Grindhouse


release year: 2007
genre: action/horror/comedy/drama
viewing setting: home DVD, 9/24/13 and 2/27/10 and 9/6/08 and theater, 4/7/07

synopsis: In the style of old double-feature B-movies, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino each direct a movie, making this two movies in one. Planet Terror pits a group of survivors against an outbreak of flesh-eating zombies, while Death Proof shows us a man who kills women by getting them into his car and then ramming it into things (the driver's seat is protected, but theirs isn't.)

impressions: Outstandingly entertaining mix of all genres. This movie has so much, I can't begin to list it all here, but for starters: zombies, guns, heavy artillery, vehicles hitting people, helicopters chopping people up, stabbings with needles, scorpion and spider in the same tank, head-on collisions, lap dancing, bar-b-que, twin Mexican babysitters, mad scientists, amputations...I bet you get the idea. This is three hours of outrageously over-the-top mayhem and it's great. Don't miss the numerous fake trailers for movies that won't actually be made but probably should (and in one case, was.)

something this movie has that no other movie has: Here's just one: a woman with a machine gun for a leg.

acting: At first, I had no intention of even attempting to break down all the roles, major and minor, in this 3+ hour masterpiece. Then I decided it was worth the time. Following is a breakdown of everyone I can remember, along with a brief comment about each role:

from Planet Terror:
  • Rose McGowan is Cherry, a go-go dancer who wants to become a stand-up comedian, but sees that dream destroyed along with most of her right leg; fortunately, she upgrades from a wooden peg to a machine gun, just in time to fight hordes of flesh-eating zombies
  • Freddy Rodriguez is El Ray, who drives a tow truck but is also quite handy with knives and guns; he re-unites with his ex Cherry during the zombie situation
  • Michael Biehn is the Sheriff, who must guide a ragtag band of various people to safety if they can make it through the zombies
  • Jeff Fahey is J.T., who runs a barbeque place and cracks all kinds of jokes
  • Josh Brolin is Dr. Block, a weird and violent doctor who chews a glass thermometer and wants to kill his wife
  • Marley Shelton is the other Dr. Block, who carries around syringes and wants to leave her husband
  • Stacy Ferguson is Tammy, a hot babe who is headed into town to get the female Dr. Block and leave; she also knows how to fix cars, but not how to avoid zombies
  • Naveen Andrews is Abby, a scientist who is partially at fault for the zombie outbreak; he also collects grisly human trophies from those who betray him
  • Bruce Willis is a renegade military officer who (along with his men) is infected with the zombie virus
  • Quentin Tarantino is a nasty soldier who has the hots for one-legged Cherry before she gets her machine gun leg
  • Tom Savini is a cranky deputy whose ring finger gets bitten off
  • Michael Parks is a retired cop whose daughter happens to be Dr. Block
  • some quiet kid is Dr. Blocks' son, who has a strange fascination with his lethal pets (including a scorpion and a tarantula and possibly an octopus) and is also dumb enough to shoot himself in the head
  • Electra Isabel Avellan (and presumably an uncredited twin sister) is one of a pair of attractive but argumentative babysitters who end up with guns, as part of the group of survivors
  • Emmy Robbin is a nameless female deputy who runs around with a bare midriff for the entire movie

    from Death Proof:
  • Kurt Russell is Stuntman Mike, who makes engaging conversation about old shows and movies that today's generation will never understand, then goes out in his beefed-up muscle car and kills people
  • Rose McGowan is Pam, who becomes Mike's first victim that we see
  • Vanessa Ferlito is Arlene aka Butterfly, who walks around looking good and teasing Stuntman Mike, which probably isn't a good idea
  • Sydney Poitier (daughter of Sidney Poitier) is Jungle Julia, a friend of Arlene's and also one of the first group of Stuntman Mike's chosen victims
  • Jordan Ladd rounds out the first batch of victims
  • Zoe Bell is Zoe, a bad-ass stuntwoman from the second group of Stuntman Mike's chosen victims
  • Tracie Thoms is Kim, another tough stuntwoman from that group
  • Rosario Dawson and Mary Elizabeth Winstead round out the second batch of victims
  • Quentin Tarantino is Warren, who runs a cool bar in Texas where all of these people go to drink and be merry

    from the fake trailers:
  • Danny Trejo is Machete, who you definitely don't want to mess with
  • Nicolas Cage is Fu Manchu, who is somehow behind the evil of Werewolf Women of the SS
  • Sybil Danning and Sherri Moon are werewolf women of the SS
  • Udo Kier is a Nazi who's also involved with those werewolf women

    final word: Outstanding entertainment from guys who've brought it to us before. If you like their previous movies, you'll probably like this one (and vice versa.)

    back to the main review page