Many of you know Quentin Tarantino for his wonderfully creative and graphic movies such as Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, and Inglorious Bastards, all of which I would say are amazing films that truly entice and please the appetite of so many for gore, violence, and imaginative story-telling. But did you know that Tarantino could make a movie that completely flopped? Welp, he did, and it is Death Proof.
Riley and I love our fair share of great horror movies, but we also indulge in the not-so-great horror movies that are so terribly done they prove to be better than some modern day comedies. So, with this in mind, a movie by lead directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino that was purposely created to be similar to the previously mentioned horror-comedy movies has to be good, right? Well, this is somewhat true, since it is a double feature that the directors collaborated on called Grind House. This double feature is a wonderful duo of movies that are set to look as if they were shown in an 80’s drive in theater. The first movie was called Planet Terror, which was absolutely amazing.
Planet Terror was the story of a young woman who had a troubled past and lost her leg in a freak accident during her covert work. She has a lover who comes back into her life midway through the movie, and plenty of corny romance lines too. Along the way she meets several other characters who all help to fend off a zombie horde created by the villains, played by Quentin Tarantino and Bruce Willis, which results in a gloriously gorey and over the top climax including the explosions of buildings and zombie heads alike. The gore was fantastic, the special effects were incredible, and the weapon of choice for the character was excessively awesome. A good portion of these explosions and action sequences were started by the M-16 the main character had for a peg leg. If you don’t get the idea of how this movie was with that hint, I don’t know how else to describe it. After this movie, the double feature went to series of corny and hysterical fake movie trailers. One of which was titled “Thanksgiving: come hungry, leave stuffed”, in which a slasher goes to wreak havoc on a family during their thanksgiving feast. Throughout Planet Terror and the trailers that preceded and followed the movie, Riley and I were rolling in laughter, but the second movie was such a bust and we were disappointed.
I do realize that it would take a lot of cinematic genius to measure up to the stupendous first film of this double feature, but Deathproof did much worse than we anticipated. The plot for this film was interesting at first glance; a psychopath, played by Kurt Russel, would take women for rides in his restored and souped up 1970 Chevy Nova, then crash it or drive so recklessly that his passenger would die. Sadly, this plot did not hold up well.
The movie started out so slow, it was literally thirty minutes of girls talking at a bar about nothing that had to do with the story line. After this long thirty minutes of dialogue, there was a very impressive and visually stunning crash scene which got the hopes of Riley and I back up from the previous death by dialogue in this movie. Sadly, this amazing crash scene was followed by another thirty minutes of dialogue by four unsavory and unlikable women who simply rambled about their daily lives without any contribution to the plot of the movie… Our hopes were dashed. The next part of this movie was a chase scene with some beautiful restored cars, but this took way too long as the car scene alone took another twenty minute time span with no deaths, no explosions, and no major destruction of anything. At the end of the movie, when the villain is finally apprehended by the unpleasant group, he just gets punched to death by the four. Yes, there was some blood, but barely any, and you were left wondering if he was actually killed or if he was just knocked unconscious. No, I am not one that requires the death of a character, but if you are going to do away with a member of the cast on screen, why not make it spectacular? Tarantino usually makes the deaths in his movies over the top and amazing, but this scene did not feel at all like a Tarantino movie.
Overall, the double feature would be worth the buy just for Planet Terror and the trailers that precede and follow it, but Death Proof gets a strong thumbs down from Riley and myself despite our deep appreciation for Tarantino’s films.