'Jackie Brown' Review By Dan

AK-47. The very best there is. When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherf*cker in the room, accept no substitutes.
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Visuals
Release Date: Christmas, 1997

Cast: Pam "Foxy Brown" Grier, Samuel Jackson, Michael Keaton, Robert DeNiro, Robert Forster, Michael Bowen, and Bridget Fonda (with cameo by Chris Tucker)

Directed By: Who the motherf*ck you think? Tarantino, baby!

What movies sprout to mind as soon as someone says "Quentin Tarantino"? Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs for most. And then you have his equally as great, but underappreciated other three, being Inglorious Basterds (I personally don't think it gets enough praise), Death Proof, and last but not least, Jackie Brown. In my ongoing quest to cover as many underrated gems as I can find, I remembered this one the other day while browsing Netflix, and lo and behold, I found myself sitting there watching all two and a half hours again. Adapted from Elmore Leonard's "Rum Punch", Jackie Brown is a blaxploitation flick through and through, only as Tarantino can deliver.

Always consistent and ingenious on Tarantino's behalf is that he's able to take/make a story, and using a minimal amount of sets and locations, create a story that is epic and adult in scope and dialogue, and manage to make you either grin or laugh from his boldly honest scripts. And like Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown runs with a simple premise that is executed with a singular energy, and yet finds itself brilliant at the same time. Pam Grier stars as the titular Jacqueline 'Jackie' Brown, a low rent, aging flight attendant who makes extra cash on the side by smuggling money in from Mexico to small time arms dealer Ordell Robbie (Sam Jackson, sporting some outrageous, long, pony-tailed hair. Not as epic as his afro from Pulp Fiction, but just as out there). As Jackie returns from one of her trips, she's apprehended by an ATF agent (Keaton), and detective (Bowen. You might remember him as the illustrious Buck, who liked to f*ck, from Kill Bill). From there, Jackie attempts to double and triple cross Ordell and the agents in order to secure a large sum of Ordell's money.

Now, I will say that this Tarantino movie may not appeal to those younger than 18. Not because they couldn't/wouldn't grasp the material presented to them, but because Jackie Brown is maybe Tarantino's most "talky" type movie. You don't have a yellow haired warrior slicing and dicing limbs and heads and getting into fights every 10-15 minutes, or a pair of hitmen that discuss the differences between giving a girl a foot massage and eating her out, right before blasting 3-4 guys. Nor do you have Tarantino's signature 'chapters' that he likes to play out of order (though there is a segment near the climax of the movie where you witness a pivotal scene from three different points of view). You must be thinking to yourself now, 'Well f*ck, Supes, is there anything here I'd enjoy?'. But of course there is! Anybody that is a true fan of Tarantino knows that there is a richness to his scripts that you just can't find with other film makers, try as they may. Not to mention you've got Samuel Jackson doing that thing he does and doing it very well here, Ms. Foxy Brown herself and her weirdly shaped mouth being a blast from the past, and a bong smokin' bank robber in Robert DeNiro. Doesn't hurt throwing in Batman and a scantily dressed, stoned Bridget Fonda.

I also like that this is maybe the most leisurely of Tarantino's movies. There are scenes that would probably play out much quicker if Jackie Brown had been filmed in today's time, but instead this feels like a nice reminder of the 90's, when a film could rely on strong, authentic performances instead of 'cutting to the next scene' because the film maker either has ADD and thinks that's what audiences want, or the cast is simply weak and they know that if we have to stare at their awkward asses any longer then 15 seconds at a time, we'll start to cringe. The best modern example I can think of that captures this old school feeling would have to be the exchange between Hans Landa and the french farmer in Basterds, which coincidentally happens to be another Tarantino masterpiece.

And like many of Mr. Tarantino's pictures, the 'score' is really not a score, but a collection of off the wall musical choices that find themselves perfectly in synchronization with the tone and mood he wants to set with each movie. Here we're treated to The Delfonics for the majority of the runtime, and this fits perfectly for that 70's glory, belting out "La-La (Means I love You)" and "Didn't I Blow Your Mind" at the beginning and conclusion.

You owe it to yourself to check this one out if you consider yourself a movie connoisseur of any kind. Grab a brewski and some chips n dip, and watch it on a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon. It won't be the most memorable movie you've ever seen, but it's damn skippie better then 80% of the junk out there nowadays.

Grade: B+

Do you like this review?

Comments (35)

  1. moviegeek

    @dan1 I finally watched this one (see previous comment about it being on my DVR lol). Loved it. And you're right about it being leisurely. That's why I loved it so much. It was engaging even though little was happening in each scene.

    3 years agoby @moviegeekFlag

  2. TheStonedReviewer

    just got this film, final tarantino film to see!

    4 years agoby @stonedFlag

  3. moviegeek

    Dang! 19 thumbs for a 13-year-old film?? That's unheard of for this site.

    4 years agoby @moviegeekFlag

  4. Jakn

    Great review. I didn't know this was another film from Quentin Tarantino.

    4 years agoby @jaknFlag

  5. Jay.A.Ottley

    Spectacular review, @dan1

    Loved every word and nice opening paragraph, actually pretty shocked that alot of people below haven't seen one of Tarantino's most under-rated films but one of his finest.
    Nice to know there is someone that appreciated this film as much as myself.

    4 years agoby @jayaottleyFlag

  6. TheStonedReviewer

    this looks well worth the watch, Samuel Jackson and deniro are 2 of my fav actors

    4 years agoby @stonedFlag

  7. CBF

    I need to see this now.

