This poor bastard Skip Woods. How was he supposed to know? He stumbles across this winning formula of late ’90s independent quirky crime drama, and it just so happens that another individual, somebody named Quentin Tarantino, has already done it.
You gotta feel sorry for Skip. How was he supposed to know that Tarantino loved to take larger than life movie archetypes and show the mundane parts of their lives? Like this opening scene where three criminals who obviously don’t realize how annoying they are (Aaron Ekchart, Paulina Porezkova, James LeGros) stop in a convenience store after a big score to get coffee, and argue over the price until they end up killing the clerk and then have to pretend to work there when a cop comes in. And how could Skip have known that when he has the cop ask, for no reason, whether Eckhart prefers Picard or Kirk… that it JUST MIGHT look like he was some fuckin idiot jackass blatantly and embarassingly trying to copy the most superficial elements of Tarantino’s formula?
I mean let’s face it, Tarantino is not the only person who enjoys wacky intertitles to divide his stories into chapters. Or scenes where people are duct taped to chairs being casually tortured. Or criminals who casually use racial slurs and deliver random trivia about the Roman empire or porno films. Or people in the suburbs trying to clean up huge bloody messes before their wives get home. Or criminals stopping to tell each other colorful stories. Or all the other shit that this movie does that happens to be exactly what was done way better in Tarantino’s movies. I mean, Tarantino doesn’t have a copyright on the exact rhythm and tone of the speech Dennis Hopper famously delivers to Christopher Walken in TRUE ROMANCE, so why is it so wrong for Skip to COMPLETELY INNOCENTLY AND INDEPENDENTLY come up with a seemingly asinine and clueless dipshit retread of that speech for Thomas Jane to deliver? I mean he put his own spin on it anyway. For some reason an angry, heavily armed black drug dealer is willing to sit back passively as Jane gets in his face with a blatantly racist and personally insulting speech questioning the size of his dick. This unbelievable element adds a kind of poorly thought out and/or magic realism vibe to it that makes it COMPLETELY different from Tarantino. I mean come on. Skip Woods is an original.
I mean, just because there’s a character named “Ballpean” with a crazy injury backstory that reminds you alot of the guy you hear about Marcellus throwing out the window in PULP FICTION does not mean that Skip Woods ever saw or heard about PULP FICTION. THURSDAY came out in 1998, a mere four years after PULP FICTION. I mean what are the chances that he even saw it, he probaly was busy learning the craft of generic, cheap looking filmmaking and was not really able to pay attention to hugely popular, award winning and influential cultural phenomenons. More likely than not, he never heard of Tarantino and wouldn’t have been interested in those movies if he had.
Or another possibility I guess is that this movie is a derivative, badly made piece of shit. Could be either one.
I kind of had a good idea it wasn’t gonna be good but who knows, “guy finds suitcase full of heroin” is the type of story hook I can enjoy, and when I realized STANDER himself, Detective John Punisher, etc. was the star, I decided to try. Unfortunately, nobody is good in this movie. Jane overacts and they make him into kind of a dork. He even has a ponytail in the flashbacks. I know, I know, Steven Seagal. But he wears it better than Tom does. Poor Tom. But I guess the sacrifice was worth it. You gotta understand what it’s like to be punished before you can become the punisher.
Mickey Rourke is the only guy that doesn’t seem worse than usual, but he’s only in it for a couple minutes near the end. There was one or two, actually one, joke that I kind of liked. And they got a pretty good setup where the wife could come home and find a bunch of dead bodies and blood and dudes duct taped to the ceiling and shit like that, that kind of incidents-accumulating-until-you-lose-track-of-how-ridiculous-it’s-gotten thing can be fun. But it never happens. He gets it all cleaned up.
And I have to point out that these characters are fucking idiots. I know people do stupid shit during a crime but this one really takes the cake. Number one. If you just jacked suitcases full of heroin and money, don’t stop for coffee. You can fucking wait. Take care of business first. If you insist on walking around like a jackass with a suitcase full of heroin needlessly endangering yourself for no other reason than for Skip Woods to try to make Tarantino dialogue, for god’s sake don’t randomly kill an innocent woman. You’re just calling attention to yourself. William Forsythe did a thing kind of like that in OUT FOR JUSTICE, but 1. he didn’t have a suitcase full of heroin on him 2. he just smoked a bunch of crack like 30 seconds earlier which, in my opinion, may have lowered his inhibitions, and most importantly 3. he had a death wish and was HOPING it would bring all kinds of hell down on him. Those are good reasons. “I need coffee” is not a good reason you stupid Skip Woodsian imbeciles.
Number two. If you go stay at your friend’s house and you have a suitcase full of heroin, one idea I have is, don’t leave the suitcase just sitting in plain sight on a bed with the door open. I know, hindsight is 20/20. Now that we’re already in this endless quicksand pit of violence we have to blindly go along and support the troops because otherwise how are we going to save the heroin and reform all of the criminals and corrupt cops that are trying to get it and teach their children how to read. BUT, in my opinion, it is possible that SOME people might have known beforehand that leaving a suitcase full of heroin on the bed was dumb. Arguably.
The good news here is that you probaly haven’t seen this movie if you’re in the US, because it’s out of print on VHS and not on DVD. I actually watched an imported Russian dvd. Sorry Russia, we didn’t know you guys were gonna get stuck with this shit. We totally forgive you guys for killing Apollo Creed and all that. Please don’t take THURSDAY as an increase in hostilities.
I seriously hated this fucking movie. I have never seen a more blatant and squirm inducing Tarantino ripoff. I mean, who the fuck did this Skip Woods guy think he was fooling? He thought maybe people wouldn’t notice? After he got the dumb-man’s-Quentin-Tarantino thing out of his blood, though, obviously he went on to better things, and he will forever be known as the dude who wrote SWORDFISH, that one movie where I fast forwarded to the part with Halle Berry’s boobs.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.