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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 26.62%
Average: 14.94%
Pretty Bad: 9.74%
Total Crap: 0.65%

9 reviews, 100 user ratings

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Jackie Brown
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by Ryan Arthur

"The book's better."
3 stars

It ain't Pulp Fiction.

Quentin Tarantino was in need of an image makeover. Rather than turn around and make a movie on the heels of the wildly successful Pulp Fiction, he toiled around Hollywood, soaking it all in, and becoming this bizarre charicature of himself. Oh sure, he did some script doctoring on Crimson Tide, but he also decided he could act, paving the way for roles in movies like Sleep With Me and the abomination known as Destiny Turns On The Radio, a movie only I would admit to paying money to watch.

But now he's back on the straight and narrow, a few years removed from the Pulp Fiction phenomenon. The only problem is that while he was "away," everyone else tried to make a Quentin Tarantino movie. Everyone tried to capture the pop culture dialogue and the violence. Look at movies like 2 Days In The Valley or even a film like Playing God. QT should have made a movie like Jackie Brown a year after Pulp Fiction, and the reasoning is that it's vastly different from Pulp and Reservoir Dogs.

Jackie Brown is, first and foremost, a character study. We meet the title character and just assume that since she's a 44-year-old flight attendant on some rinky-dink airline that she's a pushover. We're wrong. We see a character like Robert DeNiro's Louis, who doesn't seem to be capable of violence. We're wrong. The entire film is a setup for the final reel, where we reall do get to see who's playing who. There's more than one doublecross in this movie, and with characters like the ones writer Elmore Leonard has written (and QT has adapted), the film picks up speed as we start to see where things are headed., and with a talented cast, it's fun to watch.

The problems, though, are obvious. This film is missing the kinetic energy that makes Tarantino the director that he is. The dialogue is there, but for some reason, the actors can't (or won't) pull it off. Jackie Brown is slow on the uptake, spending the entire first hour alone building up and then letting down, and never really recovers. It feels like (and is) a two and a half hour movie. Titanic was longer by 45 minutes but didn't feel longer in comparison. Character devlopment is missing. Where are the guns that Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson) is running? What about Max Cherry's (Robert Forster) assistant? If Ray Nicolet (Michael Keaton) wants Jackie so bad, what's the other cop doing just standing there? This movie only held my interest when Pam Grier is on screen with Forster. DeNiro and Keaton, two actors who you'd think would be perfectly suited to a Tarantino movie, seem oddly out of place. Keaton isn't given the opportunity to give the character the quirkiness you know he wants to give, and DeNiro mumbles throughout the entire film. Maybe if it were Keitel in the DeNiro role and, God help me, Steve Buscemi in Keaton's, things might've been better. Bridget Fonda is merely adequate in the role of a stoner beachbunny, although she lacks the look that the role seems to require. And as much as I like Samuel L. Jackson, he just got on my nerves.

Grier and Forster, however, light up the screen. Forster's performance is a fine example of how subtlety can work for an actor and their character, while Grier gives us an extremely strong female lead. They are reason enough to watch.

You could do worse on your Saturday night.

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originally posted: 08/28/98 01:47:40
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User Comments

