Too Fast to Live... Too Fast to... MURDER!!!
There's a Killer on the Road! Behind the wheel of a Black Car, preying on his unsuspecting female victims a serial killer named Stuntman Mike terrorizes the highway, and comes out of each thrill kill almost completely unscathed thanks to his DEATH PROOF automobiles. Never let this man take you for a ride... or sweet memory will die. Dead... Death Proof!
From the mind of writer/ director Quentin Tarantino, Death Proof is the high speed take on the familiar theme of the invincible killer who goes one step too far and possbily bites off more than he can carburete!
Taking place over two separated days, Death Proof shows Stuntman Mike (played by Kurt Russell) as he embarks on his latest high speed death race to take the lives of a few poised pretties. His deplorable acts find him stalking groups of ladies that include Austin DJ Jungle Julia Lucai (Sydney Tamiia Poitier) and her Birthday Entourage Arlene (Vanessa Ferlito) and Shanna (Jordan Ladd) and actress Lee Montgomery (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) with her movie-biz buddies Kim (Tracie Thoms), Abernathy (hot Rosario Dawson) and Zoë Bell (played by the real Zoë Bell).
A particularly chilling, yet poignant sequence involves Stuntman Mike charming pretty young thing Pam (Rose McGowan) into his death proof stunt car with tales of the Movie and TV industry, along with all the big names he's worked for and with. Though he's got his sights set on Arlene to give him a lapdance he'll never forgive, Pam is fresh enough meat for his tastes, and, as a mortal enemy of the vicious Jungle Julia, Pam sure ain't gettin' a ride from somebody else. Luckily Stuntman Mike's got bartender Warren (Quentin Tarantino himself) to vouch for him. Sort of.
Will Pam come to her wits or face certain doom at the cruel calloused driving hands of Stuntman Mike, Serial Killer and Body Double to the Stars? Will Stuntman Mike charm the ladies into becoming new notches on his steering wheel with his silly empty moves and John Wayne impressions? Can Stuntman Mike have his fun and beat the wrap too when hopes are dashed and cars are crashed at 200 miles per hour? Or... has Stuntman Mike truly met his match?
See the action, feel the thrills as your blood rushes through your veins like cars over the tarmac in Death Proof! If this doesn't raise your hackles then check your pulse... YOU MAY BE DEAD!
Death Proof is a daring and terrifying thriller with some amazing stunts and terminal velocities. It also has more than its fair share of cool-ass cars! From the Yellow and Black "Lil' Pussy Wagon" Mustang and killer white 1970 Dodge Challenger from the arsenal of the Hollywood Girls to the ashen black 1970 Dodge Charger and garishly adorned 1971 Chevy Nova SS from Stuntman Mike's garage, Miami Vice has nothing on Death Proof!
Whether copping a little road rash or kicking some asphault, Death Proof is most lethal during its high-speed chases, which it has in spades. Taking pages from Duel and Death Race 2000 (amongst many others), Death Proof is hell on wheels, burning up the road and scraping the edge of oblivion, both pushing the envelope and setting it the fuck on fire.
Like its fellow Grindhouse Double Feature film Planet Terror, Death Proof flourishes in its B-Movie sensibilities and accepts the mantle of the Grindhouse Midnighter with careless ease. Tarantino smilingly keeps the paracinematic ball bouncing with his scratchy, grainy prints, intentionally made to appear grainy and poorly spliced. There are wavy melts, a suggested "missing reel" (right when something hot is about to happen), and even a rapid title-card change to echo the repeated renaming of many of the actual grindhouse movies for different markets. Tarantino captures the subject matter perfectly, even having his color and light-exposure overtake certain moments.
On the other hand, while Planet Terror perhaps relied a bit too heavily on the "film damage" joke, Tarantino almost seems to forget it completely at times, allowing for a crisp, almost perfect picture before wrinkling it all up once again, just for the hallibut.
This high-speed nightmare might also be the most linear film that Tarantino has made to date (with the possible exception of Jackie Brown). There is none of the temporal disjointedness that we've come to expect from ol QT. However, there are allusions to other films, most notably Planet Terror here. The use of the same characters as Planet Terror (like those played by the Avellan Sisters, Michael Parks and Marley Shelton), along with certain, nearly subliminal, references to Death Proof within Planet Terror clearly places this film as a chronological precursor to the earlier film in the double feature.
While Death Proof is surely flawed, and not only intentionally, it works out to be a remarkably satisfying film, equal, or even superior to, Planet Terror, but still deliciously frozen in that B-Movie timeline that meshes 1970's themes with 2007's cell phones and current events. It's amazing, this sand box that Tarantino has built for us to play in. It's amazing that any filmmaker can make it in Hollywood and ultimately write his own ticket with films that are as off the beaten path as... well, as Grindhouse flicks.
At Break-Neck Speeds, with lives on the line, and futures in the dust, faster than lightening, colder than ice, meaner than a junkyard dog... Death Proof races away with Four Stars out of Five. Race to the Grindhouse to see it, but keep those lights on! There's no black box to identify you on this ride... just a Crash Box, and kiddos, this one might be your final destination. Now, hot rods and cool classics, it's time for me to hit the speedway, burning rubber and racing with the wind. Till then, I'll see your crazy, scarred mug in the next reel... and it'd better be goin' faster than a blaster when I do.
Gripping the Mouse Your Knuckles grow white with desire!
The ball of your Logitech exploding on your mouse-pad
Like a Slug from a stunt-chick's Barrel!
Cliiiiiick Here for 400 Horsepower of MAXIMUM reviews, Piercing Cyberspace...
This is DEATH PROOF!!!
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