BLU-RAY REVIEW: Jackie Brown
Director approved 1997 fan-favorite hits hi-def home video...
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An entertaining film based on the story Rum Punch by fan-favorite, critically acclaimed writer Elmore Leonard, Jackie Brown is a fine film by any account. It features an intriguing story, dynamic characters played by a solid cast, a smart script, and beautiful directing and editing. Of course, when one finds out it was writer/director Quentin Tarantino who brought this story to life on the big screen in 1997, it's a bit of a shock; especially considering in 1997, Quentin Tarantino was best known for writing and directing Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs and writing the screenplays for True Romance and Natural Born Killers.
Enter Jackie Brown. Played by the foxy, fan-favorite 1970's blaxplotation star Pam Grier, the title character makes a fine full-time flight attendant whose gig as a part-time smuggler hits a kink when she's arrested for drug possession and distribution by ATF agent Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton) and LAPD detective Mark Dargas (Michael Bowen). Brown's gun-running boss Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson) is obviously concerned as her knowledge could put him away and thus wants her out of the picture...but not before she smuggles $500,000 out of Mexico so he can retire. Enter bondsman Max Cherry (Robert Forster), Ordell's former cellmate Louis Gara (Robert De Niro) and Ordell's female roommate Melanie Ralston (Bridget Fonda) and you've got yourself a full plate of intertwined characters. Of course, "foxy" Brown is slier than others think and plays both sides against one another as she's out to get the money and her freedom as well as Ordell and the authorities off her back.
The film does a great job of telling Leonard's original story, though with a number of obvious changes. Likewise, the film revived the careers of a number of its cast members, including Pam Grier and Robert Forster. Both Grier and Forster as well as Jackson received critic acclaim and praise for their roles as well, with Grier and Jackson being nominated for a Golden Globe and Forster being nominated for an Academy Award. Jackie Brown scored well with critics as well though, to me, it still seems like an oddity compared to Tarantino's previous other films.
This blu-ray release of Jackie Brown features a good looking 1080p video transfer in the film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The film is overall tight and sharp and the colors are brilliant and bold throughout. It should impress fans looking to add this hi-def home video to their collection. Likewise, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track is sure to win over fans looking for strong audio. Reviving not only older cast members, but also a number of audio tracks - like Across 110th Street by Bobby Womack - make up the soundtrack, which is also available for purchase by fans.
As for bonus material, the disc includes a solid variety, including a 40+ minute featurette "Breaking Down Jackie Brown," a critics' roundtable (similar to that on the Pulp Fiction blu-ray release), a near 40 minute cast interview-rich featurette entitled "Jackie Brown: How it Went Down", and a 50+ minute interview with Tarantino entitled "A Look Back at Jackie Brown." Other shorter features include the 5-minute "Chicks With Guns" video (seen playing in the background of one scene), the 5-minute "Siskel and Ebert At the Movies" spot, two MTV spots, a marketing gallery with trailers and TV spots, and a still gallery. Still other special features include a variety of deleted and alternate scenes as well as trailers for past films featuring both Forster and Grier.
Overall, Jackie Brown is a solid addition to anyone's ever-growing hi-def home video library. While it seems unlike any other Quentin Tarantino film, that may be what makes it special. And don't forget the fact the cast is made up of a variable slew of talent that's been in front of fans for now well over 40 years. For fans of any of Elmore Leonard's writing, any of the cast, writer/director Tarantino, or those simply looking for a good movie to watch, Jackie Brown fits the criteria for a great way to spend 154 minutes.
Jackie Brown is available now on blu-ray hi-def wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess Horsley
"Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"
Jess C. Horsley