DEATH PROOF(director/writer: Quentin Tarantino; cinematographer: Quentin Tarantino; editor: Sally Menke; cast: Kurt Russell (Stuntman Mike), Zoe Bell (Herself), Rose McGowan (Pam), Rosario Dawson (Abby), Vanessa Ferlito (Arlene/Butterfly), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Lee), Tracie Thoms (Kim), Sydney Poitier (Jungle Julia), Jonathan Loughran (Jasper), James Parks (Edgar McGraw, Texas Ranger), Michael Parks (Earl McGraw, Texas Ranger), Eli Roth (Dov), Omar Doom (Nate), Michael Bacall (Omar), Marley Shelton (Dr Dakota Block), Nicky Katt (Counter Guy), Quentin Tarantino (Warren); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez/Erica Steinberg/Elizabeth Avellán; Dimension Films; 2007)
“A mindless action film meant solely for Tarantino fans.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Originally released into theaters on a double bill with Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror under the title of Grindhouse. When that flopped at the box office it was released separately. Writer/director Quentin Tarantino (“Reservoir Dogs”/”Pulp Fiction”) offers it as a tribute to 1970s drive-in exploitation films such as Vanishing Point. This dreadful thriller blends together the genres of homicidal psychos and of car chases. The slight plot for this self-indulgent cult film has a maniac middle-aged stuntman driver trying to kill hot young girls with his heavy-duty equipped specialty car. It’s a mindless action film meant solely for Tarantino fans. To make matters worse, the victim girls talk too much crap throughout, which dragged the film down a sinkhole. The popular Austin, Texas, DJ, Jungle Julia (Sydney Tamiia Poitier), and her two hottie girlfriends, Arlene (Vanessa Ferlito) and Shanna (Jordan Ladd), go by car to a lake for a chick-only weekend. They stop at a local bar and notice the guy following them on the road also follows them into the bar. The scarred rebel character introduces himself as Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell), whose secret sicko passion is to cause harm to young ladies he involves in road accidents. Before leaving Mike offers a stranded bar patron, Pam, (Rose McGowan), a ride home in his ‘death-proof’ Hollywood stunt car. Instead of taking her home, Mike takes her on a wild ride whereby he keeps banging her head against the car’s interior as he stops and goes. He then catches up with the car driven by Julia and friends and rams into them until all the girls are killed. A year later Mike has recovered from his injuries and is in Lebanon Tennessee. Also in town are Lee (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Abby (Rosario Dawson) and Kim (Tracie Thoms), who get together with the New Zealand real stuntwoman Zoe Bell arriving by plane. They are all connected with the film industry in different capacities, and are here to talk a seller of a vintage 1970 Dodge Challenger, who advertised in the local paper, into letting them take their dream car out for a test drive by pretending to be legitimate buyers. As collateral, they leave Lee with him. When Mike spots them on the road, with Zoe strapped to the front hood doing daredevil stunts, he rams into them. But he gets his comeuppance because these girls have the ability to fight back and they gleefully do. The pointless film gets an energetic madman performance from Kurt, which is the only thing it has going for it.
REVIEWED ON 2/20/2017 GRADE: C-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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