It took an adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel, of all things, to finally squeeze some humanity into the work of Quentin Tarantino, and the result is a movie far richer – if not quite as breathlessly entertaining – than Pulp Fiction. This riff on the blaxploitation genre, about a seen-it-all flight attendant (Pam Grier) and a soulful bailsman (Robert Forster) who get caught between the law and a small-time arms dealer, has all of Tarantino’s trademarks – bickering banter, delectable and underappreciated pop music, ingeniously staged set pieces. Yet they exist not as showy stylistic devices but to serve the two main characters, who tentatively enter into something rarely seen at the movies: a mature, restrained romance. Even the violence here, for the first time, works as more than a sadistic punch line; it actually carries a sense of consequence. This is considered “Tarantino-lite” only because it directly followed Pulp Fiction. The truth is he never matched Jackie Brown before it or, sadly, since. With Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton and Chris Tucker.