Saturday, June 14, 2014

Rum Punch, by Elmore Leonard

(hb; 1992: sequel to The Switch)

From the inside flap:

"Jackie Burke's future looks grim.  She's been a flight attendant for twenty years and she's down to working for an island-hopping airline the day she lands at Palm Beach International with fifty grand and is taken into custody.  The Feds know Jackie works for a man who sells machine guns to bad guys, but they don't know his name.  Jackie looks at her options.  She can tell what she knows about Robbie Ordell, the gun dealer, and get off - except that if Ordell suspects you're talking about him, you're dead.  Or she can keep her mouth shut and do five years.  Then she meets Max Cherry - late fifties, recently separated, and just starting to think that maybe there's more to life than being a bail bondsman - and sees she has more option than she thought. . ."


Thirteen years after the events of The Switch, Ordell, Louis and Melanie are still doing their crime thing, though this time they aren't the only game in town.  As he did in that previous novel, Leonard uses his trademark waste-no-words plotting, character-based twists, and slick dialogue and action to create a sequel that furthers its source novel's excellence.  Worth owning, this.


The resulting film, Jackie Brown, was released stateside on December 25, 1997.  Quentin Tarantino scripted and directed it. 

Pam Grier played Jackie Brown (cinematic stand-in for Jackie Burke).  Samuel L. Jackson played Ordell Robbie.  Robert Forster played Max Cherry.  Robert DeNiro played Louis Gara.  Bridget Fonda played Melanie Ralston.  Michael Keaton played Ray Nicolette (a role he reprised in the 1998 film Out of Sight).

Tommy "Tiny" Lister (billed as Tim "Tiny" Lister) played Winston.  Chris Tucker played Beaumont Livingston.  LisaGay Hamilton played Sheronda.  Sid Haig played a "Judge".  An uncredited Denise Crosby played a "Public Defender".  An uncredited Quentin Tarantino provided an "Answering Machine Voice".

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