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Probably the most misunderstood film of this decade
Graham Greene12 March 2008
Given the vast majority of major criticisms levelled at this film, it would appear that a large percentage of the audience has completely missed the joke, or simply, didn't find it at all amusing. With Death Proof (2007), Tarantino creates such a loving homage to a notoriously cult cinematic sub-culture that many people seem unaware of how to approach it or even how to appreciate the sheer fact that the film purposely goes out of its way to ape the style of late 60's and early 70's exploitation cinema in look, feel and content. The film isn't meant to be taken entirely seriously, but rather, is a parody and/or pastiche of the kind of films that the vast majority of mainstream audiences simply wouldn't want to see. I'm talking about films such as Two-Thousand Maniacs (1964), Ride the Whirlwind (1965), Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966), Satan's Sadists (1968), The Big Bird Cage (1971), Boxcar Bertha (1972), Fight for Your Life (1977) or Satan's Cheerleaders (1977); low-budget films made with often-non-professional actors, little in the way of conventional film logic, and highly controversial in terms of plot, theme and content.

It also sets out to pastiche the "grindhouse" cinema phenomena, with the original idea of two films being shown as a double feature at drive-in movie theatres from state to state, with both films often being re-cut and re-edited, not by the filmmakers, but by the theatre owners themselves. This is evident in the amusing switch in title; with the film opening with the caption 'Quentin Tarantino's Thunderbolt', before awkwardly cutting to an obviously out of place title card with 'Death Proof' crudely emblazoned across the screen. This is also the explanation for the purposeful mistakes in continuity, the sloppy editing and the switch between colour and black and white, as well as the façade of severely deteriorating film stock. It's not sloppy film-making, but rather, a purposeful appropriation of sloppy film-making geared towards appealing to the kind of obsessive movie aficionado who gets the references and can appreciate the joke that Tarantino is attempting to pull.

With this in mind, it seems hard to understand what people are complaining about. Do audiences actual expect this film to keep them enthralled and entertained when the vast majority of them would balk at experiencing many of the low-budget, semi-obscure films that influenced it? Hardly! The accusation here that "nothing happens" is fascicle. The fact that there is film running through the camera is proof enough that something is happening, with the hilariously bland dialog deconstructing the film in much the same way as the purposely amateurish composition, editing and sound all intended to fracture the cinematic language in the same way that Godard did; by reminding the audience that this is the film and the point of the film is to experience the sights and sounds that unfold before us. Added to this the colourful iconography, the music, the characters, the girls in tight t-shirts, the for once entirely justified performance from the man himself, all reminding us that this is a joyous, darkly comic romp in which the point is not "why?" but "why not?".

The effect is reminiscent of Kill Bill (2003), which at times felt superficial or perhaps even too knowing for its own good, but still demonstrated to us the filmmaker's great use of tone, texture, colour and movement, as well as turning many people on to a whole new world of cult Japanese cinema; from the works of highly individual filmmakers like Seijun Suzuki, Kinji Fukasaku and Takashi Miike, to cult performers like Sony Chiba. Death Proof attempts to do something similar with the likes of the American revisionist road movie, the B-cinema of Roger Corman and the femsploitation subgenre of films like The Big Bird Cage (1972), Caged Heat (1975), Day of the Woman (1978) and Ms. 45 (1981); a coolly ironic series of films in which wronged women take bloody revenge in an often elaborate and over the top style, chiefly intended to give a feminist slant to the still rampant degradation and misogyny prevalent in the exploitation genre.

Other reference points are more obvious as they're mentioned explicitly in the film; notably car chase cinema such as Vanishing Point (1971), Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974), Gone in 60 Seconds (1974) and even Spielberg's Duel (1971). Some have complained that the film fails on account of its lack of action and emphasis on dialog and technique, but this seems churlish when you think of the films being referenced; with Vanishing Point featuring a number of cryptic, desert-set sequences in which characters talk and talk and talk, while Two-Lane Blacktop punctuates its scenes of hard driving and drag-racing with much in the way of meandering small-talk. Then we have the fact that films like Reservoir Dogs - which takes place almost entirely within a single setting - and Jackie Brown - which places emphasis entirely on character - use dialog to not only create the characters but to also tell the story.

Regardless of this, Death Proof is meant as a piece of entertainment. There's no real desire here for Tarantino to prove what kind of filmmaker he is because he's already done that with the number of great films that came before. Sure, it can be seen as self-indulgent, but surely those of us familiar with the style of film-making being referenced here will revel in this particular kind of extravagance, loving everything from the continually inane female banter to the awesome scenes of high speed carnage. If you're not a fan cult cinema or exploitation cinema or indeed a devotee of Tarantino's work then this film really isn't going to impress you. There's no shame in that. Some films are made for a niche audience, destined to be a cult in their own right. However, for those who get it, Death Proof has the potential to be a truly exhilarating, one-off piece of film-making.
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blah, blah..blah... freaking BLAH!
madiganman3 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Am I the only one that thinks Quentin Tarantino's 'Death Proof' is a piece of junk?

The first hour of the movie consists of four women chatting away in a bar about the party tonight and how the boyfriend of one of them who's a radio personality is like TOTALLY spaced on her birthday and blah, blah.. blah... freaking BLAH! Then they get killed by a mysterious guy called Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell). That's when the action begins.....and lasts for like 5 whole minutes! Then cut to few months later where another group of women chatting of the type that makes most men's eyes roll up into their skulls. Sorry, ladies but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. I know that when my wife has a bunch of her friends over I have to either leave the house or retreat into my den, otherwise it's like having bamboo shoved under my fingernails.

Now eventually... eventually as in 45 long..... torturous..... b-o-r-i-n-g minutes later, Kurt Russell finally shows up again to wreak havoc on this set of women. Unfortunately by this time I was so mad at having had to sit through so much mind numbing dialog that I couldn't even enjoy the car chase and what followed. No payoff could have been big enough for having been subjected to about a full hour of excruciating boredom except for maybe, the credits to roll. I don't know what the heck happened to Tarantino, but if felt like he was channeling Oprah or "The View" through some sort of trailer park filter. It was, in a word: bizarre. Another 5 minutes of car chase action. Then the movie ends.

