Death Proof (2007)






THE SCOOP
Director:  Quentin Tarantino
Cast:  Kurt RussellZoë BellRosario Dawson
Plot:  Two separate groups of voluptuous women are stalked at different times by a scarred stuntman who uses his "death proof" cars to execute his murderous plans.

Genre:  Action / Thriller
Awards:  Nom. for Palme d'Or (Cannes)
Runtime:  113min
Rating:  R21 for graphic violence and gore, strong profanity, and sensuality.

IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
There are generally two kinds of 'sick' filmmakers - one without talent like Eli Roth (Hostel), the other with immense ability such as Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction). Both groups have a similar obsession - glorifying graphic violence and gore. 

When a film like Death Proof comes out, the natural tendency is to go "Not another one of those again!" But a household name like Tarantino can change perceptions; anyway what can go wrong with a Tarantino film?

In Death Proof, the filmmakers decide to scare the hearts out of viewers with just two basic characters - a stuntcar and a psychotic stuntman played by Kurt Russell, who’s a menace throughout his relatively short screen time. 

What's worth the admission ticket is the execution of the car stunts; to say that it's incredible is an understatement. Never has metal grinding, and screaming engines sound so sweet to the ears, especially to those with a fetish for cars.

The flaw of Death Proof lies in the unnecessarily long-winded (and mundane) dialogue that the women in the film engage in. It doesn't quite aid in character development, neither does it intentionally serve the film well. It breaks the flow, cuts the tension, and somehow spoils what Tarantino wants to achieve - a horror chiller. 

Death Proof is part of a double feature under the 'Grindhouse' tag, the other being Robert Rodriquez's Planet Terror. For selfish economic gains, theaters in Singapore have made a grievous mistake in showing both separately (after all, Grindhouse features in the 1970s and 1980s were screened back-to-back). 

Death Proof is not Tarantino at the height of his power. He occasionally loses his focus, but he redeems himself with outrageously good car chase sequences, and real jaw-dropping stuntwork that's sorely missing in today's CG-laden films.

GRADE: B (7.5/10 or 3.5 stars)






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