'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.
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.