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July 1994


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"Keith R. Crosley" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 18 Jul 1994 17:29:24 MDT
text/plain (43 lines)
Leland Elliot asks:
>Hey, can anyone out there tell me about a horrible rumor I've heard?  It
>has been passed by me by several people that Quentin Tarantino apparently
>stole a lot of his inspiration (not to mention actual shot by shot
>structures and plot) for Reservoir Dogs from a Japanesse film named.....?
> And  there's what no one can me, the name of the film that Japanesse
>film.  I of course want to see the flim and judge for myself.  Has anyone
>else heard of what I am speaking?  Say it ain't so.
This would seem to be so.  The film in question is CITY ON FIRE, a Hong Kong
actioner from the late 80's.  FILM THREAT was the first publication I
am aware of that did more than reprint the rumor.  They did a shot by
shot comparison with stills.  At issue are a number of action scenes
including, but not limited to, H. Kietel's double-pistoled firing at a
police car and the three-way standoff.  Apparently, the wounded undercover
cop and bungled heist plot points are also direct lifts.  This article
appeared one or two issues back.  I'm not near my magazines, but will
post the citation soon.
I have not yet seen CITY ON FIRE, but it should be available at video
stores in larger metropolitan areas.  It seems to have been available at the
one at which Tarantino worked!
It should be noted that the "lifted" ideas in RESERVOIR DOGS are,
reportedly, only the first act of CITY ON FIRE.  DOGS has other
influences too -- most notably, the code-named criminals inspired
by THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123.  Of course, none of this diminishes the
quality of DOGS, just its supposed "originality".
One could go on about how when "genre" pictures are lauded, they often
have a bit more originality ascribed to them than they should -- usually
because of the critics' unfamiliarity with the conventions and "canonical"
texts of the genre...
Keith R. Crosley                                [log in to unmask]
Director, Technical Communication
Research Systems, Inc.
2995 Wilderness Place            "Never trust anyone over 300."
Boulder, CO  80301