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Death Proof

A crash course in revenge
Death Proof
Austin's hottest DJ, Jungle Julia, sets out into the night to unwind with her two friends Shanna and Arlene. Covertly tracking their moves is Stuntman Mike, a scarred rebel leering from behind the wheel of his muscle car, revving just feet away.
Title Death Proof
Release Date 2007-05-21
Genres Action Thriller
Production Companies Troublemaker Studios, The Weinstein Company, Dimension Films, Rodriguez International Pictures
Production Countries United States of America


My least favourite Tarantino film by a mile but still solid and great fun. I seriously hope he abandons his wish to only do two more films (after his recent 'The Hateful Eight') and then retire, but chacun son gout, as the French would say, and everyone should be able to do whatever they want as long as they don't hurt anyone else, right? And if anyone of recent vintage (the past 25 years) deserves that, it's Tarantino, I suppose, but still, I hope he's lying.
I am apparently one of the few who saw "Grindhouse" when it came to town. Great, grisly fun in the theater on the big-screen. A double-feature complete w/ fictional "previews," several of which became feature films themselves ("Machete," and "Hobo with a Shotgun," which wasn't one of the previews shown in my hometown.) But then the dumb decision was made to split the two features into separate, longer ones. Bye, bye fun previews (except on YouTube.) Hello, longer films that were just the right length in the theater. "Death Proof" especially suffers from extra-padding and more of Tarantino's blah-blah-blah dialogue. Instead of a breezy film about a whack-job who gets his jollies terrorizing women in his souped-up stunt-car rides, we get a talky film w/ action scenes that take forever to get going. And when they do, they're too easy to pick apart and criticize. Stuntman Mike dispatches four young women w/ the first vehicle were shown (having already murdered his unwilling ride-hitching companion) and the Police decide to speculate on his intentions, vs. trying to prove them. Some justice system in Texas. Later (or perhaps earlier; some viewers feel the 2nd 1/2 of the film actually takes place before the opinion I don't agree with) Stuntman Mike goes after three women taking a joy-ride while re-enacting a particular hood-riding stunt. After a few minutes of bumper tag, he is shot by the sudden appearance of a revolver (which was where during the chase...taking a nap?) At this point Psycho Mike becomes Blubbery Mike and somehow is caught up w/ after he'd taken off in a great hurry; apparently they equipped certain 70's muscle cars w/ GPS's sent back from the present. I can't explain why, but in the theater "Death Proof" was silly (if nasty) fun. But watching at home brings all manners of "Oh, come on" moments that really detract from appreciating it in the same way. The bar scenes drag on, and on, and on. The talk scene at the diner goes on, and on, and on. The scene where a local yokel is asked to let the three ladies test drive his car goes on, and oh you get the picture. Sorry, QT. You turned a 6/10 flick into a 4/10 slog-fest. Those "mast-head" scenes aside, "Death Proof" has little to recommend it to anyone not a fan of Tarantino's work...which has been awful since "Basterds," and even that film is over-rated in spots.
A soured stuntman (Kurt Russell) targets young women with his death-proof cars Created by writer/director Quentin Tarantino, “Death Proof” was originally the second part of the double feature called “Grindhouse,” released in 2007. The other movie was “Planet Terror” by Robert Rodriguez. Both were standalone stories, although vaguely connected. They were a deliberate attempt to recreate the experience of a double feature at a B movie house in the mid/late 60s-70s with the prints intentionally marred by scratches and blemishes, etc. Trailers for fake movies, like “Machete,” were part of the package. The plot of “Death Proof” involves an embittered stuntman (Kurt Russell) and his psycho obsession with murdering young women of dubious character with his death proof stunt cars (but only the driver’s side). It’s like a melding of “Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” (1965), “Village of the Giants” (1965) and “Vanishing Point” (1971), but with a more modern vibe and Tarantino’s unique brand of moviemaking. The first half is very good, opening with the excellent “The Last Race” by Jack Nitzsche, which was the theme song for “Village of the Giants,” an instrumental. But the movie’s hindered by the inane chatter of the girls. The dull drivel goes into overdrive in the second half, particularly that involving Zoe Bell, Tracie Thoms and Rosario Dawson. Yet viewers are eventually rewarded by a thrilling car chase in the country that’s supposedly Tennessee, but obviously Southern Cal. Russell’s character is perversely charismatic and the movie perks up whenever he’s on screen. There are no less than eight female co-stars playing mostly classless types (thankfully, not all of them) and, depending on your tastes, four of them are quite alluring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rose McGowan, Vanessa Ferlito and Sydney Tamiia Poitier (yes, Sidney’s daughter). The film runs 1 hour, 53 minutes and was shot in Austin, Texas, and Buellton, California. GRADE: C+/B-

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