    4 years agoby @comicbookfanFlag

  8. skywise

    As a HUGE fan of Elmore Leonard i was really excitd to see Tarntnos take on leonard world of crime and the final product is pretty damn good. For me i love soderbergh's take on out of sight but as tarantino movies go this fits in perfectly with hisother films.

    Great review as always.

    I typically prefer Tarantino's original woek but if he were going to adapt a novel then Elmore leonard is a perfect fit.

    I too agree that inglorious bastards is awesopme. It is by far his most focused film to date and that alone makes it woth watching.

    4 years agoby @skywiseFlag

  9. Bryan Yentz

    F*cking excellent review. Haha, I'm in that crowd that didn't appreciate this one as much as his other pieces, but dammit, Supes, you sold me on it. Might have to give it another look.

    4 years agoby @bryanyentzFlag

  10. Dan

    Man, I hit the jackpot with this one. Several of you haven't seen this. Awesome. Thanks for the feedback, guys!

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  11. ejk1

    I was never a big fan of this movie. Still, that doesn't take away from the fact that this is an excellent review. Great job, as usual.

    4 years agoby @ejk1Flag

  12. Worth5Bucks

    another fantastic review

    4 years agoby @mattbierwagenFlag

  13. the Narrator

    Clearly we have different thoughts on what exactly "a while" is. I haven't written a review in quite a while (a year). Supes, on the other hand, hasn't written one in, what? A week? Two weeks? That's not a hiatus of any sort from my point of view. Of his latest slew of reviews, this is simply his best.

    4 years agoby @narratorFlag

  14. moviegeek

    @narrator This is @dan1 ONLY review in a while :P

    4 years agoby @moviegeekFlag

  15. Corey W.

    @dan1@moviegeek: "Pulling a Screeny". lol. Opinions change, mine just change alot in the same week. :P

    Anyways, great review. No shock, there. I love how you've reviewed this after we just recently had a conversation on this.

    4 years agoby @coreyFlag

  16. the Narrator

    This is my favorite review of yours in a while @dan1. You seem to have written this near flawlessly (no grammatic errors that I could find), while addressing nearly everything in the film, and you managed to add a bit of yourself into it (especially your reviews outro), and all in a relatively fine length. Well done, and I too haven't seen this film yet. Guess I'll change that in the near future.

    4 years agoby @narratorFlag

  17. Josh

    Plus, Pam Grier is just awesome.

    4 years agoby @shuabertFlag

  18. Josh

    I agree, @dan1 . Personally, I enjoy this film as much as Reservoir Dogs (though sadly I don't own it yet like I do the latter).

    4 years agoby @shuabertFlag

  19. K.Guy

    I think this is the only Tarantino film I've haven't seen.

    4 years agoby @kguyFlag

  20. Daveactor7

    I've never seen this movie. Guess I'll have to find it now. Great review sir!

    4 years agoby @daveactor7Flag

  21. slysnide

    Talky scenes are a trademark of Tarantino. "Inglorious Basterds" had just 19 scenes in the whole thing and had to be the most dialogue heavy of them all, with "Death Proof" making a close second, his extended cut I mean, it spends like, 20 extra minutes of the second group of girls just chatting. Really droll dialogue too. It's like "Ugh, okay, we get it. They're annoying and like to act badass, and it'd be awesome to see Stuntman Mike run 'em off the road, but it doesn't need to be THIS long."

    However, lack of great dialogue is what made the "Kill Bill" movies his most lackluster ever. Only the stylized violence seemed to scream Tarantino. But none of those trademark dialogue scenes which feature some of the best face/off conversations ever. Rarely can somebody get away with so many slow conversations in a film in place of letting the character's actions define them, but Tarantino can do it.

    @dan1: I still haven't seen this one.

    4 years agoby @slysnideFlag

  22. Summit10

    your mood in writing the review somewhat denotes Tarantino's energy. and precept...i like that! Point is he has given films with least demeanor for straight in your face grit and dialogue and that what makes his films worth watching!

    Thats a great review man!

    Btw, how do you get a chance to have an Official Review??? Thanks!

    4 years agoby @summit10Flag

  23. thedude-abides

    Couldn't have said it better myself, @dan1.

    4 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  24. Dan

    @thedude-abides Yeah, and that's the extraordinary thing about Tarantino. Some film makers rely on someone else's material (see: Zack Snyder) to make a great film, while as Tarantino actually does even better striking out on his own. The mark of a genuine bad ass director/writer.

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  25. thedude-abides

    Terrific review, @dan1. I'm glad u decided to shed light on this Tarantino lesser-known. I think a big reason for it being somewhat overlooked among Tarantino's catalogue is because it came out between Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill.

    Personally, this is probably my least favorite of all Quentin's films - which is not to say I didn't like it. It's just obvious to me that it's an adaptation of someone else's story. To me, Quentin's original stories are much more interesting. Regardless, great review once again.

    4 years agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  26. moviegeek

    @dan1 ;) so true.

    4 years agoby @moviegeekFlag

  27. Dan

    @moviegeek I did, but I decided that score wasn't realistic, and I pulled a @corey :P

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

  28. moviegeek

    @dan1 I thought you rated this movie 5.0 stars?? Coulda sworn you did.

    Nevertheless an excellent review. This movie is still sitting on my DVR waiting to be watched. Maybe I'll check it out now :D

    4 years agoby @moviegeekFlag

  29. Zak Lee Ferguson

    @dan1 I know, and Mr. Jonez didnt have the right to start pointing fingers, he just wishes his career spanned out that well in such a short time

    4 years agoby @Zak-Lee-FergusonFlag