tek's rating:

Jackie Brown (R)
Great but Forgotten; IMDb; Miramax; Quentin Tarantino Archives; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

This came out in 1997, but I didn't see it until 2017. (Quentin Tarantino has an introduction on the DVD where he talks about fans having had to wait five years for the movie to be released on DVD, which I found kind of surprising and amusing, considering I waited 20 years to see the movie at all.) It's a neo-noir film, set in 1995, but it's done more in the style of 1970s blaxploitation films such as Foxy Brown. And in fact, the title character here was played by Pam Grier, who also played Foxy Brown herself. Oh, and I guess I should say the movie is based on Elmore Leonard's novel "Rum Punch," which I haven't read.

So, there's this illicit gun dealer named Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson), who at the start of the movie is offering a job to a former cellmate named Louis (Robert De Niro). At the same time, we meet a woman named Melanie (Bridget Fonda, who was perhaps the main reason I originally wanted to see the movie, back in the 90s). She's kind of a girlfriend (or moll, or whatever) of Ordell's, I guess. And a bit later, we meet a bail bondsman named Max Cherry (Robert Forster), whose services Ordell calls upon to get an employee named Beaumont (Chris Tucker) out of jail. Subsequently, Ordell demands a favor of Beaumont, as a pretext to kill him, to ensure he wouldn't give Ordell up in a plea bargain.

Meanwhile, there's a stewardess named Jackie Brown, who I guess regularly smuggles money from Mexico into the U.S. for Ordell. She gets busted by a cop named Mark Dargus and an ATF agent named Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton). They want to use her to set up a sting to take Ordell down. Ordell gets Max to get Jackie out of jail, and it seems fairly obvious that Max kind of falls for her at first sight. Later, Ordell tries to take Jackie out of the picture the same way he did Beaumont, but she's much smarter than Beaumont, so she turns the tables on Ordell. She knows he needs her to get his half million dollars out of Mexico, and presents him with a plan to do so. And thereafter, it's pretty much impossible to be sure whose side anyone is on. I mean, Jackie tells... pretty much the same thing... to Dargus and Nicolette, and Ordell and Louis, and Max, and Melanie. Everyone has their own plans, so it's unpredictable how everything will turn out.

So, I'm not going to spoil anything. I'll just say the movie has some amusing moments, and... all sorts of other moments. And it was all pretty entertaining. Particularly Jackie, of course. She was awesome. Sam Jackson was as fun as ever, and Mel was really good. And I liked Max a lot. But mostly, it's Grier's show. Hells yeah.

film noir index