Pulp Fiction on drugs

Shown is one of several promotional photos for Too Late, the movie on rottentomatoes.com.

Too Late
Written and Directed by Dennis Hauck
107 minutes
A movie review by Jovidel R. Tabuena

(WARNING: Some storylines may be discussed in detail.)

Pulp Fiction can’t help it.

For better or for worse, the iconic Tarantino opus is compared to practically every movie with a flashback, a flashforward, or any non-sequential narrative.

Too Late (Foe Killer Films, 2015) is no exception.

It is Pulp Fiction on tranquilizers.

Arguably slow and a tad melodramatic in a few parts, Too Late — just like Pulp Fiction — offers more than one plot twist. These storylines revolve around private detective Mel Samson (John Hawkes) and two strippers: Jilly Bean (Dichen Lachman), who becomes his ex-girlfriend, and Crystal Reed (Dorothy Mahler), who gets murdered after she and Samson establish a connection.

With fewer characters and substantially less gore, Too Late Has all the makings of a classic — cult and mainstream — even though a few elements seem indulgent and out of place.

Take the Mercadillac (portmanteau for Mercedes Benz and Cadillac).

While the bright green convertible with the large customized fin tails pushes the limits of tacky — even in Los Angeles, where the movie is set — it serves very little use, save for arousing curiosity to make the audience to see whether the car gets its own billing in the end credits. (It does.)

But then again, that automotive abomination may as well be the movie’s MacGuffin in the same way that the briefcase with its secret contents is for Pulp Fiction.

If anything, the car also becomes a temporary distraction in one final crucial encounter between Samson and his ex-girlfriend.

Not that anyone’s complaining.

After all, by the time the convertible makes a second, if unremarkable, appearance, Jilly is already set on spilling the beans, revealing loose ends about the photographs of a woman performing oral sex on Gordy Lyons (Robert Forster), the strip club owner and his possible involvement in Dorothy’s murder.

Tying all these together is of course the calm and collected protagonist-detective on the hunt for the killer.

Besides sleuthing skills, he is also handy with the guitar, singing a tune he himself composed, providing a performance that is both impressive and unexpected.

“What a mangled web we leave,” the detective later says, during a confrontation with the murder’s masterminds that is shortly followed by a bloodbath.

Suffice it to say that he might as well be talking about his short and dreary life as a detective.

But then again, that judgment is best left to viewers who will surely remember Too Late as something worth their time.

Jovidel R. Tabuena (@_ourdailybrad on Instagram) works part-time, reads books full-time, and is half-asleep most of the time.

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