6/16/13 Mr Right Blends crime thriller, black comedy & wistful romance -- and succeeds wildly at all 3 5 stars
12/21/11 John Habig Everybody is great in this but Pam is still the sexiest badass even in her 40s 5 stars
6/11/10 Flathead King The films benefits from Tarantino taking a more mature approach to his filmmaking. 3 stars
8/28/09 Jeff Wilder Superb. 5 stars
3/28/07 fools♫gold Like (superior) "Chinatown",the rest of the movie makes up for its rather unfulfilling end. 5 stars
12/27/06 Agent Sands Those who've overlooked it, buried in the hype of Q's others, you're really missing out. 5 stars
9/29/06 Leslie Stone A must-see love story with superb plot and character development. 5 stars
6/19/06 Indrid Cold Can somebody explain why Tarantino is supposed to be such a genius? 3 stars
2/13/06 Eden Tarantino's most complex, mature film. Probably his best 5 stars
10/10/05 Agent Sands Elmore Leonard is actually my favorite author, and this is his second greatest adaptation 5 stars
9/21/05 Jonathon Holmes another great Tarintino movie 5 stars
8/25/05 Eden Slow but excellent characters and direction. Tarantinos best but most underated 5 stars
7/21/05 Brandy Harrington Okay... 3 stars
7/07/05 Isaac Baranoff Quentin Tarantino + Elmore Leonard = GOLD! 5 stars
6/12/05 DM Slow at times, but proof that Forster and Grier are both very talented. 4 stars
6/04/05 Denise Gannon say what you will about QT, but there' hes a master @ character direction 5 stars
5/30/05 Jake A Delicious Crime drama from Quentin Tarentino 5 stars
4/20/05 Chris Stephens Way to long 3 stars
4/16/05 Linda Denisen I enjoyed this movie but dodn't "just Love it". 3 stars
4/08/05 Lina Correa Great Ride of a movie, lots of action and well developed characters 4 stars
4/05/05 killbill03 Amazing. Slower paced and wonderfully directed 5 stars
3/31/05 hannaho One of Tarantino's best films. 5 stars
2/17/05 C Vega not tarantino's best but still good 4 stars
2/13/05 romeo not that good but still alrite so yeah 5 stars
2/07/05 Danielle R. Tarantino's best film. An underrated masterpiece. 5 stars
2/06/05 Tom Benton Though it's one of Tarantino's lesser achievements, it's in no way a bad film ... 4 stars
12/06/04 John Bale Although long strong characters and clever plot twists make this very entertaining. 5 stars
10/24/04 ODH Boring. Big letdown, big waste of time... 1 stars
10/22/04 Daniel good but was destined to be called a lesser film than pulp fiction, 'pulp' was just amazing 4 stars
9/27/04 Smitty It's not Pulp Fiction - it's better. Perfectly cast and played deliciously slow. 5 stars
9/18/04 R.W. Welch Overlong but well played caper pic. Forster & Jackson right on. 4 stars
5/24/04 Peter Understated, easy-paced, great dialogue 4 stars
5/24/04 Butterbean A slick, but mild mannered Tarrantino that still delivers interesting storytelling. 4 stars
5/18/04 Jack Sommersby Smart and endearing. Tarantino's best film, and a showcase for the magnificent Forster. 4 stars
5/18/04 y2mckay Meanders for quite a while, but comes together nicely in the end 4 stars
4/28/04 sean Awesome soundtrack, story, characters, and comedy. 5 stars
4/06/04 Miss Julie I don't know who I wanted to make out with more, Grier or Forster. Great flick. 5 stars
1/24/04 CC Amazing 5 stars
12/15/03 Phil M. Aficionado Strong yet breezy; 4.5 but round it up for Pam Grier and Robt Forster performances 5 stars
11/15/03 Ultron Easily as good as Pulp Fiction 5 stars
11/05/03 ND not hardcore as RD or PF, but still awesome casting and plot 4 stars
10/24/03 Curious George Decent 4 stars
10/14/03 Hank Your reviewers got it wrong; this flick is about Jacky, nothing else. 5 stars
9/23/03 Jon Lyrik Excruciatingly boring and stiff. Like looking at a rock for 2 1/2 hours. 2 stars
9/18/03 Samuel Justus i love Tarintiono's twists and Turns!! Fucking Brilliant! 5 stars
8/30/03 Peace Frog Bridget Fonda is hottest than three hells! I would have lasted longer than 3 fuckin' min.! 5 stars
5/25/03 Zaharin Hamid aka The Movie Samseng My favorite Tarantino movie. I love the theme song, "Across 110th Street". Wicked movie. 5 stars
5/24/03 Andrew Carden Flawless Masterpiece; Grier Gives A One-Of-A-Kind Performance. 5 stars
5/17/03 Mr. Hat (I'm Back Mo'Fos!) Not as good as Dogs, Pulp, and Romance, but it's a great great story & great soundtrack. 4 stars
