- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 5, 2002

Here's a look at some hardware and software that's available: Pulp Fiction: Collector's Edition, by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Rated R (as in "really not for anyone under the age of 17"), for DVD-enabled home entertainment centers and computers, $29.99. Quentin Tarantino's disturbingly delightful 1994 Oscar-winning movie gets an amazing digital-video-disc tribute in this colorful two-disc set.
The shocking film, touting the seedier side of popular culture, follows the intertwined lives of a mob boss, a pair of hit men and a boxer as they live and die in a very disjointed Los Angeles. The critically acclaimed blockbuster, which stars John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson, features the hippest of music and turned Mr. Tarantino into a major player in Hollywood.
The first disc presents the 154-minute film in all of its bloody and comically dark glory and offers an excellent range of computer-accessible features if users can get them to work.
I suggest a quick prayer to the system software compatibility gods before popping the disc into the PC. After about 15 minutes of crashing, restarting, sweating and fist-pounding, the menu appeared, accompanied by Dick Dale's ultracool tune "Misirlou," and film images checkered around the screen.
Besides enjoying a difficult Jack Rabbit Slim's Trivia Challenge (with categories such as Quotes, Characters and Details), a load of text-based articles, a way to record a voice-over on select scenes (good luck getting that to work) and the ability to read the original script next to the movie, I loved the enhanced playback option.
This slick resource streams an incredible amount of information about the film, principal actors and music under the movie as it plays. For example, viewers learn that Mr. Tarantino picks 60 percent of the music for a project even before he begins writing its script, and they are treated to a quick biography on actress Amanda Plummer's father, Christopher.
A photo also may appear in the left-hand corner of the menu, or a "10 Cents More" tab may pop up. When the tab is clicked, the movie stops, and a window pops up and further embellishes the text.
This enhanced playback option also works on entertainment center players but is nowhere near as impressive, as it is reduced to mere subtitles rather than an interactive experience.
The second disc is a celebration of the film and Mr. Tarantino, with highlights including Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert discussing the "Tarantino Generation"; Charlie Rose interviewing the creator; Cannes Film festival coverage; five deleted scenes with the director candidly explaining why they were cut; and two "behind the scenes" montages, including the cool dance sequence in which Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace slink to the sounds of Chuck Berry. A 16-page color booklet and minimenu from Jack Rabbit Slim's rounds out the packaging of this "Pulp" love fest.
As carefully crafted for the computer user as the film lover, the collector's edition of "Pulp Fiction" gives another reason to take part in the DVD revolution.

Endgame by Empire Interactive, for PlayStation 2, rated Rated T: content suitable for ages 13 and older, $49.99. While we're on the topic of random shooting and the desensitization of America to violence, here comes a first-person shooter that demands that players pick up a weapon and blast just about anything in the line of fire.
Using a light-gun peripheral, such as Softair's Desert Eagle ($29.99), the player assumes the role of Jade and travels around the world to stop a conspiracy dealing with virtual reality and the guy of her dreams.
Regardless of the story, the player's objective is to point a plastic gun at the television screen and mow down well-armed humans. Thankfully, Endgame features no blood, but it still features plenty of moans and groans as the slaughter is spread out over 20 locations.
Stable adults may find this type of video game a release from the pressures of everyday life, but I never was thrilled with partaking in this type of virtual violence. Considering the number tragedies involving teenagers using guns over the years, parents can find a million better ways to spend $80 on their precious offspring.

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