This movie is supposed to be a spoof on the 70's B-grade camp movies. However it turned out to be one of the most boring movies I've seen in my life!
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Tarantino careers off the road...(don't tell me i don't get it)...
uncle salty25 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I was a little dubious about seeing this out of context of 'Grindhouse' as i figured, despite what the greedy distributors might think, it would make less sense and the idea as a whole would work better in Europe, particularly after we've been waiting for so long.

It started off brilliantly, style wise the whole seventies exploitation flick look was there and executed fantastically (the scratches, the jump cuts, the poor continuity) and worked better than i expected as it successfully walked the difficult tightrope between homage and parody. Then the talking started. I don't want to labour the point about the dialogue but feel i have to as it is painful.

Tarantino has never been able to write for women. Far and away the worst scenes in terms of dialogue in Pulp Fiction are those involving women. The Uma Thurman scenes with Travolta are ham fisted attempts at fantasy chemistry, how a teenager might practise talking to a high school crush in front of a mirror. In Reservoir Dogs one of the only women characters that doesn't get shot was cut from the final film. In fact all of his original work aside from Kill Bill is male based, but even the Bride is merely an action revenge figure in female form so the scripting here would have worked either way. With that in mind what made him think him he could pull off a two hour movie with 8 women talking incessantly all the way through it?

Worst still amongst all the talk Tarantino self references his own films in it, even when he's doing one of his useless cameos he references Pulp Fiction! I know he's made a career out of this but in previous films most of the dialogue was in short snappy burst with outside views on mass pop culture and it was charmingly woven into strong individual characters that moved the plot and story along. Quentin has got to the point now where it's clear when HE is talking through the characters to put across a personal point of view or about his knowledge of obscure trash Americana from yesteryear. This is all laced with his wet dream on how he thinks women talk when he's not around. Here one woman is much the same as the other and by the time a brief anti-climax comes along involving Kurt Russell i want them all to die!

When Stuntman Mike does finally appear it's good but too brief, in fact it's a cameo role. I understand that there's no explanation for his actions, there doesn't need to be, it's supposed to be exploitation. But, without wanting to sound like a sadist, if it is supposed to be exploitation then where was it? These films were supposed to be a retro study of the cheap drive-in extreme cinema of the seventies, OTT comic book violence and unrealistic set pieces. There's more sex and violence in Bourne than in this! If the movie had kicked into overdrive as i expected after that point i could have perhaps forgiven the poor exposition. But from there we have another cameo from Russell who disappears until the end, a clean up of the reel and 4 more women, impossibly more annoying than the last. This again allows Tarantino to put words in their mouth so he can have a conversation with himself about his favourite muscle car movies for another hour. When Russell does pop up again for the final pursuit he's inexplicably turned into a groveling whining bitch. Then it ends.

There's a popular lazy argument on IMDb lately that if you don't like a film you don't 'get it'. Don't tell me i don't get it. I get the retribution, i get the elongated build up, i get the missing and throw away characters, i get the metaphoric idea of women screwing Stuntman Mike with a car, i get (and liked) the abrupt ending etc etc. And I like Tarantino, but this is not good, not good at all. Sure there's a couple of genius strokes (the four view death, the reverse hospital set, the fact that there is no CGI) and Tarantinos perfect use of popular music is, as ever, outstanding, on par with if not better than the original master of this skill Scorsese. But it's not enough to make this worth seeing. Buy the soudtrack, put that on and listen to your girlfriend chat with her friends on speaker phone, at least the conversation will be more realistic.

Any film, no matter who is involved in the making of it, that causes you to drift off while you're watching or can't hold your attention is poor. Even at the 'Grindhouse' 90 minute mark it would still have been 10 minutes too long and it's a shame it's been taken out of it's context and elongated to it's detriment. If you want real Grindhouse get some originals or see 'Devils Rejects' or 'House of 1000 Corpses' as Rob Zombie seems to have done this already to much better much more extreme effect...and with a retro twist.
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Dead Women Talking
MrGoodB16 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I love movies in general. I love obscure B-, C-, and Z-movies in particular - the dumber the plots and the less coherent, the better.

When I first heard of Death Proof, I was therefore understandably excited. Tarantino is undeniably a pro director, and though I personally think his trademark elements - bizarre dialogue about pop culture, foot fetishism - are somewhat annoying, I was willing to give him a try. He couldn't possibly screw up a movie that is SUPPOSED to be bad, I thought.

Suffice to say, he could. Oh, how he could.

We begin our long and arduous journey through the demented mind of Quentin "I made two cult classics in the early 90s and am therefore beyond criticism" Tarantino by joining a motley crew of four young women on their way to a local bar, tended by none other than Tarantino himself in an utterly pointless cameo role. Then, nothing happens. Twice.

I'm serious, the first hour of this movie (it might have been less but it certainly didn't feel like less) consists of absolutely nothing else but four women, whose admittedly good looks cannot mask the fact that they are about as intriguing to watch as display dummies and slightly less entertaining, drinking in a bar and talking.

What they are talking about, I have no idea. I really cannot remember a single sentence of note said in this torturous first hour (for the protocol, I cannot remember anything said in the second half either), but I am fairly sure that it involved some kind of prank about a lap dance one of them (don't ask me for the names) pulled on one of the others.

After meeting Stuntman Mike, whose introduction moves at about the same snail-paced crawl as everything does in this movie, and another twenty minutes of talking and an embarrassing lap dance, we finally get to the "action" part of the movie. The use of quotation marks is deliberate, since the much anticipated murder scene (didn't I tell you? Stuntman Mike is a serial killer using his car as a weapon. Don't ask why, though - there is no explanation given) consists of two cars crashing headfirst and what amounts to about three seconds of gore.

Cut: Stuntman Mike is hospitalized, but alive and kicking. The four broads are not. Throw in an absolutely pointless scene with two absolutely pointless policemen, which I'm sure is another one of Tarantino's look-how-subtle-I-am references/homages/ripoffs to/from himself.

