“AK-47. The very best there is. When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherfucker in the room, accept no substitutes”.
Imaginatively dragging Elmore Leonard’s bestseller Rum Punch into his own postmodern universe peppered with quirky dialogue and cinematic references, director Quentin Tarantino makes this re-energised crime thriller a homage to, and an updating of, 1970s pulp fiction.
Blaxploitation icon Pam Grier is great as Jackie Brown – the air hostess pressured into an entrapment scam after being arrested for smuggling cash and drugs into LAX for ruthless arms dealing acquaintance, Ordell (Samuel L Jackson).
Realising that Ordell might be planning to keep her mouth shut for good, Jackie decides to use her feminine wiles to outsmart everyone wanting to exploit or kill her and comes up with a dicey, complicated plan to keep cops and crooks busy with each other while she escapes with $500,000.
Tarantino draws maximum suspense from a superb cast that includes Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda, Robert Forster and Michael Keaton, and an array of visual techniques such as staging a key scene three times from three different points of view.
The theme of ageing, of powers fading and last chances, runs through the film, notably in Ordell’s former cellmate, Louis, a man broken by the years, played sublimely by a dopey De Niro, and the bail bondsman with whom Jackie shares a tentative almost-romance, Max Cherry (Robert Forster – another example of Tarantino’s knack for resurrection casting).
Complementing this breathlessly exciting down-and-dirty crime drama is a fabulous array of funk classics.
Samuel L Jackson
Robert De Niro
Lisa Gay Hamilton
Tom “Tiny” Lister Jr
Amy, Billingsley sales girl
Billingsley sales girl number two
Ellis E Williams
Raynelle, Ordell’s junkie friend
T’Keyah Crystal Keymah
Cabo flight attendant
Bartender at Sam’s
Girl at security gate