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March 1995, Week 4


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"Richard J. Leskosky" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 23 Mar 1995 15:30:28 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
On 3/22/95, Arn McConnell wrote:
>Finally, to bring an overdue international slant to this thread: Has anyone
>seen the documentary that gives a shot-by-shot analysis of RESERVOIR DOGS and
>Ringo Lam's CITY ON FIRE?  I had heard that RD owed a lot to this Hong Kong
>film, but from what I've read, this documentary makes it sound like
>out-and-out plagiarism.  Maybe Quentin Tarantino is to film what Pat Boone
>was to pop music, stealing the little-seen inspiration of the ethnic "Other"
>and making it palatable for young, white America.
I've seen CITY ON FIRE since seeing RESERVOIR DOGS.  There ARE similarities
and borrowings, but RD is far from being an uncredited remake of COF.  The
heist-gone-wrong and the gang trying to figure out what happened occupies
perhaps the last twenty minutes of COF, and the dynamics are quite
different although there is a scene of the undercover cop shooting at
uniformed cops and another of three or four people pointing guns at one
another's heads.  The friendship between the undercover cop and one of the
gang members is more developed in COF, and it takes a long time for the cop
to realize that his new criminal friend is actually the copkiller he's been
looking for.  There is no equivalent to the roundtable discussion that
opens RD, but there is a lot of background given on the undercover cop, his
disintegrating relationship with his girlfriend (including one or two
steamy sex scenes), and his adversarial relationship with his superior and
the superior's bureaucratic rival.  It's possible to select shots from RD
and COF that would resemble each other and to construct summaries that
would sound similar, but this would, in actuality, be misleading.
--Richard Leskosky
Richard J. Leskosky                     office phone: (217) 244-2704
Assistant Director                      FAX: (217) 244-2223
Unit for Cinema Studies                 University of Illinois