Cut again: Four shallow and irritating women sit in a car and talk boring nonsense, interlaced with four letter words to boost the as yet slightly neglected "controversial and provocative" aspect of this movie. After another hour of talking - mind you, this time, it's an entirely different deli! Nobody can accuse Tarantino of repeating himself! - Stuntman Mike appears and starts bumping into their car for no discernible reason.

A car chase ensues, mostly consisting of the two cars driving alongside each other at high speed, with the women yelling at Stuntman Mike to cease the hostilities - during the chase, one of the girls lies on the hood and has some difficulties maintaining this condition - and for some reason refusing to, uh, stop their own car and thus prevent their friend from falling off.

After finally gaining the upper hand on Mike and wrecking his car (not so death proof now, is it?), they drag him out and beat him to death. That's it. The end.

I hate this movie. It's an insufferably boring and egomaniacal mess and there is absolutely no reason to see it. It's not funny, not even unintentionally so. It's not scary. It's not interesting, not over-the top surreal, nothing. There is no gore, no monsters, mutants, freaks, demons or at least a cool villain to hold your interest (Kurt Russell wasn't bad as an actor, but to call his character two-dimensional would be an exaggeration), there isn't ANYTHING in here that makes a good B-movie entertaining . Avoid it at all costs.
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There is a Reason Why This Bombed Folks,
CrassActionHero15 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Because this is terrible!

Death Proof(2007)

Review: You may have read my comment for the Grindhouse double feature, but this is my official take on the second part.

Death Proof is supposed to be a spoof on 70's schlock b movies ,but this isn't. The only thing 70's here is Stuntman Mike's(Kurt Russel)car. The story is really nothing. It's pretty much a bunch of really annoying chicks chat and chat about nothing for an eternity and then chat some more. Stuntman Mike finally shows up and his character is hardly looked upon. Russel is awesome here and has a great way of becoming charming to chilling in a matter of seconds.

Stuntman Mike wants to kill people. For reasons unknown. The kill sequences are pretty cool and is the best scene in the entire movie for more reasons than one. The women here are so boring that I found myself quenched with blood lust and was rooting for Stuntman Mike. Stuntman Mike is easily one of the most cool villains ever, or in this case, a hero.

Death Proof wastes more of our time with another set of even more unlikeable chicks with more inane chit-chat. These ones were so bad that they left one of there own to the hands of a drooling lunatic to satisfy their selfish desires. I hated that and wanted Mike to waste them too. This second half of Death Proof was weak. Seeing Mike chase down the unlikeable chicks and taunt them was entertaining, but the revenge chase was unspectacular in epic proportions. I hated seeing the one awesome Stuntman Mike become a whiny little bitch in a split second and the ending was atrocious.

The Last Word: A Tarantino ego trip. This was dedicated to himself. Russel should have gotten A lot more screen time and to see him finally play the bad guy would have been a treat, but he is almost nonexistent here. Russel aside, I hated this movie. Despite the many stunts, Death Proof wipes out. This is on my sh*t list. One of 2007's worst. The only way I would ever see this again is if I was forced to do so at gunpoint.
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Quentin Tarantino owes Kurt Russell an apology
DarthBill7 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The 2nd half of the "Grindhouse" film feature by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, respectively. "Death Proof" is specifically Tarantino's contribution, whereas Rodriguez's contribution was the small town redneck community VS. zombies feature "Planet Terror".

The result? Well, "Planet Terror" was fairly entertaining as it embraced its trashiness and provided fairly engaging action sequences. "Death Proof", however, does not live up to the hype. Now, I admit right now I've never really been a fan of Quentin Tarantino's work. I admire the reckless kinetic energy his films usually exhibit and at times I even briefly embrace his bizarre sense of humor, and hey, even I laughed a few times at his obscure pop culture references (as I'm an unabashed pop culture junkie myself), but at the same time his films come off to me as extremely repugnant, unpleasant, and even a tad repetitive. Thus I can only be a curious observer of his organized chaos on film and never a true fan while the rest of the world praises his "genius" and tries to silence the few who don't care for his work (people like me). But even by trashy action film crime movie standards, "Death Proof" is an insult to human intelligence in a vein similar to George Lucas's awful Star Wars prequels and the lackluster Spider-Man 3, the difference being that those films at least featured engaging action sequences to pad out the banality of the overall product. No such luck with "Death Proof".

The story - or lack thereof - concerns Stuntman Mike McKay (Kurt Russell, an old pro at both trashy action films and well made action films, having cut his tough guy teeth on John Carpenter's beloved cult epic 'Escape From New York') and his 'death proof' car. A veteran stunt man and stone cold psychopath, Mike has an obsession with using his car to kill people, specifically beautiful but shallow, vapid and, above all else, annoying, obnoxious, unlikable and unsympathetic women. The film revolves around his encounters with two sets of beautiful but - you guessed it - shallow, vapid, annoying, obnoxious, unlikable women. The first set of said women (led by screen legend Sidney Poitier's actress daughter), open the film by heading out to score weed, possibly have some wild unprotected sex, submit another to a potentially humiliating yet erotic lap dance, and prepare for a lake house get away they have planned. They spend most of their time driving around and sitting in the bar, talking, or rather droning on and on about nothing with an uninspired blandness worthy of Uma Thurman's Bride in "Kill Bill"; they encounter Stuntman Mike at the bar, and, well, long story short, after even more lackluster dialogue, they get run over by Stuntman Mike, who is hospitalized but lives to see and destroy another day while they die rather horribly.

Cut to 14 months later, we encounter yet another group of beautiful but unlikable and unsympathetic women (including but not limited to Rosario Dawson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and real life stunt woman Zoe Bell "playing" herself - she doubled for Lucy Lawless on TV's Xena Warrior Princess and Uma Thurman in the Kill Bill films) who happen to be working on a movie in the south. Guess what? They also spend most of their time droning on and on with the most uninspired and un-engaging dialogue this side of the coast, and they're just as annoying, obnoxious and unlikable as the first group of women - if not more so (they actually leave Winstead stranded with a Southern lunatic). Well, while out for their aimless drive, with Zoe performing a stunt on the roof of the car, they cross paths with Stuntman Mike, who decides to go after them for no better reason than the fact that they happen to be there and are making asses of themselves on the road. In the midst of this, Mike gets shot and his tough guy persona falls apart and he is reduced to a cowering weakling; the women then turn the tables and chase after him, taunting him with possibly even more venom than he tossed at them, and the film ends with the women basically beating Mike to death in the middle of the road.

