Thursday, November 15, 2007

Planet Terror - mini-review

I did not get to see the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino Grindhouse doublefeature when it was in theaters this past spring (summer?), in large part because it was in Maine theaters for all of about six minutes. After watching Planet Terror on DVD tonight, I really wish I'd seen these films all together on a big screen, the way they were supposed to be seen - what a frickin' hoot!

Planet Terror was the first movie of the double bill. Loaded to the rafters with cast (Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Josh Brolin, Bruce Willis, Michael Biehn, Sayid from Lost), it's a horror/action flick complete with zombie-like mutant humans, a corrupt government, the best BBQ in Texas and really, really hot women (Rose = thermonuclear level of hot). You want bloody, oozing, putrescent gore? Got it. Explosions and fireballs and loads of weaponry? Check. Cheating wives, go-go dancers and sibling rivalry? You betcha. And Robert Rodriguez is still a clever enough director to yank you out of the orgy of violence and goo with the unexpected (and mercifully off-camera) death of a child by self-inflicted handgun accident. You think you can't be shocked amid all the carnage but yes, yes, you can, first by the dog and then by the boy. Jeesh. But then, lest things get too somber, they give the one-legged stripper a machine gun prosthetic and all is well in this ridiculous world once more.

I thought this movie was great fun. True, some of the jokes ran a little long (enough with the secret BBQ recipe already - and this coming from a serious BBQ fan). And this is a violent and exploitative movie ... which is exactly what it was supposed to be. Anyone looking for anything more is just being foolish and also a party-pooper. Rodriguez set out to give us a grindhouse experience, complete with schlock, seedy previews, scratchy film - even a "missing reel." He did it and I for one am glad he did. I can't wait to see how Tarantino's Death Proof stacks up.

Mr. Mouse - this movie is not for you. You'd like the girls but little else.

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