Review written on: April 8th, 2007

Grindhouse Review

In this nod to 1970s exploitation films, two spectacular directors collaborate once again to bring the forgotten double feature tradition back to the masses! They both have action, horror, and definitely some comedic elements. It’s a virtual smorgasbord of film! Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino have done it again!

Now before you even begin watching the two films, there are a few surprises! Plenty of familiar faces from the Rodriguez and Tarantino universe appear in both films (welcome back, Sheriff McGraw!), and by way of some other up-and-coming directors, there are some extremely funny faux movie trailers throughout!

First up: “Planet Terror”! Directed by Rodriguez, this is an homage to the classic horror movies we’ve all grown up with. Now, the main story is some biochemical viral disease is affecting the general population of Austin, Texas. Meanwhile, Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan) is a go-go dancer who quits the life and goes off to find where she belongs. She meets up with former boyfriend, El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez) and they go off together, possibly to start over. As luck would have it, the virus that is infecting the public turns them into gory, dripping, flesh-eating zombies. Yum! Now, after El Wray’s truck gets turned over, these same zombies sever Cherry’s leg.

In a separate plot line, the definitely unhappily married Doctors Block (Josh Brolin and Marley Shelton) work at the hospital where more and more infected people come in, and Cherry is admitted after her attack. Now, William Block suspects that his wife, Dakota, has resumed her lesbian affair with a woman named Tammy (Stacy Ferguson), and does not take too well to that news.

So, the zombies are closing in, and the group of misfits that have to go up against them include Cherry, El Wray, Dakota, a barbeque restauranteur (Jeff Fahey), his brother, who is the local sheriff (Michael Biehn); a biochemical expert (Naveen Andrews) ; and many more! But, as you can see, the bulk of it is left up to Cherry, who has a spiffy semi-automatic weapon as a prosthetic leg!

After a couple more hilarious faux movie trailers, it’s on to feature #2, “Death Proof”! It’s Tarantino’s turn in the director’s chair, and his feature is just as action-packed as the first! Three local girls (Sydney Poitier, Jordan Ladd, Vanessa Ferlito) go into Austin for a night of partying. As they get their drink on, an interesting older man (Kurt Russell) strikes up a conversation with a pretty young blonde (Rose McGowan). Stuntman Mike claims to have been the stunt talent in many old television shows, which doesn’t exactly impress all the ladies he meets.

The bad news? Stuntman Mike is a complete nut job who likes to stalk and kill his female victims by way of his souped-up muscle car, which he claims is “death proof”: what was presumably done to vehicles to allow the stunt driver to portray amazing crashes, while still staying healthy and alive.

Cut to a new group of ladies who work in the film industry and they have a few days off. Zoe Bell (who was Uma Thurman?s phenomenal stunt double in both Kill Bill films) has left the Southern Hemisphere and has joined her three friends (Rosario Dawson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Tracie Thoms) for a mini road trip. What these ladies didn?t bank on was a run-in with our old pal, Stuntman Mike!

Naturally each movie was meant to be a stand alone feature, hence the three hour plus running time. However the crossovers of actors and characters really tied the two together. True to form, each film combined many different genres and storylines, but they were interwoven so intricately, you were definitely not confused! Personally, I was partial to “Death Proof” out of the two, but that’s just me. As always, they delivered the goods! No complaints from this reviewer! Nothing but compliments!


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