What can I say other than this film is overlong, self-indulgent, boring and lacking focus? Stuntman Mike was a potentially interesting anti-hero/villain and Kurt Russell, fine actor that he is, made the most of his role - for the few minutes he's on screen he's the only actor who seems to exhibit anything resembling a personality or feeling - but he is woefully underused and under-developed, and reducing him to a whimpering fool at the end in an apparent attempt to parody the old alpha male tough guy image (which Russell himself wore in earlier, better films) was far from endearing or even funny. As I stated before, the women who appear in the film are among the most repulsive and disgusting characters I've ever seen. It doesn't matter if they're meant to embody "girl power", these women were simply not likable characters, and their absurd dialogue (probably meant to be funny due to its absurd content) only adds insult to injury, and the finale of the film, where the 2nd group of women essentially clobber Mike to death only demonstrates that deep down these women were just as psychotic and despicable as Mike himself. And Zoe Bell, who spends most of her screen time smirking, is no actress; a fine stunt performer yes, but she's no actress. Even worse, "Death Proof" lacks the reckless kinetic energy that defined Tarantino's other films, making his obscenely bad dialogue and repugnant characters all the more unbearable. The car chases are fine, but the film doesn't have enough going for it to justify its absurd running time and unpleasant atmosphere. It was inevitable that after all that praise Tarantino would make a mistake, and this is probably it.
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make it stop, make it stop, won't someone please make it stop!
j-dsouza2424 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is by far the worst piece of self-indulgent pap i've had the displeasure of watching!! First off the dialogue was very wooden, long and boring that actually made you want to be driving Kurt's car!! (And this is not just a man's perspective!)

Secondly, nothing actually happens in the film, there is no real action save for one car crash 30 mins in then one car chase at the end. There's no attempt to tell a story, or build character development, or build any sort of suspense.

Thirdly, the "artistic" film making to make it look like a low budget grindhouse film, fails because these films weren't made to look like that they just did because of the film that was used, lack of budget,etc. This is not an homage to 70s grindhouse or exploitation films, it makes a mockery of them. They were actually good, this is not.

Anyone who tries to cover the total crapness of this film with lines like "if you don't 'get it' or like it, its because you don't understand or get Tarantino". I would say thats is simply an excuse for a director producing really, really poor films.

My biggest concern is that a very good actor (Kurt Russell) may now find new work hard to come by as unfortunately he has the misfortune of having this awful film on his CV

My advice, save your money if you've seen the trailer then thats you seen the film!! It took 2hrs of my life!!!
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Tarantino's B-movie: a spectacular ride!
Max_cinefilo897 June 2007
It all started as an homage to old exploitation cinema and double feature screenings. It was meant to be one of the most shamelessly entertaining films of the year. Sadly, after flopping in the US, Grindhouse has been chopped in two, with Quentin Tarantino's segment, Death Proof, being the first to be released on its own after competing at the Cannes Film Festival. It is not presented in its Grindhouse version, which included scratches, dirt, missing reels and other visual aging techniques; instead, we get the full cut, containing additional information regarding certain plot points and a few "juicy" bits that were left out first time around (a hot lap dance being the best new scene). And while it certainly would be fun to see the entire double-bill in all its glory (hopefully it will get a worldwide DVD release), I must say I really enjoyed QT's half as a separate picture.

As this is intended to be Tarantino's answer to '60s and '70s B-movies, the plot of Death Proof is extremely simple: there is a psychopath, named Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell), who enjoys killing women with his car, a virtually indestructible vehicle ("This car is 100% death proof. Only to get the benefit of it, honey, you REALLY need to be sitting in my seat!"). Whenever he arrives in a new town he selects a group of girls and sets his perverse plan into motion. And unless he runs into someone who is as crazy or drives as well as him, there is no way to stop him.

Those expecting QT's usual stream of film references will be disappointed: apart from a hilarious restaurant scene that sort of spoofs the opening of Reservoir Dogs and a couple of nods to similarly themed horror flicks (and, of course, the casting of Russell, which is a deliberate homage to John Carpenter), the director is not interested in exposing his absolute knowledge of this kind of cinema. This time, he delivers a straightforward genre movie, albeit with his trademark tough women at the center. The trailer promised a wildly fun B-movie, and that's exactly what Death Proof is: a movie like they don't make anymore, old-fashioned, irony-free and exciting as hell.

However, this does not mean Tarantino has set his visual or verbal obsessions aside: the dialogue is as imaginative and surreal as it has always been, and there are enough shots of bare female feet to keep fans happy. Naturally, being this a QT flick, those feet belong to a quality cast: the only real star in the film (apart from the villain, that is) is Rosario Dawson, but she is part of a talented ensemble, which includes Vanessa Ferlito (CSI: NY), Rose McGowan (Scream) and stunt-woman Zoe Bell (who doubled for Uma Thurman in Kill Bill). The mention of honor, though, goes to Russell, who finally has the opportunity to go all bad again, and boy, does he go bad: even when he is pretending to be a friendly chap who offers you a ride home, he exudes a sense of menace that doesn't leave until the end of the picture. Also worth praise are Michael Parks, reprising his role of foul-mouthed sheriff Earl McGraw (of From Dusk till Dawn and Kill Bill fame) and tying the two halves of the film together, and Tarantino himself, popping up as smug, ridiculously likable bartender Warren. The latter is particularly charming because, unlike other times (From Dusk's Richie Gekko is a good example), QT does not try to prove he can act (although he pulled off a remarkable job in Alias). He's just there for the sheer fun, like everyone else.

