Death Proof

Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Kurt Russell, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Jordan Ladd
Director: Quentin Tarantino

We all know that Quentin Tarantino is a walking encyclopaedia of movie knowledge. One of his favourite genres is Grindhouse and it comes as no surprise to anyone that he owns a rather large collection of such movies. Thus the GRINDHOUSE double feature he did with Robert Rodriguez came about. What constitutes a Grindhouse movie? In a way it is an exploitation movie that is shot cheaply and usually features a range of nasty stuff such as sex, violence, drugs, rebellion, revenge and sometimes monsters. Some Grindhouse movies would even dare to feature all of the above. Due to its cheap production values, there would only be a handful of prints available to send to the movie houses. When the movie eventually made it to your local flea pit, there would quite likely be scratches on the print, colour dropping out, frames missing and sometimes even scenes missing.

When the GRINDHOUSE double feature was released earlier this year in the States, it flopped as it did not capture the audience’s imagination. The fact that you got two movies for the price of one – DEATH PROOF and Robert Rodriguez’s zombie flick PLANET TERROR – seems to have confused the movie going audience. Since there was not an intermission between the movies, other directors were asked to come up with faux trailers for upcoming Grindhouse type movies. Once they appeared on screen, some people thought that this marked the end of the movie going experience and promptly left the movie theatre. So with a poor showing in the States, the movies have been split into two for the international market. This was always the intention with both movies as there had already been a number of extra shots that were shot at the time but were taken out for THE GRINDHOUSE experience. But don’t worry, the colour drops and scratches are still there.

Austin’s hottest DJ, Jungle Julia (Sydney Tamiia Poitier) is planning a night out with some of her best friends. She picks up Shanna (Jordan Ladd) and Arlene (Vanessa Ferlito) and they all head over to Guero’s Mexican restaurant. They do not realise that a menacing looking car with a powerful engine is following them. The mysterious driver then follows them to their local bar where they hook up with Lanna Frank (Monica Staggs) and they start making plans to go up to the lake. The mysterious driver sits at the bar and introduces himself as Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) and he starts engaging conversation with the group of women. What the women don’t realise is that Stuntman Mike will make sure that the four women will not make it to their intended destination.

In keeping with traditional Grindhouse movies, the plot is thin and to reveal any more will spoil any remaining surprises. Yes, this is a dialogue heavy movie but as always, Tarantino makes even the dullest conversation sound interesting. Not only that, Tarantino has shot the movie in such a way that it looks like it is set in the 1970’s but with mobile phones appearing throughout the movie, you realise that everything is shot very brightly, compared with modern movies where they use lighting to create a mood. Other actresses that appear are Rosario Dawson and special note should be made to stuntwoman Zoë Bell who was Uma Thurman’s stunt double for the KILL BILL movies. Bell not only does her own stunts in DEATH PROOF, she makes it look fun, not that anyone should try to copy her. As mentioned, there are some movie type quirks that movie lovers will spot and watch out for some references to previous Tarantino movies. Remember to keep your seatbelts on and enjoy the ride.

5 out of 6 stars

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