Part of Quentin Tarantino’s heavily publicised recent movie experiment Grind House. Death Proof was intended to be played alongside Robert Rodriquez’s Planet Terror (2007), mimicking the movie-going experience of a bygone era: the double feature schlock exploitation flick b-movie. Fake movie trailers were also put together, to be played as part of the experience.
Of course, in New Zealand I don’t think it was ever played as intended – Death Proof was in theatres in November, but I don’t know if Planet Terror has played at all. Long story short, as far as I know, nobody bothered to see it and it had a very short, not particularly highly regarded run.
So of course I still haven’t watched it in its intended form as a back-to-back double feature extravaganza on the big screen, but I have now watched Death Proof on the marginally smaller screen.
And here’s the thing: I expected it to be really bad.
And for the first part (it’s broken up into two fairly natural halves) it was exactly as bad as I expected, but it really dropped it down a cog and gave it a handful as it moved into the second half (SPOILER) where the bad guy picks on the wrong car full of girls, and proceeds to get some serious comeuppance.
In fact, for about the entire last 5 minutes I was grinning with delight, and I’m talking about an actual grin here. On my face. Not a fake grin I lie about when I write about the experience later.
Oh, and I do feel the need to mention that a pretty large part (of the bad guys downfall, and in general as a role in the movie) is played by New Zealander actress/stuntwoman Zoe Bell, playing herself as a stuntwoman! Woooo!
The bad guy really fucked with the wrong chicks. Not only was one of them was dressed in a canary yellow cheerleader outfit the entire time, and never mind that two of the others were stuntwomen, but they were driving a car in Bruce Lee jump suit livery. How could he not have seen his demise coming from miles away?
Speaking of the Bruce Lee painted muscle car. I really, really want one. I might have to get a yellow car (perhaps not a muscle car though) of my own at some point purely so I can put big black racing stripes up the mother fucker’s spine. It needs to be done. (Right?)
The general experience is interesting, the colour has been graded in a particular way, and film imperfections added to make it seem like you’re watching a well used old print – along with jumpy editing, in what seems to be a pretty decent effort to reproduce the production standards of the 60s/70s movies that are being recreated. And of course it’s a Tarantino movie, so you know that it’s going to have great music.
It really exceeded my expectations – and I think this is partly because of how average the first story was, not in spite of it – so I reckon that if you have a chance, you should check it out.