Pure, unadulterated fun and excitement: that's the key to appreciating Death Proof. Do not expect a smart, unusual take on an overused genre, like the director has done in the past: this time around, he sticks to the rules, delivering a loud, silly, sexy, violent piece of Entertainment with a capital "e". It may not be the best film of 2007, but it sure as hell is one of the most purely enjoyable.
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Not even close
icdrgon23 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was a total disgrace to the genre and shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath as movies that showed in the old Grindhouses. For those that are unaware, a Grindhouse was an establishment that showed exploitation films starting in the late 50's, in the area where I grew up it was mainly drive-ins.

Some of the popular and most common titles of the Grindhouse genre are Death Race 2000, Blacula, Piranha, Boxcar Bertha, Cannibal Hookers, Shogun Assassin, Blood feast, Last House on the Left, Born Loser, Cannibal Holocaust, Dawn of the Dead, to name a very few.

This film starts off boring and only has one redeeming feature that comes way too far into the film to save it and that is a car chase (possible spoiler?) that is pretty well done, but looks to be a whole lot of stunt ideas that have been weaved together to make one (way too long) chase scene. After watching this film it made me truly believe that brief and fleeting brilliance of Tarantino was truly limited to Pulp Fiction (a film that I thoroughly enjoyed) and possibly even From Dusk 'Til Dawn (a stretch) and in his case should be considered only luck but certainly not talent.

The really poor box office response should be a message to all that this film rates the scrapings in the bottom of the barrel and only served to drag a much better 'Grindhouse' soon to be classic named Planet Terror down with it (poor Robert).

Thank the distributors for deciding to release the DVD's separately. I have a collection of over 400 such Grindhouse films and will not be adding this one, but will be adding Planet Terror...but that is another review.
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Remembrance cinema at its best!
Luke Bone14 January 2008
This is an absolutely brilliant film and a film that I could watch over and over. Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino this film seems to have divided audiences like no other, it has been adored and despised in many quarters and there seems to be no middle ground for opinion. It is cited, by Tarantino himself, as being a remembrance to the B movies of the 60s and 70s through the guise of Grindhouse cinema. In order to fully appreciate what Tarantino has done then I would agree that you must be at least familiar (on some level) with the films of that genre and era and familiar with Grindhouse cinema and its workings. It is not an absolute necessity to be fully aware of this type of film-making but it helps if you want to completely appreciate this film.

Grindhouse cinema was never revered in its day and many have questioned its reprisal. For an audience to require adequate knowledge of such a minnow in cinema history is regarded by many critics as asking too much and is adduced as being a major factor in its downfall. This is due to the belief that Tarantino has made a film for too niche a market, and as a consequence it should be of no surprise that it flopped at the box office. This is something that I whole heartedly disagree with because, to the contrary, I believe that Tarantino has made his most selfish film to date, he has made something that he wanted to... that no studio dictated... no executive planned and no audience asked for, this film is 100 percent his and it just so happens that not that many people like it, all great directors make films that fit into this category.

A major critique of Death Proof has been that it contains a lot of dialogue, but I feel that this should be expected as it is a remembrance to Grindhouse cinema and these types of movies are notorious for the amount of talk they can contain and the amount of "build up" they might have and Tarantino himself is recognised as being a writer that emphasises the dialogue in his films. Modern cinema goers are likely to not have the patience for such an offering and thus dismiss its significance and become agitated at a lack of "action" and this is evident from some of the reviews on this website.

The film is about two separate sets of voluptuous women who are stalked by a stuntman called Mike that uses his death proof cars to execute the women. The essence of the story at the heart of Death Proof is that it's impeccably nostalgic as it insinuates to the very essence of cult, it is a forged story because of its countless renditions and numerous re-tellings by the way of novels, films and tales. Being familiar with such a story allows for an ease in understanding and following of narrative – a common attribute in cult films. The voluptuous women, or female characters, in the film are all so similar in appearance yet all so different in disposition, because the film is essentially split into two parts we witness the floundering of one set of female characters and the resurgence in dominance of another. The female empowerment in Death Proof is symbolic to a desire for masculinity which is so wonderfully conveyed by their attempt in "taming" the car (I shouldn't need to mention what the car is symbolic of). It's often perceived that in these films masculinity must be achieved in order to succeed, which in itself is a direct reference to the inspired B movies of Russ Meyer.

On a personal level I was happy to watch a film that accomplishes its stunt work without any CGI and re-live many of the films I dismissed too eagerly in my youth. Being a homage the film is littered with references, the most notable of which being the casting of Kurt Russell – a deliberate nod to the master of cult (and horror) John Carpenter (the shirt worn by Jack Burton, from Big Trouble In Little China, is visible on the wall in the bar), The Dodge Challenger driven by Stuntman Mike has the plate numbers OA5599, which correspond to the white Dodge Challenger from the heavily referenced film Vanishing Point. The film also contains lots of Tarantino-esquire moments, from the copious amount of foot shots to re-appearance of Sheriff Earl McGraw, and there are some moments of pure Tarantino ingenuity i.e. the four-shot death scene, the reversed hospital set, the lap dance, the shot of the car in the rain, Stuntman Mikes nod to the third person and the wonderfully constructed soundtrack. Upon seeing Death Proof I immediately watched it again as I felt it deserved it. Enjoy.
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When discussing the worst films ever made...
polysicsarebest27 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
...this is the one that most of my friends seem to agree is the absolute worst.

This film is truly, utterly, amazingly awful in every way. I have a deep love and appreciation for grindhouse films, and I, uh, appreciate what Tarantino was trying to do here: Make a mainstream tribute to unmainstream films. The problem is, Tarantino crafted something worse than even the most awful sludge that grindhouse cinema ever churned out.

