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Genre: Action/Horror/Thriller
Rated: R
Directed by:
Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino
Rose McGowan, Kurt Russell, Bruce Willis, Freddy Rodriguez, Marley Shelton, Josh Brolin, Naveen Andrews, Michael Biehn, Michael Parks, Rosario Dawson, Zoe Bell, Jordan Ladd, Sydney Tamiia Poitier
Released by: The Weinstein Company

In Short: Oozing zombies, maniacal killers, and retro trailers can’t make this three-hour violence fest actually worth sitting through.

Goopy Gore
A Three-Hour Slog
by Jenny Peters

There’s a reason that those crummy B-movie theaters of the Sixties and Seventies were called a “Grindhouse.” For only really desperate people (mostly men) were willing to spend hours inside them, feet sticking to the floor in who-knows-what as they sat through incredibly bad double features, sexploitation/blacksploitation pictures run back-to-back with horribly dubbed, plotless Kung Fu features or grossly violent horror flicks.

For writer-directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, those low-brow movies are something to be revered and emulated, thus they have collaborated to give us “Grindhouse,” a three-hour homage to that whole experience, right down to the scratchy film stock and the cheesy previews (which are the best thing about this whole experience).

Kurt Russell and Rose McGowan in Deathproof

Rodriguez wrote and directed “Planet Terror,” the first installment, as well as “Machete,” the first preview. That trailer is the best thing by far in the long trek to the finale of this backside-numbing event, a hilarious satiric take on violent sexy-revenge-filled B movies. Unfortunately, the rest of the experience is not nearly as amusing or satisfying.

“Planet Terror” is a zombie flick, filled with undead that ooze pus and have their genitals drip off just at the moment that they are about to rape our gutsy protagonist, actress Rose McGowan, who loses her leg early on and eventually replaces it with a machine gun. There are plenty of other groan-inducing moments in Rodriguez’s homage to the genre, but at least he paces his film briskly, so that boredom never quite sets in, despite the repetition of gross-out elements.

Rose McGowan as Cherry

Quentin Tarantino is not so successful in his half of “Grindhouse,” with the second feature called “Death Proof.” For by the time Kurt Russell, as a marauding lunatic with a souped-up death car, actually springs into maniacal action and begins murdering cute co-eds, not only has your behind gone to sleep, but you practically have, too.

Yes, there are some inspired moments, and some amusing performances peppered in among the gore and violence (Zoe Bell, stuntwoman turned star, gives a particularly rousing turn as a woman who refuses to be victimized in “Death Proof”), but this “Grindhouse” is only for the hardcore fan of bad B movies. In our book, life is too short to spend three hours of it watching this flick.


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