Trivia Features numerous cameos, including an appearance by horror director Eli Roth.
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Death Proof (2007)
14th Jan 08
Stuntman Mike has a cool car. Asides from the fact that it looks completely badass, Stuntman Mikeís car is Death Proof. Well, for the driver, anyway.
While this is good news for Stuntman Mike, itís bad news for the women who visit the bars Stuntman Mike trawls as he looks looks for victims.
Anyone who doesnít already know the legend of Grindhouse is unlikely to be reading this. To recap quickly, two of the most popular modern film-makers made horror b-movies to be released as a back-to-back two-for-one style movie, with fake trailers and all the trimmings.
The film had a massive buzz and received a good critical reception but hardly made a penny. The films were then split for release around the rest of the world and on DVD.
And so here we are, just a couple of weeks from the release of Quentin Tarantinoís Death Proof segment of Grindhouse. So much has already been said about the split that it seems unnecessary to comment any further. Letís just skip ahead to the more pressing issue: is it any good?
Yes it is. But itís not that good. For everything that Death Proof gets right, it gets something else wrong. For every fantastic Rose McGowan performance, thereís a Mary Elizabeth Winstead waiting for something to do. For every thrilling car chase, thereís an over-long dialogue scene which features unnecessary and vulgar name-dropping.
Perhaps the most disappointing thing about Death Proof is the dialogue, especially as Tarantino has previously written some of the most note-worthy dialogue of the last fifteen years.
Maybe itís because so much of the conversation goes on between the female characters. Only when the guys turn up does it really start to feel right (with the exception of the great scene between Rosario Dawson and Mary Elizabeth Winstead outside the convenience store). There are just too many scenes of people sitting around saying things that donít really work, which end up causing Death Proof to feel like itís plodding.
The other major complaint is regarding the villain, Stuntman Mike. In the first half of the film heís everything youíd want from a grizzled villain played by Kurt Russell. Itís just that, without wishing to give too much away, it turns out that heís a bit of a pussy.
Those complaints aside, thereís much about Death Proof to celebrate. The first thing worth mentioning is how fantastic this film looks. The scratched print really adds to the feel of this movie. The music, as with any Tarantino film, is exceptionally well chosen. The very first scene in particular looks and sounds absolutely stunning.
Many cast members also deserve a mention. Rose McGowen owns the first half of the movie despite limited screen time. In the second half, Rosario Dawson and Mary Elizabeth Winstead work hard to make up for their two annoying co-stars. Kurt Russell, as previously mentioned, is fantastic. Youíll also find some familiar faces popping up if you keep your eyes open.
The action, in particular the sequence at the half way mark, is fantastic. These segments of the film are superbly paced and were everything that the film had promised to be. In fact, the sequence at the halfway mark is perhaps too good, making it difficult for anything that follows to quite measure up.
To conclude, Death Proof is a frustrating film. Itís too long and too slow to get to the amazing action sequences. The problems are all things Tarantino can get right, and has done so in his other films. It seems that the problem with splitting Grindhouse is that these movies were made to be watched in a slightly shorter form, and back to back. On its own, this film doesnít quite work. And perhaps thatís where Death Proof pays its ultimate homage to the Grindhouse era: itís just not as good as the poster made it look.
Versions Extended version of the second half of Grindhouse.