Where to start? No characters are likable. There's literally 40 minutes of patience-testing conversation that goes nowhere and leads to nothing. I don't mind lots of dialog at all, but when the dialog ranges from, "Man, that guy is cute" to "Man, I need some weed" ... I mean, really now, who wants to hear this stuff?! There's no violence, except for some punching at the end and one car accident. There's no humor. There's nothing smart or charming about this movie. There's nothing interesting whatsoever happening in ANY scene in the movie! There's nothing to like about this film -- I can't stress this enough! Basically, this film is watching 3 people you hate having boring conversations for 40 minutes... then, just when you think it's over (because of about 5 minutes of scenes of a car wreck and a hospital visit), 3 MORE people sit around and have boring conversations for another half an hour about nothing. Then, just when you think something's going to happen, a girl rides on a car for 20 minutes. She just rides on the front of a car. Then, the girls punch a guy. The end. That's the entire film... does that really sound appealing to anyone? So, to sum things up, here's a film that isn't dramatic, isn't funny, isn't fun, isn't likable from any angle, ironic or not. The ultimate anti-film. You WILL be disappointed. And I say this as a huge fan of b-movies and a mild fan of Tarantino.
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Bored Proof
elSonny25 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Yes, it was directed by Tarantino a guy who made youknowwhatbrilliantfilms in the past but whom seems to have lost his edge absolutely. This could have been made into a short movie minutes. I don't recall such an awful and meaningless dialogue among the characters in a film which 114 minutes. Nonsense gaily talk for most part of the movie. OK we all love that lap dance but anyway what was the point? Come on Quentin what happened to you man? I reckon that being a multimillionaire does not help very much your creativity.but it will be difficult to made a worse flick. I only felt sorry for Kurt Russel being wasted as he was. You can openly see the potential of his character but feel pity how this mess ended up One last thing, wasn't that car supposed to be deathproof?But not girlsproof? hahaha So do yourself a favour and watch this as a substitute for an sleeping pill when shown eventually late at night on TV.
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Steer Clear
phantomfears16 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is by far and away the worst Tarantino film I have seen. An hour and a half or more (time begins to lose its meaning when watching this rubbish) and 95% of it is spent watching either group of 4 women "having a laugh" with each other. Basically this involves unrealistic swearing and dialogue which would have been slightly more believable had it been men saying the lines. There is a short break for a minute or two while the first group of women are killed. After another interminable fly on the wall peek at a further group dribbling on there is an attempt to kill them followed by them deciding to kill Kurt Russels character. This film is reminiscent of a 5 year old's first attempt inexplicably brought to life. Previously I would watch one of Tarantino's films without reading more into it. Now I would have to read some positive reviews. An hour and a half or so I will never get back.
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Tarantino Plumbs New Depths
philip-caveney28 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Death Proof

I resisted watching this for ages, I really did; but stuck in a London hotel with nothing else new to watch, I finally succumbed. And oh, how I wish I hadn't.

Of course, everyone is by now familiar with the Grindhouse story; how Tarantino and best buddy, Robert Rodriguez, decided to assemble a couple of shoddy-looking 'drive-in' movies and put them out together in a double bill; how said double bill failed to lure in audiences; and how the films were then re-edited for individual release in a desperate attempt to claw back some of their budget. (The films may look cheap but they weren't). Now, I've already seen Planet Terror, Rodriguez's contribution to the double bill and I have to say that though it's no masterpiece, it looks like Citizen bloody Kane compared to Tanantino's effort.

I've long been known that Quentin longs to be black, but from the evidence of Death Proof, what he really longs to be is a black woman. How else are we to explain the seemingly endless succession of conversations that bookend the two car chases that are the only other element of this dismal excuse for a movie? A bunch of females sit around, drinking, smoking and talking… and talking… and talking. About nothing. Presumably we're supposed to find what they're saying hilarious, but it's frankly an ageing white man's idea about what hip young women might have to say to each other and is consequently as convincing as the awkward supporting performances contributed by Mr Tarantino and his other best buddy, Eli Roth, creator of the Hostel torture-porn films, and another 'film-maker' currently wanted for crimes against viewers.

Into this tedium wanders Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) a scarred psychopath who likes nothing better than killing young women in car wrecks. No explanation is given for this unsavoury hobby; perhaps he simply finds their endless yapping as irritating as I did. At any rate, he stalks four women then kills them in a head-on collision. A couple of good ol' boy cops wander on to say that hot damn, they can't do a Godamned thing about it because there's no proof that Mike did it on purpose and so he's let go and then he homes in on three other young women, and they drink and smoke and talk for ages and then…

Look, I don't even know why I'm bothering to give you any plot details, since it's virtually non existent and really all this pile of misogynistic crap exists for is to invite viewers to gloat as a series of attractive, partially-clothed females perform pole dances and then have their bodies torn to shreds in automobile accidents. Tarantino once possessed a smidgen of genuine talent but these days seems to revel in a pool of retarded sexuality that wouldn't disgrace a fourteen year old. And Quentin, it may seem hilarious to you to pepper the film with smudges and scratches and awkward jump cuts, but believe me, no amount of it is going to hide the fact that this is witless, sexist crap of the lowest order. See, what would have been good is if you'd applied these techniques to a genuinely engaging story, then you'd have had something entertaining and maybe, just maybe audiences would have come to see your original double bill. But let's be honest, it's a long time since Pulp Fiction, the last genuinely good thing you were associated with and from what I've been hearing about your next project – Inglorious Bastards – my hopes are not high for any kind of progress in the near future.
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I don't understand why, but this is the film of the year for me
Fizzwizz4 November 2007
I can't figure this out, and I sincerely apologise if this is a useless review but Tarantino has done it again.

I find it difficult to explain why this film hit the spot when so many others did not. Tarantino definitely has a handle on reality, and doesn't need to create artificial story lines and make believe monsters to thrill and intrigue his audience. This is a film that illustrates our everyday idiosyncrasies and shows us both the real, yet dark side of humanity, and shows us that real life is far more exciting and intriguing than fantasy.

The dialogue between characters was funny, real, and interesting. Bringing together a variety of different characters (eg cheerleader, successful celebrity, ghetto girlie etc), he illustrates the common traits of the human psychology that we all pretend don't exist. Most other films take us into unrealistic fantasy, Tarantino knows reality is far more exciting!

Kurt Russell surpassed himself. He's been absent for too long, and his part in Death Proof leaves me wanting to see more from him. His acting was superb and I hope this film relights his career and we see more from him soon.

I definitely saw touches of Pulp Fiction in this film, but in a subtly different way.

Cinematography was awesome, and the use of weird and wonderful camera techniques made this film more than just interesting.

When it comes to films I'm a tough critic, I'm disappointed far more than I'm surprised so giving a 10 out of 10 for me is very unusual.

