I am surprised I have never posted to this topic as I am what one might consider a Tarantino fan.
I have enjoyed everything the man has done as a director or writer (with the exception of NATURAL BORN KILLERS).
As of right now, my favorite Tarantino films are INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS and JACKIE BROWN.
But, I really do like everything he has done—even RESERVOIR DOGS.
I say “even RESERVOIR DOGS” because I happen to prefer Ringo Lam’s CITY ON FIRE (and Stanley Kubrick’s THE KILLING for that matter) to Tarantino’s spin on the same basic plot.
I am not one of those folks that runs around saying “Tarantino is a thief! He plagiarized Ringo Lam! He should be killed!”. To paraphrase Rod Steiger in DUCK YOU SUCKER, that attitude “is to me the bullshit”!
I just think CITY ON FIRE is a better film, overall.
That said, there is no denying that as a debut film RESERVOIR DOGS is outrageously impressive.
A lot has been made of Tarantino’s homages to films he likes. I know a lot of people that love to say that Quentin doesn’t have any original ideas…that he just steals bits from other movies and strings them together. But, I don’t think that is the case, at all.
There is no denying that he has a tendency to take bits he likes from other films— but, he definitely has original ideas about incorporating such “stolen” pieces.
And I think it is worth pointing out that one of the greatest Spaghetti Westerns…actually one of the greatest MOVIES…of all-time (in my opinioin)…Sergio Leone’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST is nothing but a bunch of “stolen bits” from other Westerns (JOHNNY GUITAR, THE IRON HORSE, etc.) strung together. Yet, Leone (like Tarantino today) manages to incorporate these bits into something very original and exciting.
Is being a master of reworking something make the person any less of a master?
Not in my humble opinion.