We live in precarious times where now, more than ever the
adage ‘a penny saved, is a penny earned’ is more appropriate than ever. That
said, it’s a mitzvah that I warn you about Quentin Tarrantino’s
latest grisly offering.
“Grindhouse” is without doubt the ultimate homage to a deranged mind. It is
actually two movies fused together by mock theatrical trailers, a farkuked
attempt at recreating the 70s and 80s double feature ‘B’ movies, called in the
industry a ‘grindhouse’. The plot(s) are sketchy and irrational, and the acting
is at best, two-dimensional. In both cases, violence for the sake of violence is
preeminent, giving way only to the absurdity and redundancy of the plots.
One of the ‘movies’, called “Planet Terror”, is little more than an over the top
rehash of “Night of the Living Dead”. It stars Rose McGowan, a one legged
woman who’s limb is replaced by a retrofitted shotgun, making her look like the
bastard daughter of Rambo and Long John Silver, with a bissel of
Scooby-do when she lifts her leg to fire it. Like a break dancing hit man, she
fires away while spinning like a whirling dervish, or makes jumps that would
astound Jackie Chan himself. Like the violence, the sexual undertones are
gratuitous and incredulous, put in only to titillate for the sake of
The second ‘movie’, entitled “Deathproof”, features Kurt Russell as a
psychotic stunt driver who kills a woman with his car, not unlike ‘Christine’
(but with a driver) and brings to mind Jack Nicholson’s role in “The
Shining” but without the comedic overtones. (who must have been smoking Dutch
Cleanser when he signed on to this forgettable opus,) manages to give a
performance that’s thoroughly disgusting, and disturbingly convincing to boot.
Even as the moody, misanthropic Snake Pliskin,( ‘Escape from New York’, and
‘Escape from L.A.,) Russell was able to bring a renegade charm to the character.
But that is unsettlingly absent in this. Russell’s role is one that redefines
‘bad guy’ to the point where after ten minutes, the viewer is thinking, “Genug
shoyne, kill the mamzer off!”
“Grindhouse”, to be sure, is Tarrantino at his best. Gory, mindlessly violent
and not one likable character in the whole movie. The actors do the best they
can with the writing they had to work with, but expectedly the result falls
short of anything worth the price of admission. The special effects range from
astonishing, to bloody and in some cases downright cartoonish, parodying the
derring-do found in those cheesy Japanese animes kids so love to watch.
Likewise, it falls short of the intended attempt at recreating anything. These
are ‘A’ budget movies, and look like it. The movies that supposedly inspired
this debacle were always haphazard films that were the end result of low
budgets, long hours and a total disregard for quality. Had Tarrantino opted to
try to recreate the bad camerawork and substandard film quality overall, it
might have helped. Obviously he had hoped to have his cake and eat it too, but
ultimately he ends up with no cake and an unsatisfied sweet tooth.
If you’re a fan of Tarrantino’s work, you’ll probably enjoy “Grindhouse”. It’s
total Tarrantino fare, overflowing with mindless mayhem and endless obscenities.
If not, my advice is stay home, break out the Orville Redenbacher, and
slide in a DVD of “The Thing” and remember Kurt Russell as he used to be.
Till next month, Gang!