This is a clever, interesting, and unusual film that will appeal to serious lovers of movies. Tarantino is both a movie scholar and genius. I bow before you Quentin and hope desperately to see more like this.

Many thanks ... Shaun
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misbegotten28 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
While I enjoyed Death Proof, I've got no particular wish to ever see it again.

It's got Tarantino's usual high-quality naturalist dialogue, good performances by a mostly female cast (it's official - I'm in love with Mary Elizabeth Winstead), most of the opening scenes are shot and styled using Seventies techniques, and the legend that is Kurt Russell adds another memorable character to his CV.

But for the majority of it's nearly-two-hours running time, it's also very, very dull.

Incidentally, I've heard a theory that with Death Proof, Tarantino is referencing an industry practice that often took place on the grindhouse and drive-in film circuits back in the Seventies. Apparently if a movie had one or more sequels, distributors would sometimes edit together footage from a couple of the films, slap a new title on the result, and release it into cinemas in the hope of tricking punters that it was a new movie. This is said to be the reason why the opening titles of Death Proof briefly display the title Quentin Tarantino's 'Thunderbolt' for a couple of frames, before the Death Proof title card (in a completely different font and background) appears.

If true, this explains why the film is basically split down the middle, with two locations and two sets of characters, with Stuntman Mike - the villain of the imaginary series - being the only link. The idea is that we watching two separate movies that have been pasted together. It could be argued that Death Proof is one big obscure in-joke.
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Oh my god what the f...
clalegon197731 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I never thought this would happen, but Tarantino has finally lost it. He's become a feminist, we get it OK. Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, and now Death Proof and Planet Terror, women are invincible, and if they work in the movie business they are unstoppable. This movie is Long indeed, and the characters are so 1 dimensional. They expend the first 50 minutes talking talking, and no action what so ever. And when the action starts it last 40 seconds and cut. The actors are so lame and the dialog is suppose to be deep and entertaining. IT'S NOT! And why make a character as cool as stuntman Mike, and then make him a complete pussy. This movie is bad avoid at all costs. Q.T. rest in peace.
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One of the worst movies ever!
aargyrou10 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
For a whole entire year I'd been excited to see Death Proof. But let me tell you something, this ain't no insane action movie that everybody had expected it to be. The whole film was a bunch of girls talking about girl stuff. And what an upset Madman Mike was. He was supposed to be the ultimate villain, well at least I thought. He ain't no bad man, he's begging three girls not to kick his ass, and at the end he gets the crap beaten out of him. I tried and tried to make myself like Death Proof but I couldn't. I preferred Mr. Nanny to this garbage. I don't recommend this film to anybody. Even the car chase scene was disappointing, it was supposed to be some epic car chase, but it wasn't nothing I ain't seen in the Fast and the Furious movies. It was truly a big disappointment. Watching this is no different than watching 4 episodes of The Hills. If your a big Tarantino fan like I am I recommend you avoid this movie
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At last! An offering to supplant "Going Overboard" as the worst movie of all time!
peter-105724 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Mr. Tarantino, you've excelled yourself and achieved something I thought to be impossible: to create a movie worse than anything else I have EVER seen.

So what's the idea? The film quality is variable; if you were trying to create an 'effect' at least have it the same all the way through and have some continuity. The sound quality is only good when we hear the roar of Mr Russell's car and those garbled scenes involving women clearly suffering from Tourette's syndrome.

Did the concept of a plot get discarded along the way, perhaps? There is no clue given as to why Mr Russell might get his kicks wanting to snuff the lives of so many women, although I found them so boring and irritating that I would gladly have driven the car for him.

If this is really the best that you can do for us, I have a suggestion for you: pop down to your local DVD rental shop and ask them if you can get a job. It's where you started and where you deserve to end up after giving the world this abortion of a movie.
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One of the most underrated films!
Matt-Canalcon22 August 2015
I honestly think Death Proof is one of the most underrated films at the time I'm writing this (2015). A lot of people on this board seem to complain about the dialogue or the delivery of some of the actors. I personally think this movie has a lot of punch with a strong car chase sequence, very good actors, well-written script....and a perfect soundtrack!

I really like how the first part of the movie is a classic slasher/horror movie and the second part is a great throwback to "car movies".

Death Proof came out in 2007 and I remember watching this movie with my friend and having a really good time. I watched the movie another time a few years later and really enjoyed it to for other reasons, especially the classic car chase sequence.

Now it's 2015, I've just watched Death Proof for a third time and it's still a blast to watch. The music is perfect, the movie is very funny, and I love the performance from Kurt Russell, Sydney Poitier (Jungle Julia) and all the other supporting characters.

R.I.P. Sally Menke, I really love her work on this movie...not only for the great grindhouse "jump cuts" but also for one of my favorite scene halfway through the movie that I won't mention and the awesome 11-min well edited car chase.

I gave the movie a strong 9/10 and I hope this movie will have a better reputation 5-10 years from now. Great work from Quentin Tarantino!
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It might be death proof but it isn't suck proof.
CalinWins2 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is HORRIBLE, not only is 80% of the movie skanky woman talking about how skanky they are.

Not only does the end completely ruin the film it also brings on the most fictional thing in the universe, woman that can drive, and kills off the only character you EVER felt in any way respect for.

Here we go, The acting is terrible, the scene changes make you want to vomit, the plot probably came about when Quintin mistaked dog crap for weed and smoked it and lets not even start with defining a reason for anything in this film.

If you want a movie that you will not want to burn after watching then don't touch this, ever, don't even look at it you might get Bad-Movie-itis and start smoking anal ejaculate like our director buddy Quinton.
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Good movie proof
blackaugust793 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
First and foremost Quentin Tarantino is the most overrated director on the planet! I've seen Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill Vol. 1 and now this and I think I've had my fill of his movies. Why? Because they are all the same. Bunch of people blab about meaningless things mixed with over-the-top violence, mixed with incessant profanity sums up his movies in a nutshell. I wanted to believe that he can change his style around and give you something different but after seeing this its obvious that he cant.

