Split Levels

As neo-caveman Romulus Ledbetter, Samuel L. Jackson gets to play crazy

Ann Magnuson and Samuel L. Jackson in the thriller The Caveman's Valentine, an ambitious but disappointing pastiche of too many predecessors.
Ann Magnuson and Samuel L. Jackson in the thriller The Caveman's Valentine, an ambitious but disappointing pastiche of too many predecessors.

The Caveman's Valentine deserves an A for ambition, but the final product is a pastiche of too many predecessors, from Wim Wenders' well-intentioned misfire The End of Violence, to Terry Gilliam's The Fisher King, to just about every recent film from Oliver Stone. There's a fairly gratuitous sex scene to hold our interest and to prove that, as Romulus' dead wife puts it, "some white girls'll fuck any kind of black man." And for anyone who's ever fantasized about Samuel L. Jackson, there's a split-second shot that leaves nothing to the imagination. Hall and Feore give entertaining performances, and Jackson gets to live out the Method actor's dream of playing a crazy person. Given his track record as a tough guy, however, and his height, it's a bit of a stretch to think that he'd be cowed into submission by the likes of the puny adversaries herein.

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