Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Influence vs. plagiarism

Going to the Quentin Tarantino: God Among Directors site earlier, I ran across this article, Influence vs. Plagiarism, from a mailing list discussion on the subject.

Mind you, this is an interesting subject with much to be said around it, but unfortunately, no one on it says anything interesting or insightful.

It starts with the following two "charges". First, "Reservoir Dogs is an almost shot by shot rip-off (oh, wait I mean influence) of City On Fire."

What? You've never even seen City On Fire, for Christ's sake! That's not even the charge, dumbass! The charge, which seems basically accurate, is the Tarantino lifted the story for his 99 minute movie from the final act (approximately a half-hour) of City On Fire. Even the most virulent Tarantino detractor, who intends to be taken seriously, won't charge more than that.

Then, how about "In the movie Batman, The Joker always says 'Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?' before he shoots someone. Very similiar idea to the Bible quote Samuel L. Jackson's character always says before he shoots someone."

Isn't that a fascinating theory?

Except that it's completely wrong.

Someone who knew about City On Fire and Asian genre cinema and shit might know that the speech comes directly out of Norifumi Suzuki's Karate Kiba, better known as The Bodyguard, starring the always awesome Sonny Chiba. This is not even a question. Chiba speaks the exact same expansion of the Bible quote, which in the King James Bible reads merely, "And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them".

Wow, I've just made the against Tarantino better than this guy did!

Someday, maybe I'll take the time to make the argument in his favor better than the guys who reply.

For the record, the most recent story of Tarantino's next film, Tarantino's Next Film "Will Be in Mandarin" by Anita Singh, has him doing "another kung fu that’s gonna blow your asses off. Everyone still thinks I’m doing Inglorious Bastards next but before I do I want to do something much smaller.

"The next movie will be in Mandarin. I enjoyed shooting all the Japanese stuff in Kill Bill so much that this whole film will be entirely in Mandarin.

"If you’re not up to watching it with subtitles, I really want to do a full-on dubbed version. Maybe shooting two Kill Bill movies has spoiled me but fuck it – sue me."

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