After a botched heist, six hoods play a bloody game of truth or dare as the heat homes in on their warehouse hideaway. Director Quentin Tarantino’s debut may be the ultimate Boy Movie: It’s loaded with ultraviolence, wise-ass wit and poker-game bravado, and the lone female character is dead seconds after appearing. The carnage approaches jaded overkill — the notorious scene in which a hostage cop gets his ear sliced off is particularly gratuitous — but at least you can fast-forward past it on video. At bottom, Reservoir Dogs is saved by a deep respect for pulp fiction that extends to the casting of B-movie vet Lawrence Tierney as the gang’s Mr. Big. You may not like the terms Tarantino sets, but you have to admit he succeeds on them. B+

Reservoir Dogs
  • Movie
  • 99 minutes