This version serves well as an alternate version, in no way is it a proper replacement for the original because way too much good stuff was cut. In fact this edit, as it stands, very quickly moves to the [spoiler alert!] prison ending and to the riot escape which drags on and on just like the original. Don't get me wrong; the Tarantino style and music is a great mood change for a viewing but I would've much more enjoyed an edit that trims the riot ending and other smaller issues and therefore would work as a replacement for the original.
The video quality was decent at 6.5mbps, 1080p, last-gen codec. If the edit was better I would have wanted a more preservation-worthy bitrate.
Let's all hope QT keeps on writing scripts after his 10th and (supposedly) final film!
Furious edit of Stone’s Killers slices away all lulls, dream sequences, and moralizing. This is a blistering grinder of Tarantino’s original script (which I have not read) that hurtles ahead like the running of the bulls in Pamplona. thecuddlyninja’s version does not resemble a Stone film, nor one of Tarantino’s knockoffs. Instead, this reminds me of full bore Takashi Miike. I mean that as high praise.
Video - 720 video stream. Outstanding mix of black n white, distortion, inappropriate zooms, hard cuts, etc ... Many, many visual tricks and changes keep this film popping. Even what could have been mistakes work well and look amazing in a down n dirty, drive-in thrasher.
Audio - 2 channel, 192K AC3. Sound was very good, though suffered occasionally when original score was wiped. Dialogue not always clear. No subs.
I had a real problem with new song selection, which Neglify touched on. I dislike Tarantino, but still, every time I heard a familiar cue, I cross checked it in my memory. Reservoir Dogs - Kill Bill - Pulp Fiction - Death Proof - Pulp Fiction again ... It was distracting and yanked me straight out of cuddly’s edit, especially when I got stuck trying to recall which QT film the cue was from.
To my mind, it takes a certain amount of balls and chutzpah to reedit a film. I find it sad when a fan-editor shrinks back from displaying their own musical taste and knowledge, and instead apes Mr QT. Come on, be original with reconstruction. New tunes! That said, all of us have viewed fanedits and studio releases marred by unfortunate song selection. The line between cool and fool is a thin line. Tarantino’s idiosyncratic musical taste is easy to decipher, however. Blaxsploitation, 70s Nikkatsu, surf guitar, literally hundreds of selections are viable. If nothing else, ask fellow members for suggestions next time.
Narrative - With so much footage sheared, coherency suffers. Example: when Mickey is in Drug Zone we figure out he needs anti-snake medicine. How and when he was bitten ought to have shown. Another mystery: how did that Botango riot start? Throughout the story, I always knew what was occurring, but I think 5 minutes of bits here and there would have clarified any confusion caused by wholesale cutting.
Enjoyment - I had to think about this. I enjoyed, still enjoy, and rewatch Natural Born Killers every couple of years. cuddlyninja has studied QT’s script (Director Tarantino I view as borderline plagiarist, by the way, with few original ideas) and given NBK the Swisha House treatment - chopped and screwed - to remarkable effect. This is a delicious, in many ways authentic, companion to the original. In another world, I could envision this being included in the DVD box as the “storyboard print.”
Recommend this? Absolutely. This is pedal down, all the way.
(NOTE: The editor has fixed the editing issues I've brought up, but I haven't watched the new version. Some of my criticisms and scores may not reflect the current version.)
I am a huge Tarantino fan. I could say a lot about his movies, but we don’t need that. What I’ll say is I decided to read the script as I watched the edit, and not just a PDF I got off a popular site, the Faber & Faber book I bought (and read) years ago.
A/V Quality – 10.
Great work. No complaints, I know what working with deleted scenes is like, and the lower quality fits the style.
Visual Editing – 7.
No big complaints, just nitpicks. Amazing how many shots you were able to remove without it looking like a hacked up mess (Stone already did that).
Audio Editing – 7.
A few rough volume shifts here and there for new songs, some bad audio cuts, but pretty solid overall. (See scene specific notes)
Narrative – 10.
Except for some criticisms I give below, this was incredibly well executed in terms of following the narrative Tarantino wrote. Of course nobody would ever be able to make a 1:1 faithful line-for-line re-edit of the script, and that’s not the point. This is a fabulous look at a “Could Have Been” movie.
The most fascinating thing about this version of the story is how loud & clear Tarantino’s original concept was, a psychotic satire about the media frenzy caused by a pair of spree killers. While I’m not going to bother arguing who’s vision was better, Oliver Stone or Quentin Tarantino, it’s unquestionable this is a different beast. It’s not the “Hyper-Edited Badlands on Acid” movie anymore.
Narratively speaking, the plot is paper thing (and I’m talking about the script) and there’s little character development. That is something I think Stone did well in his rewrites, but I can see where QT was trying to go with it.
Enjoyment – 8.
Overall this was a great rewatch and a decent fanedit! With some more technical polish this could be a real gem.
My main negative view… There was too much reliance on songs already used in Tarantino films. I had the same criticism for njvc’s “Pulp Empire” and I may have been in the minority for that one. But personally speaking, I would have remixed it with the intention, “If QT really did direct this, what music might have he chosen?” There are a million and one great pop/rock songs from the same genres he loves that he hasn’t used, and it could have made this even more unique if it had an “original” soundtrack. Again, this is an opinion and YMMV.
I will say though, the songs you selected were badass and the majority fit perfectly. And this makes a nice double-feature companion to “True Romance – The Tarantino Cut”.
Scene Specific Criticisms. [SPOILERS!]
The opening Wayne Gale montage and Mickey & Mallory capture sequence was nicely edited, but it should have taken place after the opening scene in the diner, where the script indicates “Credit Sequence.” Putting the credits before the diner scene is incorrect, if the intention is to follow the script.
(Nitpick.) I understand why you did it, but personally I didn’t care for the “Miramax Films Presents… A Band Apart… by Quentin Tarantino” credits. Those companies didn’t produce this film and it’s a lie to say this is “by QT”.
Script has Mallory singing “Long Time Woman” while she’s in her cell at the beginning. Stone didn’t do this, but it would have been a nice touch to put that song somewhere. Yes QT used it in Jackie Brown and you could say I’m contradicting myself, but that’s one he specifically wrote down.
Technically, the Hun Brothers interview comes before the Reinghold interview and the montage of foreigners. But, that whole portion of the script is very sloppy and it no doubt would have been re-ordered in the editing room, even if he shot everything word-for-word, and I think you placed it nicely. (But nitpick, I would have cut the fade to black, I hate how deleted scenes do that shit.)
There’s some pretty bad audio editing in the court-room deleted scene. Everything is too quiet, music should have swelled louder when he stabbed her, etc.
Oops, flash frame around 27:39, a color frame in between B&W shots. Oof, some bad audio cuts immediately after that as well.
Bullwinkle Pt 2 was put on a loop for way too long.
I’m undecided on if I like that you kept McClusky’s severed head. It’s not in the script, in fact he writes the opposite of the grisly violence that was filmed. “Freeze frame: As Mickey and Mallory start firing, a la Butch and Sundance. We hear the gunfire and screams of a small war. FADE TO BLACK. EXT. WOODS – DAY…”
But… in QT’s script McClusky disappears early on and the Deputy Warden Wurlitzer has a beefier role. McClusky in the final movie is essentially those two guys combined, so since it’s already uncontrollably different it makes sense to end with that climatic moment.
Some awkward edits in the final confrontation with Wayne.