4/03/03 dave you call yourself a critic ? it was awsome! 5 stars
1/27/03 alex another one of Tarantinos classic movie landmarks 5 stars
12/29/02 Jack Sommersby Tarantino's best. Forster is extraordinary! 4 stars
11/28/02 Zack W. Young Tarantino directing Bridget Fonda, Pam Grier, Robert Forster, Robert De Niro, and Sammy. 5 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum Good cast in a bloated, heavy film 4 stars
9/26/02 Morally Sound I loved this movie. The music fits like a glove. Awesome. 5 stars
9/04/02 Joe Zappa Hip, diverting, and funny. 4 stars
8/10/02 Film Guy The acting is spectacular. The Directing is Spectacular. but that doesnt make a movie 3 stars
8/08/02 I Can't Swim Excellent in all respects but Grier & Forster reach for the stars & obtain them 5 stars
7/21/02 Croweater A very good film, I liked it a lot.Great acting,scripting,direction. 5 stars
4/10/02 70's Love I love how Tarantino used the same music that was used in Grier's Foxy Brown and Coffy 4 stars
2/09/02 Jay Fox I love this film. Quentin Tarantino's dialogue and direction are genius along with Leonards 5 stars
1/15/02 Murray Castles Very good film. The entire cast was great. 4 stars
11/18/01 Gary Entertaining if overlong. Grier is excellent & there's great support from Fonda and Forster 3 stars
11/16/01 John Greer and Forester deserved nominations. 5 stars
10/25/01 Henry Ginsberg not as good as pulp fiction,but still brilliant 5 stars
9/06/01 spaceworm Clearly the third place Tarentino, still... 5 stars
9/01/01 Butterbean Why don't someone give Jackson an Oscar? Great performances all around, but mediocre movie 3 stars
8/10/01 E-Funk Tarantino's return is more than welcomed. A cool adaptation of the book. 5 stars
8/07/01 Joe Zappa Elmore Leonard's an idiot, but the movie's great. 5 stars
4/20/01 James Brilliant 5 stars
4/01/01 Jesse L Totally overrated movie. Not Quentin's best... 2 stars
3/16/01 Elvisfan Is that Rutger Hauer? No, its Helmut Berger. 5 stars
3/08/01 Sanja FUCKING AWESOME!! 5 stars
2/16/01 Jake I enjoyed it. Jackson was phat! 4 stars
12/30/00 Gerald F. Judd Mutherfuckin' Great! 5 stars
11/25/00 The Evil Penguin Pulp Fiction meets its partner, Jackie Brown 4 stars
11/01/00 Buffalo I may have liked it more than Pulp Fiction. Nah, maybe not; but it was a damn good film. 5 stars
5/26/00 Bruce It more than holds it's own against "Pulp Fiction" 5 stars
4/29/00 markus great! 5 stars
4/22/00 JonnyAngel Hmmmm... 3 stars
4/12/00 the Grinch Understated and very engrossing movie. Too bad some people wanted Pulp Fiction 2: Pulpier 5 stars
2/21/00 Kyle Broflovski Great script and hip, juicy characters. Damn good movie, motherfuckers!!! 5 stars
11/04/99 Karahde Khan Not as good as Pulp Fiction, but almost. Maybe QT's most mature film. 5 stars
10/30/99 Bozo "no, its Helmut Berger" 5 stars
9/29/99 Glitter Berry Forster was great, Grier was great, plot a bit weak for Q.T. 4 stars
8/20/99 Japtalian AK-47, when you absolutely, positively wanna kill every motherfucker in the room. 5 stars
8/04/99 Dax Not Tarantino's best (Pulp Fiction), but still a damn good film. 4 stars
8/04/99 Ed Wood much better the second time around 4 stars
6/15/99 Dylan This film is so under-rated. This is easily as good as Reservoir Dogs. 5 stars
6/15/99 Ver-Jun Tarantino revives the blaxploitation genre. Christmas has come early. 5 stars
4/13/99 Jon Jackson I really wanted this movie to kick ass, but it just tickled ass. 3 stars
2/18/99 Bishop I'll kill him n' 10 other niggaz look just like him. 4 stars
2/09/99 Gary I liked the plot even though you knew where it was leading. MF'n good movie. 4 stars
2/02/99 Vick Di Brecci Very good, underrated despite showing Tarantino's increased range. 4 stars
10/29/98 Silent Rob QT taking his time to infuse life into someone elses words. It worked for me. 4 stars
9/09/98 Bruce Willis' mama. Could have been better. Dragged on but mostly enjoyable. 4 stars
9/04/98 Badass A masterpiece! Tarantino proves he is very versital. A somber, desperate and smart movie. 5 stars
8/16/98 J-Guy too long. too boring. the time fucking was cool. 3 stars
8/14/98 {{{OZ}}} 70's production values in a Pulp Fiction suit. My buddie walked out. 2 stars
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  25-Dec-1997 (R)
  DVD: 10-Aug-2004

  20-Mar-1998 (18)

  05-Mar-1998 (MA)

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