Saturday, April 7, 2007

Movie Review: Grindhouse

Movie Title: Grindhouse
Starring: Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Naveen Andrews, Marley Shelton, Bruce Willis, Fergie, Vanessa Ferlito, Rosario Dawson and Zoe Bell.
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez (Q&R)
Genre: Action/Horror/Thriller
My Rating: 8.5/10

As I exhaled upon exiting the theater last night, I just had to head home and relax for the night to recover from this 3+ hour movie watching experience. Grindhouse isn't just a movie, it's a compilation of 2 totally different movies, a handful of fake-trailers and a couple of dumb commercials here and there. An interesting and confident experiment, which worked well for a one-time thing.

The first movie is Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror, where a leak in a biochemical plant transforms the people of the small Texas town outside Austin into zombies conveniently called sickos. It's up to a mercenary wrecker and a one-legged dancer to save the town, and subsequently the rest of the world from this disease. Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under) plays the wrecker Wray, and a brunette Rose McGowan (Charmed) plays the dancer Cherry - both of whom might feel elevated big time from their small screen careers. After losing a leg to a zombie-bite, Cherry manages with a table's leg for a while, until Wray finds enough time to make her a leg-substitute machine gun. A flexible former dancer with a WMD leg = yikes! The end of all zombies!

In my honest opinion, the real sicko in the movie was the biochemical scientist Abby, played by LOST's Naveen Andrews. I've heard of maniacs in history who liked collecting skulls, but Abby goes much further. He enjoys collecting testicles! Uncredited actor Bruce Willis plays the baddie, and confidently acknowledges that his fans are only happy to see him make a cameo, no matter how lame the role. Marley Shelton, as gorgeous as she is, plays a doctor who's dirty little secret of two-timing her doctor husband with Fergie comes to light the night the sickos attack. Yes, it's the same Black Eyed Peas' Fergie. Yippie!

Planet Terror is still a good horror flick, no matter how cliche'd or stupid it may be. It's less horrific than Rodriguez's last horror flick From Dusk Till Dawn.

The second movie, after the lame trailers and ads, is Quentin Tarantino's Death-Proof, where a scarred stuntman in Austin TX loves deploying his "death-proof" stunt car for deadly collisions with other cars having young leggy lasses as passengers. Kurt Russell plays stuntman Mike - and manages to win over the audience in his first 15 minutes with talks and wisecracks etc.. The first set of ladies he targets includes characters played by Vanessa Ferlito (CSI:NY) and a blonde Rose McGowan (wow! she's really all over the movie). I'm personally fond of Ferlito, although I'm yet to see her in a role that could unleash her full potential. Rose, however, wasn't all that striking in this half, even with both legs. The second group targeted includes a quartet of stuntwomen played by Rosario Dawson, Zoe Bell, Tracie Thomas and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Prior to the action and one of the greatest car-chase scenes I have seen lately, there's way too much talking and babbling between these stuntwomen. A buddy of mine almost felt like leaving the movie theater then. However, I'm glad I stayed. The last 15 minutes were probably the best part of the 185 minutes, and I don't mean to sound sick here. Remember, the second quartet is all "stuntwomen."

While Planet Terror was more action-packed and far-fetched, it kept you awake constantly. Moreover, the excessive dialog Death-Proof turns out to be worth it. Not a bad time to go to the restrooms etc., I'd rather stay for the dumb trailers in between these two features. Death-Proof was more realistic, just a bit psycho, and more stunts than special effects. A normal movie-goer could tell which feature was directed by RR and by Q.

Do not blame your theater if you think the screen quality is bad. It's purposely done that way to pay homage to the 70's and 80's cheap action/horror flicks. At some parts there will be skipped scenes, audio glitches and messages like "Reel Missing. We apologize for the inconvenience, Theater Management." Many guys may not appreciate that sign in one particular part of the movie ;-)

I give Grindhouse an 8.5/10. Take as much beverage as you desire, there are enough time-slots to take a restroom break. I'd avoid popcorn, however.

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