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Reservoir Dogs More at IMDbPro »

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18 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Easy on the kudos, everybody. Read and learn.

Author: Jimmy Wadd from Hell-sdale, Michigan
16 January 1999

If I read one more brainless Tarantino-phile's thoughtless salivation over this most over-rated rip-off, I think I'll vomit.

Very little has been made of the fact that this movie was totally ripped off from Chow Yun Fat's City On Fire. I've seen that movie, and take my word for it, Dogs is borrowed from bottom to top, from the heist gone wrong because of a trigger-happy sociopath, to the ring of diamond thieves infiltrated by a hotshot young undercover cop, to the relationship between the cop and the experienced professional, to the warehouse rendezvous, to the cops waiting for them there, to the curiously sympathetic professional tending to the wounded cop, to the "Mexican Standoff" (?) between the boss, the professional, and the boss's toadie. Hell, even the professional dicing policemen in their car with two semi-automatic pistols was straight out of City On Fire. So much has been made of the Scream rip-offs and Die Hard rip-offs, well, where's the uproar here?

Somebody mentioned that Keitel ties the movie together with "spooky" calmness. What movie was he watching? The Piano? It looked to me like Keitel was channeling Pacino, screaming constantly and making wild gestures. I kept waiting for Eddie to slap him.

I am soooooo sick of everybody talking about Michael Madsen's "great" performance as Mr. Blonde. Michael Madsen always plays the same tough-guy cliche, good guy or bad, and his performance in this isn't any different than those in The Getaway or Donnie Brasco. I think anybody could've played this part more interestingly. The part was written to be disturbing, and Madsen really didn't add anything to that. I would've much rather seen Buscemi or Keitel as Mr. Blonde.

The lame bear-claw joke fell flat in what was an otherwise humorous movie. It was about as out of place as Tarantino's pitiful portrayal of Mr. Brown. He's the only "actor" I know that can screw up a bit part.

Just how was Mr. Blonde gonna deal with the enormous fireball that lighting several gallons of gasoline in a tight warehouse would create? I know that he was "crazy" and all that, but it seems like a robber on the lam wouldn't want to send huge clouds of black smoke billowing out of his hideout.

Would it really be a good idea to sit in a fairly busy restaurant looking rather suspicious in your robbery duds the morning of the big heist? I know it's LA and all, but even as a restaurant patron, I would've noticed six bad-asses in cheap black suits, a fat redhead wearing a somewhat ironic jogging jacket, and an old mafia-type, sitting at one table, carrying on loudly about Madonna.

Mr. Orange was the highlight of this movie for me. His disgust at Marvin crying about how he'll never look right again was an acting triumph, and the look of sadness on his face as White murdered the cops in the car (far more interestingly explained in the script) was similarly heartfelt. Why haven't we seen more of Tim Roth lately?

I can't deny my enjoyment of this movie in spite of my extensive complaints, though it doesn't deserve the praise that unknowing moviegoers give it. Tarantino will always be, to me, a creatively constipated bad actor who got very lucky. My guess is that his skillfully-written dialogue comes from snippets of conversation he's heard here and there. I rate this a 6, 2 if you factor in that it was absolutely plagiarized.

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43 out of 76 people found the following review useful:

Over rated

Author: purvesgrundy (
14 November 1999

I first saw this film when I was 15. I thought it was brilliant, really original and generally great. However, now (3 Years later) I realise it is nothing more than a pretentious piece of garbage.

Sure, it looks good, but when you really get down to it it's not doing anything. It doesn't have any real substance, it's not commenting on anything, it's just a totally throwaway product. Tarantino is talking loudly and saying nothing. And THAT narrative structure - it looks and feels original, but independent and foreign movies have been doing it, better, for years and years.

A truly trashy piece of postmodernism at it's worst.

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32 out of 56 people found the following review useful:

Dumb and boring.

Author: Leon-56
28 June 2002

What to say.. a cliche story, badly told, with non believable characters 1/4" deep. I rented this movie because a friend told me it was the best movie ever, unfortunately it was pretty much the opposite, especially the whole setup. I saw Saturday morning cartoons that were more interesting.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

These 'Dogs' bark a lot, but they bite, too ...

