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Director Quentin Tarantino delivers an adrenaline shot to the heart with Death Proof, a tribute to balls-out pedal-to-the-metal car chases (Pete Hammond, Maxim). Featuring exhilarating high-speed action, jaw-dropping stunts, and some of the most quotable lines since Pulp Fiction, Death Proof goes faster, and funnier, than you thought possible...and then it goes further (Ty Burr, Boston Globe). Kurt Russell stars as a sociopathic stuntman whose taste for stalking sexy young ladies gets him into big trouble when he tangles with the wrong gang of badass babes. Their confrontation escalates to a hair-raising, 18-minute automotive duel with one of the girls strapped to the hood of a thundering Dodge Challenger that earns a place of honor among the great movie car chases (Scott Foundas, LA Weekly).
Loud, fast, and proudly out of control,
Grindhouse is a tribute to the low-budget exploitation movies that lurked at drive-ins and inner city theaters in the '60s and early '70s. Writers/directors Quentin Tarantino (
Kill Bill) and Robert Rodriguez (
Sin City) cooked up this three-hour double feature as a way to pay homage to these films, and the end result manages to evoke the down-and-dirty vibe of the original films for an audience that may be too young to remember them. Tarantino's
Death Proof is the mellower of the two, relatively speaking; it's wordier (as to be expected) and rife with pulp/comic book posturing and eminently quotable dialogue. It also features a terrific lead performance by Kurt Russell as a homicidal stunt man whose weapon of choice is a souped-up car. Tarantino's affection for his own dialogue slows down the action at times, but he does provide showy roles for a host of likable actresses, including Rosario Dawson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rose McGowan, Sydney Poitier, and newcomer Zoe Bell, who was Uma Thurman's stunt double in
Kill Bill. Detractors may decry the rampant violence and latch onto a sexist undertone in Tarantino's feature, but for those viewers who grew up watching these types of films in either theaters or on VHS, such elements will be probably be more of a virtue than a detrimental factor. --
In regard to the
Extended and Unrated part of
Death Proof's two-disc DVD presentation, director Quentin Tarantino has essentially provided the version of the film he showed at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006, which ran some 30 minutes longer than the 85-minute version shown during
Grindhouse's theatrical run. The additional footage is given mainly to dialogue between the female cast, as well as the much-discussed lapdance sequence featuring Kurt Russell's Stuntman Mike and Vanessa Ferlito's Butterfly, which was removed from the theatrical version (and replaced with an amusing Missing Reel edit). Hardcore devotees of Tarantino's dialogue and its penchant for referring all manner of obscure pop culture material will undoubtedly enjoy the additional scenes, while those that felt that the theatrical version slowed to a crawl due to the conversations may find themselves reaching for the fast-forward button. However, it's hard to imagine that any self-respecting grindhouse movie fan would take issue with the restored lapdance.
As for the special features, which get the entire second disc in the set, they highlight a fun and familial atmosphere behind the scenes that contrasts greatly with the white-knuckle action of Death Proof. It's also sure to please Tarantino fans by providing a further look into the decisions and thought processes that brought the film to life. The director is featured prominently throughout the six short featurettes that comprise the special features; it's a fair trade for a traditional commentary track (which Tarantino excels at), and he gives his standard passionate and knowledgeable testimony about his cast and crew, as well as his reasons for hiring the diverse players in the feature. Stunts on Wheels: The LFeatures