A second DVD was required, in a manner of speaking, for a couple of documentary featurettes on the film, in case anybody wants to know what Bo Svenson looks like nowadays. But the “requirement” of a two-disk set of this derivative mediocrity, vintage 1978, is a real head-scratcher. Even with the extraneous mystery of what Tarantino saw in it and what he can possibly make of it in a remake, there’s precious little joy in it. The cigar-chomping Fred Williamson and his Seventies hair and mustache, if not funny in themselves, will remind you of how funny Robert Downey, Jr., was in Tropic Thunder. And an Aryan bathing beauty earns a bark of laughter when she cuts loose with a machine gun au naturel. Another laugh might be extracted when you realize that Ian Bannen, whose first language is English, has been dubbed in American. Otherwise the film is useful only as another pebble in the mountain of evidence of Tarantino’s untrustworthy taste (I wouldn’t say unequivocally bad taste, since he also admires Melville), and perhaps, too, as a strong candidate for a selective list of silliest movie titles.
If I seem to be shirking my responsibilities, I should need to put up no more defense than to point out that my responsibilities this week extended only to Hannah Montana: The Movie, Dragonball: Evolution, and Observe and Report. (Landmark Theatres, still reserving room for Slumdog Millionaire, offered little better: Shall We Kiss? and The Mysteries of Pittsburgh.) Elucidating the minuscule degrees to which Observe and Report might be superior to Paul Blart: Mall Cop doesn’t strike me as lighting the way to the marvels of cinema.
Citing “the effects of the economy,” the Museum of Contemporary Art has announced the termination of its monthly film program and its film curator, Neil Kendricks. A monthly program did not convey much commitment to film in the first place, and the eclecticism of the programming further retarded a sense of identity. But a loss is a loss.