Quentin Tarantino had to follow up "Pulp Fiction" with something, but did it really have to be this? I'm all for breaking the mold and flashing new colors, but "Jackie Brown" is a particulary bland exercise in over-the-top boredom."JB" doesn't have any of the whizzing creativity of "Pulp Fiction" or "Reservoir Dogs." My man QT works from a great novel by Elmore Leonard, but fails to inject his own ideas. A lot of the dialogue has been broadened and punctuated with the big T's linguistic flair (not to mention the somewhat overzealous use of the word "nigga"), but the story and characters reamin essentially the same.
And that was fine in Leonard's novel--a slow, loping tale of a bail bondsman who falls for a briefly incarcerated flight attendant nailed for moving a drug runner's money, the book worked so well because of the laid back flavor with which it was presented. But that style just doesn't mesh with Tarantino's hyperactive, ultraviolent daydream of an alternate reality, and the two worlds collide with a strange lack of dramatic sparks.
The leads, quite simply, work together--Pam Grier has that strange Amazon beauty coupled with naiive street charm, and she makes a winning heroine and foil for Robert Forester's quiet, serious bail bondsman. As the couple find love while plotting against cocky drug runner Ordell Robbie (played by Samuel L. Jackson in the film's weakest performance--there's none of that sparkling depth of Jules the hitman from "PF"; here it's all just cock of the walk arrogance that don't add up to jackshit), the story loosens and slackens until the audience just doesn't care anymore.
It doesn't help that "Jackie Brown" is almost two hours and forty minutes long. I could read Elmore Leonard's novel in about an hour and a half and be treated to many more scenes that T shows us here. The fault lies in Q and his new cinematographer, Guilliermo Navarro (he's worked with Robert Rodruigez in the past) for holding every shot to the point of absurdity. Instead of savoring the details, I just wanted the movie to start moving.Tarantino's third (and worst) full length feature never gets past the "just warming up" stage--after waiting for over two and a half hours, when the big pay off finally comes, instead of the joyous rush that was "Pulp Fiction," there's just an overwhelming sense of "Is that all there is?"