Extra Pulp is, essentially, an amateur film. But it's an amateur film that shows a good deal of potential in its cast and crew to break on through to the next level or three with the right cards played right. Extra Pulp is obviously influenced by similar, and bigger films in its genre, especially Pulp Fiction. Like Pulp Fiction, this film begins with a definition of "Pulp", more specifically, the filmmakers' definition of what a "Pulp Film" is and was. From the very beginning, Extra Pulp delights in its self-aware celebration of "Le Bad" cinema, gleefully high-fiving itself through geysers of blood mock-comic sadism, profanity, racial slurs, simulated sex, violence, guns, fast cars and all kinds of "down with the sickness" elements.
First of all, especially for an early film of this kind, this is not a "Bad" movie. It's almost impossible not to compare Extra Pulp to intentionally evocative nostalgic tribute films like Kill Bill, Desperado, Grindhouse and, of course, Pulp Fiction. While there are elements of this kind of film herein (especially its namesake), it's refreshing to note that this never truly feels like a "rip off" of other movies. And while comparison to these films isn't really fair to Dalton Pictures, it should be noted that while Extra Pulp certainly isn't in the exact same league as these films, Dalton Pictures is also no Miramax with Disney Bucks behind them. In fact, according to director/ producer/ writer/ star/ jack-of-all-grips Jerry Dalton, Extra Pulp was filmed on a budget of Five Thousand Dollars... including, he says, the music rights. Five Grand.
What did that 5K buy him? The list of things that Extra Pulp has going for it includes a very self-aware attitude, an irreverent throw-back style, a load of beautiful women, some inventive gore effects and the occasional fantastic shot. It's also got nudity.
Just a second here folks... I'd like to thank Jerry Dalton (not to mention Gina Rose as naked Kiki) for not only including some excellent nudity, but for managing to make it happen on a shoestring (or is that g-string???) budget.
On the flip side of this coin, EP is overly ambitious. The fact that it succeeds at this much of its ambition on 5 G's is noteworthy, to say the least, but it still aims a little high for its ammo.
Extra Pulp, like many in its genre, is a series of interconnected vignettes, separated by white-on-black title cards with ironically humorous one-liners about the chapters you're about to see. The main focus here is a cold-as-ice, seemingly invincible hitman named Jimmy (Jerry Dalton his damned self) and his exploits across Birmingham, Alabama... either with a super-hot and nearly naked assistant (Jennifer Lynn's French Vanilla), or a not-nearly-as-hot and thankfully fully clothed Southern-Sopranos partner (Glenn Faulkenberry's Sol).
Meanwhile, over in South Carolina, there's a violent gang of incredibly hot women led by Sheena Cole's Sabrina running protection, extortion and kidnapping rackets all over the gosh darned place, kind of like Microsoft does with upstart software companies that Apple doesn't get to first. Dalton eliminates any question about how bad these bad girls can get just as quickly as he established Jimmy-boy as the darkest thing behind Ray-Bans in the vicinity of the Crimson Tide!
Amid the chaos lies the linking thread, which is an El Segundo, cheaper-than-cheap, "I'll Buy That For A Dollar"-like gameshow (it's filmed in a storage locker) called "Million Bucks"... on which no one has ever won the million bucks. Assuming they've got it, that is.
At first each segment feels like a compartmentalized sketch, as separate from the next one as Madonna is from the Madonna. However, as we approach Jimmy's "last big job before retirement", it becomes clear as mountain spring wa-wa that these two groups are heading for one hell of a collision. Enter Kimber Leone's Nicki (do I need to mention that she too is really quite hot? Well she is.)! Nicki is a "Hitchick" so bad-ass that she just might be a match for Jimmy himself. They call her the "Necktie" due to her penchant for offing motherfuckers with piano wire necklaces.
But will Nicki's loose-cannon ways be an asset or a liability to Jimmy as he ponders career change?
It's more than worth staying around to find out.
If nothing else, just about every female castmember is beautiful. How did he manage that? Well, Jerry Dalton is a professional photographer in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina... so it's safe to say he knows some Models! In that Jerry Dalton is a professional photographer he's able to overcome his budget and make a very good looking movie, and not only in his appreciation of his female subjects. Not surprisingly, Extra Pulp is at its best when it relies strictly on visuals, foregoing the dialogue in favor of music and beauty. You know that famed death scene in The Godfather where the music swells as ol' Sonny is filled with squibs? There are a few of those scenes in Extra Pulp, and they look (and sound) great... be it a rapid-fire gunfight or a slow and sexy sharing of cocaine on a lovely lady's flat tummy, these are the moments that show what Dalton's got in him!
At other times the dialogue (and sound design) does get in the way here and there. Dalton has created some fine one-liners and cool exchanges, however sometimes it goes a bit too far and takes a bit too long to get to hits varied pinnacles. That, coupled with more racial slurs than Jackie Brown (not to mention a certain "black-face" scene) makes for a (possibly intentional) uncomfortable viewing experience. Further, and I want to be very careful and clear here, there are some issues in the acting. None of the actors are "bad" by any means, however there are moments that feel rushed or unrehearsed, rolling toward a slightly community theatre feel.
Dalton's directing style alternates between primarily still shots to quick-cut pick-ups with little transition, making for a bit of an inconsistent feel. Then again, Dalton's opening "Definition" along with Darcy Carr's Blood Simple-like introduction plainly lays out what he's shooting for from a Genre perspective. Like many of Tarantino's flicks (and others, of course) Dalton has placed himself inside a certain genre and embraced both the good and the bad that said Genre has to offer. The gory moments have a realistic, almost Italian Horror feel to them, which could excite the indie fan and incite the nausea of the uninitiated. There's a negative depravity written all over this movie that allows for plenty of use of those gore effects. Trust me, this is neither for the squeamish or those wanting an easy ride. This is one dark, black comedy.
Clearly Extra Pulp is Pulp and Grindhouse fare hitting screens over 20 years after the hey day of the genre. Even with the film's flaws and unintentionally rough elements, this statement of intent never feels like an excuse. Nor does the declared budget of Five Thousand Dollars. What has translated from imagination to DVD may not be a "great movie", but it does exceed what most filmmakers (particularly independent filmmakers) would be able to do with 5K! It also shows what Jerry Dalton can do now and will do in the future.
Two and One Half Stars out of Five for Extra Pulp. It's an admirable start, with room for improvement... and the extra mile. Did Jerry Dalton HAVE to cast 95% of his female roles with beautiful women? No... he's just that nice a guy. Did he HAVE to include some fantastic nudity in his low-budget flick? No... he's just that nice a guy. Did he HAVE to make sure the DVD menu danced over a slow head-to-toe pan over Jennifer Lynn's lovely body? N- Uh... Wait... Yeah, that I'd go with him HAVING to do! (Thanks, Jer'). Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to pack my things and do a little "Wagons East" action. Hey, I live in Orange County, California, but I'll be damned if Myrtle Beach isn't calling my name. The ladies there are to die for... and after watching this flick... I'm pretty sure that's a literal statement.