Daggers.
Oh, and if the trailer doesn't surprise fans of Zhang and mainland Chinese cinema in general enough, check this out: the filmmaker has also written a theme song for the movie, titled "I'm Just Fictional," which is said to combine rap, disco and heavy metal. And Zhang, who previously penned a song for his film debut, Red Sorghum, actually rapped on Chinese television recently to showcase the tune's lyrics.
Intrigued yet? I almost want to fly to China next month, when the film opens domestically, to see it as soon as possible. Never mind the lack of English-language subtitles, since Zhang's work is visually stimulating enough to still be worthwhile without comprehension of the dialogue. Fortunately for those who'd prefer to know what's going on and being said, Sony Pictures Classics is bringing The First Gun to America sometime next year.
As for what Zhang will be up to next, Variety reports today that he'll be returning to his roots with a historical drama. He has yet to choose, however, if it will be the WWII-set The 13 Women of Nanjing, about sex workers during the Japanese invasion, or The Love of the Hawthorn Tree, which takes place during China's Cultural Revolution.
Check out the trailer for The First Gun below:
(via The Playlist)