By Chris Paoli
When you team up Quentin Tarantino of “Reservoir Dogs,” “Pulp
Fiction” and Robert Rodriquez of “Sin City,” you know it won’t be a
movie to take your grandmother to.
This is definitely the case of their newest film, “Grindhouse,”
which is actually broken up into two movies paying homage to the
70s style of movie, where low production values and shoddy acting
style were compensated with shock violence and sexuality.
In Robert Rodriquez’s entry, “Planet Terror,” a biochemical
weapon is released on a sleepy town, resulting in the hideous and
violent transformations of the citizens. Featuring Bruce Willis,
Rose McGowen and Freddy Rodriguez, this story sets aside
conventional logic in the hopes of scaring and grossing out the
Rodriguez filled out the stereotypical role of the hardcore
hero, willing and able to tackle any task to save the last remnants
of humanity, with McGowen playing the sassy and sexy girlfriend,
equipped with a leg gun (just don’t ask how she is able to fire it
without pulling the trigger).
The movie even comes equipped with missing reels, jumping from
one point of the movie to another without any explanation. Don’t
worry, the story is not important and not always knowing what is
going on does not take away from the campy enjoyment audience
members will find in it. The action, violence and language are
non-stop, leaving you gasping for air at the intermission.
The second film, “Death Proof,” by Tarantino tells the story of
an aging stunt double, played by Kurt Russell, as he stalks and
kills young girls with his custom muscle cars. The plot slowly
unfolds as he tackles a new set of victims and then is ultimately
victimized by a group of women, featuring Rosario Dawson, who
decide to fight back.
The two movies are black and white in regards to pace, and in
some drawn-out, pointless conversations of Tarantino’s tale, it
almost feels like the film comes to a screeching halt.
The renowned director is known for mixing witty dialogue with
brutal violence, however, it feels like he came up a bit short in
his entry, siding with dialogue more than action. Although Russell
brings a lot of intensity and malice to his character, it is not
showcased nearly enough to be thrilling, even on a campy level.
My impression of the film might have been drastically different
if the two movies were switched, slowly building up to the insanity
of the zombie story.
However, in the order presented the film drags, which forced me
to look at my watch a couple of times.
In between the two movies were mock trailers in the “grindhouse”
format by directors Eli Roth of “Hostel,” Edgar Wright of “Shaun of
the Dead” and Rob Zombie of “House of 1000 Corpses.”
These trailers are humorous and cheesy, poking fun at horror
films of yesteryear. Each was drastically different, yet
entertaining, with Rob Zombie’s trailer “Werewolf Women of the
S.S.” featuring one of the most bizarre cameos by Nicholas
Overall, this movie is a great experience, packing a good amount
of content for a movie admission.
While one entry was far superior to the other, both paid tribute
to the low production movies of the past, while mixing in “A” list
However, a final word of warning must be given: not for the
squeamish or faint of heart.
Chris Paoli can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone at (909) 869-4713.
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