Reservoir Dogs (1992)

reservoir dogs poster 1992 movie
9.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 10/10

Amazing freshman movie for Quentin Tarantino

Some might want more flash and style similar to Tarantino's more recent films

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Reservoir Dogs

Studio:  LIVE America

Genre(s): Drama/Action/Adventure/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  October 23, 1992

MPAA Rating:  R


The “Dogs”

A botched diamond robbery has a group of criminals scrambling to find out what has happened.  Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) has been gut shot and Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) is trying to get him help.  Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) suspects that the whole operation was a set-up, and Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) is completely unbalanced.  Now, they much track the events leading up to the robbery to determine if they have a mole within their group.

Reservoir Dog was the premiere film of writer/director Quentin Tarantino.  The relatively small film was released to large praise and quickly became a sleeper hit which was further boosted by the success of Pulp Fiction in 1994.


This is bad mojo for not tipping!

Like many, when Pulp Fiction came out, I went for Reservoir Dogs.  Initially, I liked the flash and bigger feel of Pulp Fiction, but now I look back on Reservoir Dogs and see a smarter, better film.

Reservoir Dogs is different than a lot of Quentin Tarantino films (especially recent ones).  He seems to have more control over his attempts to be cool.  Sure, the script is loaded with pop culture and smart dialogue, but it seems to fit in the movie more (the Like a Virgin speech is a good example of this).  Critics also noted that the movie was very similar to Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing.

Part of why I think Reservoir Dogs does work is that Tarantino was working with a lot less (including a reputation).  First films often seem more inspired…probably because the director has thought of it his whole life.  The movie still contains a lot of what would become Tarantino’s trademark shots and writing.


So how much is tip?

Despite a limited backing, Reservoir Dogs scored with the cast…many of which also benefited from appearing in the film as part of the “Tarantino Effect”.  Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth make a good combo as partners who become friends (though Tim Roth sometimes sounds like Bobcat Goldthwait).  Michael Madsen plays a great psycho (whose character Vic Vega is meant to be the brother of John Travolta’s Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction).  Buscemi is great as the doubter and always plays a good weasel.  Lawrence Tierney is also fun as the gruff boss of the group (aptly described as the Fantastic Four’s Thing) and Chris Penn plays his slimy son “Nice Guy Eddie” with ease.  The whole movie has is peppered with narration from K-Billy (the DJ of Super Sounds of the Seventies) who is voiced by the fun monotone comedian Steven Wright.


Cue The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly theme music!

The movie continues to look slick.  The smaller budget means a much tighter filming location and Tarantino utilized the virtually one room warehouse nicely.  The movie in this aspect almost feels like a play (I think it would make a fun stage play).  Tarantino does a great job making some tense, tight moments at the end of the film.

Tarantino originally had more plans for Reservoir Dogs with a prequel involving the Vega Brothers.  With the passing time however, John Travolta and Michael Madsen have gotten too old to make this film…which is probably for the good.  Tarantino is up and down for me and watching Reservoir Dogs make me long for the days where Tarantino was king and at his best.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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