Review: Death Proof (2007)

D: Quentin Tarantino
S: Kurt Russell, Zoe Bell, Rosario Dawson, Rose McGowan

I know what QT was trying to do with this movie.  That doesn't mean, however, that I liked it.  In fact, when compared to Robert Rodriguez' outing in the Grindhouse two-parter, this looks like a rookie film from beginning to end.  The plot is okay, but the execution, the scripting, and most importantly the acting just are horrible throughout.  Planet Terror was fun...lots of fun.  Death Proof is just lame.  It's mean-spirited, and although it attempts at the end to be a "girl-power" film, Tarantino could've picked any number of better genres to play around with.  But he didn't, and unfortunately this is the outcome.

The problem is, the basic story is interesting - former stuntman builds a "death proof" vehicle that he uses as a weapon of mass murder.  He follows drunken 20-somethings onto abandoned roads, and then - sober as a judge - he rams them off the road in the most horrific manner possible.  And the first attack truly is fun to watch (and, well, a bit horrifying at the same time).  However, once we leave the terror genre and turn the film into a 1970s version of Charlie's Angels meets the Spice Girls, everything goes downhill.  Yes, it's supposed to be a story of retribution, of the bad guy getting his in the end.  And it is, but in such a sad and pathetic fashion that it's beyond anticlimactic.

QT should go back to writing - after Pulp Fiction, his directorial chops have just fizzled out.  Yes, that's an unpopular opinion, but it's mine.  I still enjoy his writing, the banter between characters that's his signature...but when he directs (or even worse, cameos in) his own movies, there's just something missing in the final product.
If you really feel as though you have to watch one of the Grindhouse movies, take Planet Terror over this one any day of the week.  The only people I can really see enjoying all of Death Proof are tried and true QT apologists or completists.  It's just really not good, not even "bad" good.