Author: ElMaruecan82 from France
9 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Bloodily violent, irreverently shocking, politically incorrect, inventively funny and so on and so forth… I'm trying to find the right expression to describe "Reservoir Dogs" and I finally got it, it stands in three letters: N-E-W. There was something waiting in the abyssal wombs of cinema, so repressed it was waiting for deliverance with a fierce impatience, a deliverance with a quite original and cool-sounding name: Quentin Tarantino, the new incarnation of modern violence with STYLE. "Reservoir Dogs" is more than a debut; it's a sensational entrance that consecrated Tarantino among the most influential directors of his generation, and THE reference in independent film-making.

Tarantino invented a new style that would never desert his films, and would make each of his creation, the epitome of coolness. It's so fresh to watch "Reservoir Dogs" now and to realize how new it was at that time. I remember the first time I watched the film, I was 17, and the movie literally blew me away in every single aspect, and I guess the fact that I wasn't familiar with the Internet or IMDb was a good thing since it didn't intercede with my approach of the film. I didn't want to know what's so cool about Tarantino, I just discovered him with his film, shortly after watching "Pulp Fiction", and for some reason, I loved "Reservoir Dogs" a little more. Tarantino quickly became my favorite director as a teenager, and in my early 20's because of this level of creativity in the writing, the directing, and the editing.

The writing is Tarantino's trademark and his greatest quality, the movie starts with a whole discussion about the meaning of "Like a Virgin" told by a fast-speaking Tarantino, himself as Mr. Brown, then a whole debate starts about tipping and non tipping. That's the question raised by the first minutes of "Reservoir Dogs" and the least we could say is that the talk is so trivial it sounds real and authentic in its rawness and makes the characters more human, if not sympathetic. More generally, the whole characterization is driven by dialogs so delicately vulgar you never miss the action, or wait for something 'to happen'. Script 'happens' in Tarantino's films, like meals you've already eaten but with a new special taste, something juicy, creamy, and spicy. It's almost an indigestion of creativity … I don't need to tell you the lines, if I start them, you know the rest : "You shoot me in a dream …", "Are you gonna bark all day, little doggie?" etc. etc. And these dogs not only bark, but they do bite a lot.

Indeed, if the movie was all dialogs, it wouldn't have had the same impact. It's like Tarantino already knew his lesson, and wanted to make something big, from the beginning. From the iconic slo-mo walking scene down the alley with the opening credits, you get the idea that this "Little Green Bag" song will be the 'hallelujah' glorifying the birth of a new style of film-making, and instinctively, you know something special will happen after these credits, and you're not disappointed by what follows. Blood, blood all over the car seat, and probably one of the most convincing painful screams ever. You really can feel for Tim Roth in that scene, it's like the real actor got one real bullet, and the rest is the touching expression of a growing friendship between Roth as Mr. Orange, and Mr. White, his mentor played by Harvey Keitel. He combs his hear, whispers something that provoke Orange's cute but heartbreaking smile: the chemistry is so believable, you understand that the movie is not just about cool dialogs. Then, comes Mr Pink as Steve Buscemi, asking who the rat is! Because this is the first serious element we have. It's the story of a botched jewel robbery, with a traitor among these gangsters. This question will be the starting point of the narrative with three specific back stories told in flashback.

The three characters depicted in flashback are Mr. White, Mr. Orange, and Michael Madsen as Mr. Blonde. And in the memorable-action department, the winner is undoubtedly Mr. Blonde: the one who provided the most iconic and recognizable moment of the film. The iconic ear-cutting scene with the "Stuck In the Middle With You" music, like a reminiscence of "A Clockwork Orange" rape scene with 'Singin' in the Rain' as a musical background, the scene is disturbing, violent, bloody, but also … iconic. The violence is not meant to be cool, but just to show how psychotic Mr. Blonde, one of the most twisted gangster villains, is. And his torture is also crucial because it will unmask Mr. Orange as the snitch, and will make his relationship with White, even more complex. In one minute, the movie raises a new dimension, deeper and more tragic.

