Forget Oscar®-nominees Travolta and Thurman. And forget the rancorous claims that Tarantino stole his best ideas from the last quarter-century of action moviemaking in America and abroad.* Samuel L. Jackson is the beating heart of Pulp Fiction, and his performance alone would make this well worth your while. Jackrabbit Slim’s bores my ass off, but I get a giddy rush from the mesh of violence and high comedy; the urgency in Jackson’s voice when he insists, “I’m trying real hard to be the Shepherd”; the arrival of Harvey Keitel, liberated from that Bridget Fonda movie; and the way that Tarantino’s narrative folds back on itself almost delicately, a self-conscious counterpoint to the excess of it all.
* Note to anyone who’s never seen a Hong Kong movie: watch Pulp Fiction one more time, and then rent John Woo’s The Killer and turn your world inside out all over again.