After an experimental bio-nerve gas is accidentally released at a remote U.S. military base in Texas, those exposed to the gas turn into flesh-eating, mutating zombies out to kill. An assortment of various people who include stripper Cherry, her shady mechanic ex-boyfriend Wray, a strong-willed doctor, the local sheriff, and an assortment of various people must join forces to survive the night as the so-called "sickos" threaten to take over the whole town and the world. Written by
"I want to eat your brains... and gain your knowledge."
Planet Terror, before becoming it's own movie-animal of sorts as a stand-alone feature released in most parts of the world (and on DVD), was a slightly shorter, near-perfect first part of a double-bill of the Rodriguez/Tarantino double-feature Grindhouse. Not to sound like I'm in a rocking chair rambling like it's old times (and it's not even a year since its North American release), but Grindhouse contained in it two features that just very simply, quickly tapped into that genuine spirit of B-movies out there, the art and power of sleaze and trash that might not be that when done right. And also as a treat, each film showcases, in all fetishized and stupendous glory, the skills of the respective filmmakers (this goes as well for the directors of the 'trailers' that ran between the two films). For Tarantino it's stylized long-shots, intellectual-cum-vapid dialog, and a penchant for bad-ass ladies and some sick violence.
For Rodriguez, it's what we've come to see as a sort of mix between his Mariachi films and From Dusk till Dawn: slam-bang action, truly absurd twists with the occasional shock factor (in this case the "accidental" death of a child), and raucous humor from dialog that, in its own right, is probably just as self-consciously clever as QT's. On its own, and in its extended and unrated cut form, as recently watched on DVD, Planet Terror luckily doesn't suffer as much from the added footage as Death Proof nearly did. There isn't some big block of specific scenes stuffed back in from the original cut, however the bits that are noticeable for those who are aware of the original 90 minute version- i.e. waking up at night to see the green-tinted moon, the extra bit at the police station, some extras at the hospital- don't really add much at all to the proceedings to make it any better as it is.
For what it's worth though, to those who will seek it out having not had the luck- as imposed by the what seems to be ironic monacher after the Machete trailer "Brought to you by your friends at the Weinstein Company!"- Planet Terror is a kick-ass, take-no-prisoners zombie flick, filled with enough ballsy attitude for two B-movies that deserve to get immediately dusted off and played to packed audiences of sick f***s who cant get enough of gruesome, over-the-top horror violence and tongue-in--so-deep-it's-breaking-the-cheek dialog. A simple premise is that a noxious gas is let loose by a military group, somehow in some deranged plot involved with a post Bin-Laden atmosphere, and it creates total havoc on a small Texas town over one night. And over this one night a go-go dancer, a crafty but vulnerable nurse, a Chicano who's "got the devil in im'", a BBQ maestro, and some various tag-alongs and police officers bind together to fight the combat the infectious plague.
Made with panache and visual as well as verbal wit (maybe funniest is how a sex scene is so hot it burns up the screen, literally, and when the scene comes back on the place is on fire!), Rodriguez has a nifty little classic of a comedy almost in the guise of an action film inspired by both Fulci and Carpenter (however much better than the former would ever produce). Watch it friends!
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