Don’t get me wrong; I love a good Quentin Tarantino movie, but I was under the impression people stopped ripping him off sometime around Jackie Brown. I was wrong. 60 Frames’ new series, Infamous, seems to be stuck in the late ‘90s when Tarantino imposters were still running amok. Starring AJ Wedding (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Craig Bonacorsi (Medium), Infamous is about Tom and Anthony — two out of work actors in LA. Like most unemployed thespians, they have a day job to make ends meet. Only instead of serving soy lattes, they pump people full of lead. They are hitmen. Wedding and Bonacorsi, along with Pharaba Witt, created the show, based on their own experiences and conversations as struggling actors (I was not able to find any evidence of them being assassins). The first two chapters, directed by John Asher (aka Mr. Jenny McCarthy), are currently available on the show’s website; subsequent installments will be released every Thursday.
Infamous starts out strong with Episode 1: “Hookers and Guns.” Although the dialogue is too post-modern for its own good – the characters discuss whether fat Jon Favreau is more talented than skinny Jon Favreau (I prefer Swingers and Made-era Favreau, myself) – the premiere episode allows the show to develop its concept and characters. When Tom complains about an acting class, Anthony suggests he use their next hit to strengthen his talent; improvise a bit. Their zebra robed target – an actor himself — is happy to assist with Tom’s exercise.
During the second episode, “Iceman/Maverick,” Infamous starts to lose its footing. The opening borrows liberally from Pulp Fiction, with a blood and expletive soaked argument between the friends as they stand over a fresh kill. As a result, the guys show up late to a meeting, where their short-tempered boss, Wayne, is berating their rival, codenamed “Jack” (Dexter’s Sam Witwer). Especially noteworthy are Jack’s goofy facial expressions, if you’re into that sort of thing. I know I am. Unhappy with his alias, Tom requests a change from “Goose” to “Iceman,” to complement Anthony’s “Maverick.” Why not just call them Jules and Vincent? Too blatant? While the two discuss Top Gun in an exchange cribbed from Tarantino’s Sleep With Me monologue, Wayne beats a co-worker who interrupted his phone call.
As the credits don’t list any writers, I’m assuming Infamous is improvised. It may serve these guys well to pound out a script instead of studying Pulp Fiction the night before. Rather than using cool elements from other movies and trying to be hip, Wedding and Bonacorsi should allow their show to find its own groove. Hopefully, Infamous will pick up in the next few episodes. The show’s concept is fresh and has a lot of potential. The creators need to focus more on the execution and pump the breaks on the pop culture banter.