Pivotal in fashioning the U.S. national identity, classic Westerns, circa 1950s, evolved into Spaghetti Western a decade or so later. At the turn of this century, global cinema witnesses an exponential hybridizing and genre-bending across the Pacific, Italian Spaghetti now remade into Asian-style Noodle Western. All across East Asia, cowboys, frequently in contestation with swordplayers, populate action comedies reminiscent of the triple stock characters of Spaghetti Western, resulting in Korea’s The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008) and China’s A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2009), and The Chef, the Actor, the Scoundrel (2013). Hollywood’s Ninja Assassin (2009) and Korea-New Zealand production The Warrior’s Way (2010) cash in on the Ninja and samurai mystique, crossing samurai swords with guns and explosives in a computer-generated landscape. This analysis proceeds in three parts. First of all, “Gunslingers Gone West, Figuratively” investigates how millennial Chinese and Korean Noodle Western borrows not only Spaghetti Western’s tripartite titles but also the trope of the West, pitting heroism against the environment and enemies. Secondly, “Swordplayers Gone West, Literally” follows ninjas and warriors as they migrate across the ocean to the West proper as part of the narrative and plot. Finally, “Filmmakers Gone Hollywood” looks “behind the veil” at such Asian filmmakers as Joon-ho Bong and Chan-wook Park beyond Noodle Western, whose directorial debuts in and for Hollywood mirror their filmic heroes’ journeys.


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pp. 79-97
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