Forget the cool and raunchy dialogs, the creative editing, where flashbacks interfere with parallel stories, as when we witness a great scene where Orange tells a story within another story. Too many insertions as to create a confusing feeling until the last iconic scene : after the slo-mo opening, the ear-cutting, the Mexican stand-off, as the last memorable scene that would lurch this movie into Pop Culture. Forget the wonderful ensemble cast with so many colorful characters (literally) and such believable actions and reactions like childishly arguing about nicknames instead of preparing a serious job. All these elements are great, but it would have been nothing without the tragedy …

The beauty of the film relies on this profound relationship between Mr. Orange and Mr White, made of respect and honor, and the last minute of the film was something that reminded of Peckinpah's films, a moment of honesty and loyalty, incarnated by Orange's last confession, and White's heartbreaking gesture as to redeem the act of a man he still loved as friend … Keitel's last look before the movie ends will haunt me forever.

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17 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Don't Believe The Hype - It's Not That Good

Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
14 August 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

RESERVOIR DOGS exploded onto cinema screens in 1992 and I can still remember the shock waves it caused due to the excessive violence . If memory serves me right Glasgow Council came very close to banning it from cinema chains in the city and they weren't alone in trying to do this either as newspaper headlines and word of mouth screamed how violent the movie was as Quentin Tarantino became the most infamous and influential movie director of the mid 1990s . RESERVOIR DOGS was finally allowed a British network TV transmission in the Summer of 1997 on channel 4 . I was rubbing my hands in anticipation at seeing this movie . After seeing the movie I felt disgusted . Not because it was a movie whose violent content had sickened me but because I'd fallen for the hype like a total shmuck . This must be the most overrated movie of the 1990s


First of all the characters meet in a diner . If you're carrying out a heist is it a good idea to gather in a public place where potential witnesses can identify you ? And would a bunch of robbers be interested in discussing the lyrics of Madonna or the films of John Holmes ? It might be cool and trendy to discuss pop culture but in the context of this movie it's illogical . Soon the narrative switches to a warehouse where the robbers have arrived after their disastrous heist and we're treated to some very obvious exposition : " F***in' sick f*** . Why'd he do that ? Did you see what he did to that girl ? How old was she ? Nineteen ? F***in' sick motherf***er " After the movie finished this is what bothered me - I had expected the movie to end by showing us the massacre at the bank BUT THIS NEVER HAPPENS ! and I can't describe how cheated I felt . Okay we're shown the various robbers making their getaways but not once are we shown the much referred to robbery itself which made me feel very disappointed , not because I wanted to see teenage girls get murdered but because it instinctively felt like it should have been the centrepiece scene / climax scene of the movie

As for the rest of the movie's reputation for violence it's ill deserved . There's buckets of blood but many , many movies also feature buckets of blood and gore and don't receive half as much attention as RESERVOIR DOGS . Remember the much criticised scene of the cop getting his ear cut off ? Didn't anyone notice that this actually happens off camera ? Ironically enough the only murder that did disturb me - " What this cop ? " BANG - is chilling because it's committed so coldly not because it's graphic in any way .

Is there anything I like about RESERVOIR DOGS ? Harvey Keitel is the type of actor I'd watch even if it involved him reading out his shopping list , and the scene where it's revealed who the undercover cop is memorable along with the compelling " How's he going to explain that to the bad guys when they return ? " storyline . But at the end of the day I can't help thinking RESERVOIR DOGS is ruined by its much hyped reputation . WHITE HEAT is a very similar movie and a much better one

RESERVOIR DOGS gets six bones out of a possible ten

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

For all I know you are the rat; and this might be the best heist homage movie ever?

Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
26 August 2010

Reservoir Dogs is the debut of director and writer Quentin Tarantino. It stars Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, and Lawrence Tierney. Tarantino has a minor role, as does criminal-turned-author Eddie Bunker.

It feels a bit silly to write it now, but there was a time when Reservoir Dogs barely made a ripple in the cinema loving world; in America that is. Upon its release in the States it was moderately successful and comfortably made back its $1.2 million budget. However, upon hitting the British shores it was a big hit and grossed nearly £6.5 million and then Pulp Fiction exploded on the world in 94 and Reservoir Dogs got reappraised in its home country. The rest as they say is history.

Tarantino, the most enthusiastic of film fans, was once a video store clerk in Redondo Beach. There he dreamed of making his own movies and planned to make Reservoir Dogs with his friends on a relatively small budget. As luck would have it, Keitel got hold of the script and wanted in. With his name attached, and using his contacts, a serious budget was raised and so the Dogs were set loose. At the time of its popularity, Tarantino had to guardedly fend off accusations of plagiarism and a charge of just hacking from older classic heist movies. His argument was that he was making his own homage to the heist caper, but even so, the fact remains that Reservoir Dogs is spliced from The Killing, Kansas City Confidential, The Big Combo, The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three and we can definitely throw in The Asphalt Jungle as well.