Death Proof in a nutshell: a couple of whores yap about meaningless things for an hour, get on the road and are killed by a crazed driver called Stuntman(Kurt Russell). Another group of girls are stalked by Stuntman, they survive and plan to deal with him while he turns into a craven wimp in the middle of the movie. They catch up with him and beat the snot out of him. The end.

Nobody does anything that resembles acting here. Just a bunch of stupid people that yap about nothing for hours mixed with a stupid race scene. Kurt Russell is wasted on here as Stuntman. If I was the father of any of those broads(including the legendary Sydney Poitier), I would hang my head in shame. These dingbats are really inane and crass but then again when have you ever seen a respectable woman in a Tarantino flick? In short don't waste another minute on another overrated Tarantino flick. All of his movies are alike and he gets way too many undeserved kudos in this world. Now I know I've upset his fanboy fan base that foam at the mouth like a rabid dog groupie every time he's mentioned and to that I say I don't give a damn about your feelings! As a matter of fact you have no feelings of your own. You feel like what ever the consensus feels like. Just pathetic! Its lowlife followers like you that keep over-hyped clowns like that tranny toe sucking Quentin Tarantino around when much better directors with actual talent starve to death. Its a shame when hacks like Quentin Tarantino get all the shine when directors and writers with real talent are ignored. Death Proof sucks as well as all of Tarantino's movies as well as his blind sheep fan base.
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Quentin Tarantino at his Best and Worst
DaveDiggler2 May 2008
Only a Tarantino film can give you the feeling of pure boredom and electric intensity all at the same time. Both can come of simple conversation and over-the-top action. "Death Proof" is the quintessential Tarantino film, where he has long, drawn out conversations that are constantly interrupted yet free flowing and very natural as the characters talk about everyday things (pop culture) and use quirky old sayings. Tarantino is easily the greatest writer you could think of for pure dialogue and even though that's his greatest asset, it's also his biggest flaw. The film is cut into two halves and the first half is excellent. The ending is great (in both halves), but man, did that middle nearly put you to sleep or what?!?! It's not that it was incredibly boring material. The problem was: This was two similar movies smashed into one, with a ton of common parallels, Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell), being the main figure. The second half doubles back on the first half; ultimately repeating itself. The women are powerful. They can control men because men are pigs and only think with their little heads as the women in charge tease them with their sexuality. Even though the girls aren't whores, they surely push the limits because when they don't put out, they'll get a guys respect- a common theme with both the first half and the second coming from eight different women who all think the same. The standout female performance came from Vanessa Ferlito (Arlene) who brought a certain flare to the screen that made the viewer care for her more than anyone else. She nailed this performance and carried the first half along with Russell.

The dialogue (and there is a ton of it) is, as usual, captivating at the start. "Death Proof" is a faller, not a riser, but the action packed ending is strong enough to give this fair remarks. This is a common issue with Tarantino. "Kill Bill Vol. 2" may have had the longest, most drawn out ending this side of "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly," and the worst part is that we know exactly what's going to happen, because, like most Tarantino films, the women usually come out on top. The first half of the film is flawless. The conversation is perfect. The mysteriousness of Stuntman Mike- who has a thing for car crashes and testing the "death proof" slogan that goes along with his "scary" car- is great and the best part is that we never know where the movie is going to end (Or at least this story). Kurt Russell actually gave a very strong performance. His look was great and when he imitates John Wayne that should crack everyone up even if they don't know what John Wayne sounded like. The ending to the first half of the movie is great and the look of the picture is incredible as Tarantino pays homage to the 70s style look. You have random cutaways, intentionally poor editing where the conversation will skip, double back, and some parts will completely cut away (During a lap dance, too) at what feels like an inopportune time, but that's what makes it so great. The texture and overall look is dazzling right from the very first shot of one of the girls feet rockin' away- to a modernized Scorsese styled, catchy beat- on the dashboard against a light blue sky. Tarantino, stylistically, has a style all his own and this was great to see.

The second half of the film brings in four more women that walk, talk, and act just like the four we seen in the first half. The film doubles back on itself and repeats the first half over again, just with different girls. The conversations are the same (all about sex), but there's one difference: "these girls will fight back." That will bring us to a wonderful stunt worked, high speed, well choreographed, and even better shot car chase that just doesn't want to end and I guess, in a way, that's okay. We deserve to indulge in a thrilling sequence for as long as it was after Tarantino toyed with our concentration and focus; dulling us with repetitive banter. Zoe Bell, the stunt women, had too many speaking parts. She's not a good actress where the first group of girls were much, much better and more engrossing. The last four girls weren't all that effective (Maybe because we seen it all before just minutes earlier). The final sequence will leave you laughing, not only because it's ridiculous, but how long it lasts and the camera work along with Russell' face is very funny. "Death Proof" was, for the most part, an enjoyable film, but this same old Tarantino song and dance is running on thin ice. Conversation, as always, in a Tarantino film is starting to take over more than ever for plot and the second half of "Death Proof" nearly ruins a nearly flawless first half. There's not much here in regards of plot and a lot of people are going to be getting sick of tired, pointless, going-no-where talk. It's time Tarantino reinvents himself.
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Tarantino? Really?
Neil Welch29 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Once upon a time there was this director called Quentin Tarantino who showed a great deal of promise. Then he made Death Proof.

I understand the grindhouse conceit and I discount the grindhouse elements as far as I can.

This just simply isn't a very good film. The story, even within the grindhouse genre, makes no sense. Tarantino's flair for character and dialogue seems to have deserted him - peppering the script with four letter words just for the sake of it does not make a good script. The dreadlocked lady in the second half of the movie spouts caricatured profanity to such a ludicrous extent that it becomes both tiresome and offensive (and, for what it's worth, the DVD's subtitles insert extra F-bombs which aren't even spoken). And, putting the bad language to one side, there are a number of stupefyingly banal and boring conversations between these groups of women, none of which has any plot relevance whatsoever, and all of which go on for what seems like hours.

Over the top is fine - insulting the audience by selling them your private joke as if it's decent quality movie entertainment isn't.

Here's hoping that the 6th film by Quentin Tarantino is better than the 5th - it would have to go some to be worse.
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