True Romance (1993) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
|A couple of working class dorks, one a
prostitute with an IQ of about 12 and the other a career
clerk in a comic book store, manage to emerge with all
the money in a battle between cops, mob guys, and
coked-out Hollywood bodyguards.
In the climactic shoot-out, all the players are gathered together in the same room, all pointing their guns at each other and shouting "drop 'em". They all begin firing, and everyone gets killed except our two heroes and one of their friends.
Gee, guess who wrote this silly, implausible exercise in hip tongue-in-cheek humorously jaded ultra-violence? Hint: it came in between Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Actually, the talk is that this script sold for fifty thousand bucks, which Tarantino used to help finance "Dogs". The True Romance script sat on the shelf for a while and was picked up when Tarantino scored with Reservoir Dogs. He wrote, but didn't direct this one. That honor went to Tony Scott.
|The cast assembled not just one or two of the usual psychotic bad guys and unbalanced good guys, but ALL of them. Every last one. Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Samuel L Jackson, James Gandolfini, Tom Sizemore. It also has all the quirky off-center leading men. Brad Pitt, Christian Slater, Val Kilmer. In a sense, it's kind of a grand opera performed without singing. All the characters are larger-than-life, all the situations are wildly implausible, all the dialogue is like the exchanges between Spiderman and The Green Goblin. In other words, it's yet another adolescent masturbation fantasy, masquerading as "satire".||
like this kind of film, largely because I can recite
every plot twist and every line of dialogue before it
happens. But many people really enjoy this kind of
low-brain high-testosterone film, where all the rams try
to butt horns until only the strongest one is left. If
you are a male, less than 30 years old, you are the
target market for this film, and may like it a lot,
judging from the IMDb ratings. (Males under 18 rate it
7.9, males 18-29 rate it 7.8).
I guess Quentin Tarantino learned all his criminal behavior patterns from dime novels and comic books. It's the official geeks' concept of how tough guys talk.
It's pretty obvious that Tarantino hasn't ever met any real criminals, because real toughs don't spend hours talking about how tough they are. You can't do that if you're in the violence biz, because it allows your opponent time - time to catch his breath, to devise a plan, to find a hidden gun, whatever. Time is always the enemy, because the longer you delay to commit a crime, the greater the chance that unforeseen circumstances will disturb the plan. Professional criminals need to commit their crimes fast and get out before anything has a chance to go wrong. Only drugged-out losers talk about how tough they are. Tough guys don't have to, and don't want to, because they don't want anybody to know anything about them unless necessary. You think they go around broadcasting "hey, I'm a psycho killer"? If they do, they won't be around that much longer. If you do know a real tough guy, you probably aren't aware of it. You probably think he's a magazine distributor or something.
I knew some wiseguys when I was in the amusement game business. (A perfect business for them because all the revenues are in cash, so nobody notices if a few million more shows up here and there). The high powered guys were ultra-elegant and gracious in the Old World style, and the lower level guys would always try to bribe you rather than threaten you. That's obviously more effective. When you threaten people, they call the FBI. When you bribe people, they become part of the enterprise and keep their mouths shut, and you own them. And even if they refuse the money, they don't get on the horn to the Feds.
But, of course, that very boring businesslike behavior doesn't make for a good jack-off fantasy.
NOTES on the extended version:
As far as I can see, the unrated director's cut is the same as all the other versions I've seen. It is 121 minutes long, the same as previous releases.
I guess that means all of the additional "unrated" footage is on the second disk. This is a really solid DVD package, filled with commentary and extra footage. There are several deleted scenes (with additional nudity!), as well as a re-creation of the original ending, which was fabricated by director Tony Scott especially for the DVD from extra footage and storyboards.
I like the alternate ending much better. It is more credible and truer to the noir tone of the film.
In the theatrical release, Slater and Arquette walked away from the gunfight with the money, simply walked through the lobby of the hotel, drove to Mexico, and raised a family there. The last scene shows them playing with their child on a beach in the sunset.
In the alternate script, Slater dies, Arquette is used as a human shield by a bad guy. When he is taken down by the police, Arquette gets away because the police assume she's an innocent bystander. She drives almost to Mexico, then stops the car, contemplates suicide, shrugs it off, abandons the car while it faces Mexico, and hitchhikes back to L.A. in the opposite lane.
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