Filmsite Movie Review 100 Greatest Films
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Pages: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
Plot Synopsis (continued)

Prelude to "Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace's Wife"

In a memorable entrance of two professional hit men on their way to a job at about 7 am in the morning, passenger Vincent Vega (John Travolta) constantly banters to his curly Afro-haired partner Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) [a nod to blaxploitation films of the 1970s] as they drive along in a light green '74 Chevrolet Nova in Hollywood. Both are dressed stereotypically, with cheap but dapper thrift store suits, white shirts, and slim black ties.

Their smart-mouthed, small-talk conversations ranges from the borderline legality of hash in Amsterdam (where Vincent had recently been for three years), to cheeseburgers and their names in France.

- "Do you know what they call a - a - a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris?"
- "They don't call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?"
- "No man, they got the metric system. They wouldn't know what the f--k a Quarter Pounder is."
- "Then what do they call it?"
- "They call it a 'Royale' with cheese."
- "A 'Royale' with cheese!"
- "That's right."
- "What do they call a Big Mac?"
- "A Big Mac's a Big Mac, but they call it 'Le Big Mac.'"
- "'Le Big Mac!'"
- "Ha, ha, ha."
- "What do they call a 'Whopper'?"
- "I dunno, I didn't go into Burger King."

The two contracted hitmen-killers have been given a routine assignment by their gangster boss Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) - to pick up a mysterious briefcase, from someone among a group of four or five guys. In their nefarious business, they are obviously readied for a hit. They open the trunk of the car and take out two .45 automatic weapons and load them. Vincent complains that they an't sure how many hits they will encounter: "We should have f--kin' shotguns."

They walk through the courtyard of the Hollywood apartment, continuing to speak about the personal nature and eroticism of foot massages, and then go up an elevator and into a hallway. Vincent claims that Marsellus became homicidally jealous when his new bride Mia (Uma Thurman) was given a foot massage by Vincent's predecessor, half-black and half-Samoan Antwone (or Tony Rocky Horror). Their hoodlum friend Tony was thrown off a fourth-floor balcony into a glass-covered greenhouse, resulting in a permanent speech impediment. They argue over whether he deserved to die:

Vincent: It's layin' your hands in a familiar way on Marsellus' new wife. I mean, is it as bad as eatin' her pussy out? No, but it's the same f--kin' ballpark.
Jules: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, stop right there. Eatin' a bitch out, and givin' a bitch a foot massage ain't even the same f--kin' thing.
Vincent: It's not. It's the same ballpark.
Jules: Ain't no f--kin' ballpark neither. Now look, maybe your method of massage differs from mine, but, you know, touchin' his wife's feet and stickin' your tongue in her Holiest of Holies ain't the same f--kin' ballpark; it ain't the same league; it ain't even the same f--kin' sport. Look, foot massages don't mean s--t...

Jules: Now look, just 'cause I wouldn't give no man a foot massage don't make it right for Marsellus to throw Antwone off a building into a glass motherf--kin' house, f--kin' up the way the nigger talks. That s--t ain't right. Motherf--ker do that s--t to me, he better paralyze my ass, 'cause I'd kill the motherf--ker, you know what I'm sayin'?
Vincent: I ain't sayin' it's right. But you're sayin' a foot massage don't mean nothin', and I'm sayin' it does. Now look, I've given a million ladies a million foot massages, and they all meant somethin'. We act like they don't, but they do, and that's what's so f--kin' cool about 'em. There's a sensuous thing goin' on where, where you know, you don't talk about it, but you know it, she knows it, f--kin' Marsellus knew it, and Antwone should have f--kin' better known better. I mean, that's his f--kin' wife, man. He ain't gonna have no sense of humor about this s--t. You know what I'm sayin'?

Jules asks why Vincent is so interested in the "big man's wife?" Vincent explains how Marsellus was leaving for Florida, and in his absence, he has been asked to take care of Mia. He is nervous about the assignment, which included possibly going out on a friendly date ("show her a good time").

Before entering the apartment, Jules says: "Let's get into character." They bust in and find three young guys, black Marvin (Phil LaMarr), blonde surfer Roger (Burr Steers) with a "flock of seagulls" haircut resting on the sofa, and smart preppy Brett (Frank Whaley) at the table. The three are ready to eat breakfast, composed of hamburgers ("the cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast") and French fries from the local "Big Kahuna" Hawaiian burger joint. Jules proposes to sample the "tasty" burger and the Sprite soft drink. Roger divulges where the stolen object, a black snap briefcase ("the s--t") is hidden - in a kitchen cupboard. Vincent opens it with a "666" combination, and it emanates an unusual orangish glow. Jules nonchalantly shoots Roger in the chest (Body Count #1), then savagely asks questions of the terrified Brett sitting at the table who can't talk his way out of his dilemma, about his betrayal of his business partner Marsellus.

To a trembling and spasming Brett who is shot in the right shoulder, Jules Winnfield delivers his oft-repeated Old Testament Bible quote, as he is about to be executed. He speaks like an avenging angel delivering a retributive sermon. [Note: Much of the Ezekiel speech was falsely attributed to the Bible. The borrowed words were taken from Japanese martial arts actor Sonny Chiba's recitation in The Bodyguard (1973, released in US in 1976) (aka Karate Kiba).]:

You read the Bible, Brett?...Well, there's this passage I got memorized. Sort of fits this occasion. Ezekiel 25:17. 'The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know My name is the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon thee!'

Both Jules and Vincent savagely empty their guns into Brett (Body Count #2). Marvin is left collapsed, crouched and whimpering in the corner of the room.

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