Django Unchained: Tarantino puts the cool in old school ... again

Quentin Tarantino

(WACH) - As a huge Quentin Tarrantino fan, you should know I carry extreme bias toward his films. My True Romance with his work began in the early 90's and since then he's kept me up From Dusk til Dawn with his homage to Pulp Fiction novella and Grindhouse film genres. The heroes of his film's are usually Inglorious Bastards who are Natural Born Killers and typically Death Proof. He shows that hell hath no fury like an Uma scorned looking to Kill Bill, and when he needed to release the hounds we ended up running with a cool as ice pack of Reservoir Dogs.

That being said, my expectations are high, so the pressure's on Tarantino to live up to, well ... Tarantino. For those of you who are also warped enough to enjoy intelligent banter during an intensely violent, border-line believable, uber-choreographed action sequence set to a funky 70's groove, throw in a backdrop of Civil War meets Spaghetti Western, and you have Django Unchained.

Jamie Foxx plays a slave turned bounty hunter Django Freeman, who is out to rescue his wife, Broom Hilde portrayed gently by the beautiful Kerry Washington. Foxx lays his performance down low and slow, which creates room for Christoph Waltz to delight us as Dr. King Schultz. Part dentist, part bounty hunter, and just enough rascal to make you want to buy him a beer in the nearest saloon. Waltz has the ideal cadence to deliver Quentin-essential banter, and delivers each line with patience and purpose. He could have easily stolen the show were it not for the master performances given by both Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson.

Leo comes into the story as plantation owner Calvin Candie with Sam Jackson playing his longstanding butler, Stephen on a cotton plantation in Greenville known as "Candyland". Inside his mansion DiCaprio entertains himself as Mandingos fight to the death in the front parlor, and we instantly both love and loathe his character, which is something of a mix between Rhett Butler, Colonel Sanders and Attila the Hun. His scenes have the look of old Super 8 film and you can't resist his rat scallion charms even as he negotiates the value a human life. The only person who can keep him in line is the barely recognizable Sam Jackson as the crickety houseman who clearly loves and guides DiCaprio, but must ultimately obey his orders. Tarantino and Jackson go together like whiskey and tobacco, and although they have no scenes together in Django, the magic is clearly still alive. Tarantino offers his usual cameo as an Aussie gunslinger (with the worst accent I've ever heard), still... it gives hungry fans a taste of what we've been missing.

So, going back to my original point... did Django live up to the Tarantino hype with critical dialogue, oddly symbiotic relationships, gratuitous use of profanity, copious amounts of carnage and a climactic Mexican standoff...?


For those who just can't get enough, head on over to the film's website where you can track down outlaws and fill 'em full of lead in the interactive video game. There's also action figures available on Amazon, and of course... an app.

Watch the official trailer here.