Death Proof

Mikey 3 comments
Death Proof

Leave your cerebrum in another room, you won't be needing it for this movie. Grindhouse is the brainchild of long time film collaborators Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, both of whom have produced some very respectable cinema during their careers.

Death Proof is the second of the Grindhouse series, and as you might expect judging by the title, contains gratuitous over-the-top violence with little substance. A lot of effort has been put into giving the appearance of watching the movie in an old cinema during the 70's, but without the hippies. Film grain, static pops, scratches, colour de-saturation and deliberately bad editing have been digitally added to 'enhance' the look and feel although the illusion is destroyed the minute you see a character using a modern day mobile phone.

It's worth mentioning that the aforementioned deliberate film degradation doesn't occur during the second half of the film. My immediate feeling was they simply forgot to add it, and even though that's an unlikely oversight I still can't think of a reason to stop the effect mid way.

Kurt Russell is Stuntman Mike, a homicidal ex-stuntman who tours the country in a muscle car hunting his next lady victims. The old stunt car is fitted with enough safety equipment to protect against the most deadliest of accidents, "Death Proof" as Mike says. His car is the weapon he uses to kill. The results are every bit as grizzly as you would expect.

Death Proof failed miserably at the box office and upon your first viewing the reason will be clearly evident. It's too wordy and in a bad way. Don't get me wrong here, I love films that have nothing but dialogue - Kevin Smiths' Clerks is an obvious testament to the power of letting the actors do the work instead of the camera, but the dialogue in Death Proof is so mind numbingly uninteresting and cliché that I actually stopped watching the movie out of sheer boredom. It took me a whole week to muster up the courage to have another go at it. The first 45 minutes of the film - I kid you not - 45 minutes - is nothing but pointless dialogue of which only a few minutes are tolerable.

So it is around the 45 minute mark that things start happening. Stuntman Mike has secured his first victim and the film starts to get interesting. But annoyingly the interesting part only lasts about 7 minutes before the exact same formula is repeated for the second half of the film: sh*t tins of pointless annoying dialogue leading up to the interest.

During the second act things don't work out as planned for Mike when a failed attempt to kill a group of girls goes haywire causing him to become the hunted. This car chase is as overly-long (it 'aint that's for sure), and by the end I found it apt that Kurt Russells' character would echo what I was thinking when he shouted "Jesus f*cking Christ it's about time!".

Ultimately Death Proof would have been far more effective if it were shortened to 30 minutes as part of something bigger, ala or format. So with that in mind, as much as I would like to recommend this film unconditionally (it is Tarantino and Rodriguez after all) I can not. But if you are still curious, you could do a lot worse.

2 Stars

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Saturday 8th March 2008 | 09:25 PM

I couldn't agree more. I watched it as a Netflix streaming movie, so I didn't feel guilty doing chores while watching it. Unfortunately the ending made it worth-while. Hell, skip all the way to the ending and only watch that.

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Jim- Just a Guy

Sunday 9th March 2008 | 07:17 AM

I go into any Tarantino flick knowing there will be a ton of dialog and that some of it won't make sense. This film is no exception. However I will say this movie had one of the most bad ass chase scenes I have ever seen. Zoe Bell is insane. The fact that it really is her in the hood of that car is a testament to her dedication as a stunt woman. I am not going to explain this last comment as those who know what I am referring to will understand those who don't ask a friend.

I know that Tarantino has seen the infamous Boo Ya video. Having seen this video before seeing this had me crying I was laughing so hard when the line "BOOYA BITCH!" is used.

I agree that the first 45 minutes blows. I nearly fell asleep when I went to the theater to see the double feature when it was released in the theaters.

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Sunday 9th March 2008 | 11:36 AM

I watched this with my husband a big Tarentino fan. His first thought was Tarentino had 'lost it' but I said it's more likely that he was just getting older and Tarentino is still making movies for the same age group he was targeting 15 years ago.

Your review leads me to think this might be the case for you but I could be wrong.

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