If you remember recently I posted a video titled “Everything is a Remix” that showed a frame by frame comparison between Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill and some of the movies that inspired it. Recently an individual by the name of Mike White posted a comment on my blog that read “apparently you guys haven’t seen this.” along with a link to a film he produced called “Who Do You Think You’re Fooling?” This film was a frame by frame comparison between Tarantino’s breakout film “Reservoir Dog’s” and a film by Ringo Lam titled “City on Fire.” The similarities are amazing and leave little doubt as to where Tarantino found his “inspiration.” Judge for yourself.
As mentioned in my second “Everything is a Remix” post, taking something and making it yours is nothing new to art. However when the inspiration is obvious, not giving credit or acknowledging where one gets his or her ideas is at best in bad taste, and at worst downright illegal.
After watching “Who Do You Think You’re Fooling?” I checked out another video from Mike, this one an MTV news report on the controversial ban of Mike’s film from the New York Underground Film Festival. The MTV report ends with a Tarantino comment denying the plagiarism accusations and even going as far as saying that he would look forward to watching “City on Fire.” The MTV clip is followed with another side by side comparison with one of my all-time favorite movie scenes (the “Ezekiel 25:17″ scene), from my all time favorite film Pulp Fiction, which was eerily similar to the title crawl in the 1973 film ‘The Bodyguard’ starring Sonny Chiba.
One IMDB comment summed up this charade the best.
“Who do you think you’re fooling, QT? Yes, the teens who watch MTV News and haven’t seen “Who do you think you’re fooling?”. But anyone who did see Mike White’s short won’t believe you.”
Back in olden times before the Internet, it was more difficult to cross reference old films with new ones, so Tarantino took his chances. It seems that as time has passed and information became more readily available, more people got wise to Tarantino’s game. These days he readily reveals his sources and openly pays homage to genre films, even incorporating some of the stars from the movies that inspired him. However at the very beginning it seems that QT stole what he thought he could get away with. Well you know what Picasso said, “Good artist borrow, great artist steal.”