Yet Reservoir Dogs is still extraordinarily fresh and vibrant, raising the bar for crime movies in the modern era. Tarantino of course has since gone on to prove his worth with other projects, so in truth his homage movie was merely the foot in the door for the talented son of Knoxville, Tennessee. In terms of its dialogue, tho, and its gleeful use of "ultra-violence," it has few peers. From any decade. It also helps considerably that Tarantino has assembled a quality cast to make his non-linear classic shine. Keitel is a given, but Roth is exceptional, as too is Buscemi, while Madsen is frighteningly convincing as psycho for hire Mr. Blonde. Then there's the 70s soundtrack, a vital part of the narrative as we hear the dulcet tones of Steven Wright Djing on K-Billy's Super Sounds of the Seventies. If you have not seen the film yet? Then I promise you will remember Stealers Wheel-Stuck in the Middle for the rest of your cinema loving days.

And that's the thing with Reservoir Dogs, it's crammed packed full of memorable things. A quip, a bang, a song or the WTF ending, as homages go; it's one of the very best. 9/10

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

You shoot me in a dream, you better wake up and apologize!

Author: Flord_2274
3 March 2017

Tarantino's brutal debut film. From the original initial dialogue, to the final outcome, the director astonishes everyone and makes clear what his style: anthological dialogues (eye to the discussion in the distribution of colors that will identify each gangster, hilarious) a breakthrough structure, very good soundtrack (as in all his films), great doses of violence (although not at all gratuitous, but rather ironic) and, above all, a lot of black humor. In addition to superb performances by Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi and Chris Penn. In short, a great example of good noir cinema (with all its ingredients: shootings, violence, betrayal, suspense, etc.), but with the innovative and very personal touch of the brilliant director, who would later continue to dazzle with the wonderful "Pulp Fiction". Oh, and the scene from the beginning with "Little Green Bag" is legendary. 10/10

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:


Author: Tom147
10 August 2013

Reservior Dogs is a classic film and Quentin Tarantino is just an absolute genius.

I really liked this film, it was gripping and suspenseful. Straight to the point and extremely well acted. A few of the scenes were very gruesome but they needed to be. Michael Madsen as Mr. Blonde was just crazy but my personal favourite in this film was Chris Penn who played Nice Guy Eddie Cabot, I found him to be hilarious. The story developed at a good pace even though it was mostly set in one place with just a few flashbacks.

Overall this is well deserving of its place in the IMDb top 250 list, a classic film that everyone just has to see.


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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Could have been a bit better

Author: pretzel man from Singapore
4 December 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Maybe its because I watched Pulp Fiction a good six months before I saw this, but Reservoir Dogs seems lacking in its potential.

The plot is extremely intriguing, what you would expect from Tarantino. Multi-layered, with interesting characters and some classic lines (I can't help it, but it all appears...inferior to PF). Superb acting from Steve Buscemi and Harvey Keitel, though Tim Roth clinches it. It's also nice to see the many references to Fiction (or vice-versa? Which one came out first again?) and of course Tarantino himself.

Still, was it me or did RD seem far too short? Most of the film was taken up by Buscemi's paranoia and the other character's monologues, which is where I felt it stumbled. The conversations in Fiction flow well although they are surreal, but in RD it was clunky and awkward. Plus the set got boring after a while, it was an abandoned warehouse after all.

There are still some things I don't get about RD. What was the message? There didn't seem to be any (apart from, don't be an undercover cop) whilst Pulp Fiction was clearly about redemption. The significance of *spoiler* Mr Pink the only one who survives? What, cowardice pays off? And although the whole torture scene didn't fit, I'll accept it because really it's nothing compared to the randomness of "the gimp" incident in PF. What gets me is that people are STILL yakking on about how gruesome it was (Mr Blondes torture scene, that is). It's just a prosthetic ear and some blood.

Ah well. Could have been more, but good nonetheless. Seven out of ten.

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29 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Pure undiluted crap

Author: inframan from the lower depths
7 July 1999

Vintage Tarantino. Totally boorish, tasteless, boring, repetitious, tedious & moronic. Everything his loving audiences deserve.

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