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Death Proof Reviews

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Kase V

Super Reviewer

January 27, 2013
Tarantino's exercise in slasher-type thriller is almost hypnotic in its first half, but really seems to lose its touch as it goes on. Kurt Russell is great in the lead role, even if his creepy allure is lost in the films' final third. Satisfyingly thrilling and cleverly shot, 'Death Proof' may be one of Tarantino's weaker films, but it's still a terrific ride. A great ode to grindhouse cinema and italian slashers.
Eric A

Super Reviewer

December 27, 2012
Combined with Planet Terror, it makes for a cool film. I would have to say that I liked this one more (maybe my Tarantino bias) because the events in the movie could actually happen in real life. I guess i'm a sucker for realism.
cosmo313
cosmo313

Super Reviewer

September 19, 2007
While Planet Terror absolutely wallowed in the essence of grindhouse cinema, and had much more action, Death Proof is more reverential and salutory, and captures the spirit of grindhouse much better. Dialogue consumes most of the running time (of the Grindhouse double feature and single film extended version), and while it is very reminiscent of past QT works, and has a lot going for it, it is not as great as the dialogue of works like Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. Kurt Russell is terrific as Stuntman Mike, and both sets of girls put in decent performances as well, even though some might call them crappy. The way I see it, the film was never planned to be Oscar-worthy, so expecting that kind of thing is asinine. The 4 shot death sequence and the final half hour (extended cut) are the best parts- especially the "ship's mast" and chase sequence finale bits. As always with a Tarantino film, the retro soundtrack is unparalleled in both it's overall brilliance, and in its usage. There are lots of gems that QT picked that would make any collector of obscure retro music have an audio orgasm.

All in all, a fun, though lesser work.
garyX
garyX

Super Reviewer

July 21, 2007
A twisted stunt driver turned serial killer specialising in "vehicular homicide" meets his match when he takes on a pair of female stunt drivers on R'n'R. The Tarantino section of the cinematic release Grindhouse had me thinking that Quentin had finally dropped the ball. After half an hour of girl chat (which was obviously written by a man, making it very reminiscent of Kevin Smith and Chasing Amy in particular) and wriggling asses I found my attention wandering a little. And then Kurt stepped into his "death proof" car, and he suddenly reminded me of how cool he (or rather Snake Plissken) used to be. One spectacular crash later, it grinds to a halt again. But thankfully this leads up to a final half hour that was more than worth the wait, as the would be victims turn the tables and turn into Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill! bitch queens from hell. It did have its flaws; it could easily have lost a good half an hour of girl chat (I couldn't help wondering how much was restored padding for the non-Grindhouse DVD release), it's a little light on plot, and QT inexplicably decided to ditch the lo-fi retro photography half way through, but this film all about the finale which is well worth the wait.
Graham J

Super Reviewer

March 25, 2012
A misunderstood film. Watching Grindhouse in theaters was one of the best filmgoing experiences I've had. I especially loved QT's seemingly minimul film after the comedy and carnage of Rodriguez's Planet Terror. With biting dialogue, great car stunts and some bad a** b*****s, this one is pure fun.
Albert K

Super Reviewer

May 30, 2012
What's up with all the hate? Seems to me like it's Tarantino doing his normal thing, and trust me -- Tarantino's normal affair usually equates to above-average, innovative film fare.

Jumping on in, I was expecting an unconventional slasher flick. "Oh jeez, one of those...", I thought. From the prolonged focus on plotless chitchat, the strange premise, and Tarantino's homage to the "outdated" genre of grindhouse films, I could definitely see the hate towards "Death Proof". That expectation was quickly smashed. Tarantino's direction and writing skill is so unequivocally impressive, "Death Proof" is a mark of how films should be done -- in other words, he's done a masterful job.

This is, in no way, a B-movie slasher flick that is trying to slap in cheap admiration to grindhouse films; it's surprisingly a verbose but intensely clever film that's oozes movie magic that seemingly everyone in Hollywood is trying to emulate but failing at. There IS a quirky narrative; there ARE grindhouse camera mechanics and "sloppy" editing. However, Tarantino has done such an extraordinary job that I'm compelled to not categorize "Death Proof" as a mere B-movie, rash, entertainment blockbuster; it is a glorified, stylish homage to the style of grindhouse that acts as a standalone film that exceeds on all forefronts. Plus, it's got some of the greatest stunt work to date.

Is this Tarantino's black sheep? No... HELL no. This is further testament as to why Quentin Tarantino is one of the greatest directors and writers of our era. Yeah, I may have enjoyed other movies by Quentin, but doesn't mean that "Death Proof" is a bad movie. "Death Proof" is a wildly good time that exhibits an ambiance of a traditional, flabbergasting cinematic experience that exudes movie magic.
Daniel L

Super Reviewer

September 15, 2011
A film that should be seen for what it is: An amusing and thrilling Grindhouse film.
sanjurosamurai
sanjurosamurai

Super Reviewer

December 2, 2007
entertaining and featuring a few great moments, the summation of the film falls a bit short of anything memorable. the photography was the best part, and russell was excellent as stunt man mike, but overall this is only a must see for big tarantino fans.
Idrees K

Super Reviewer

September 1, 2011
Tarantino, you have disappointed me. It has it's high points but does not come together well
Ken S

Super Reviewer

May 30, 2007
Better than Planet Terror...no I'm sorry it is...I don't care if you grew up in the 80's you're wrong.
Lucas M

Super Reviewer

July 18, 2011
For certain, Death Proof, is not one of the most genius films of Tarantino. But this movie show be very interesting with the frightening scenes, reference to 70's expoitation films, black comedy and the acting of the cast. Fresh.
Zach B

Super Reviewer

July 15, 2011
This being Tarantino's contribution to the film GRINDHOUSE, I really had no idea as to what to expect from this film. I mean, yeah I know this was meant to be a horror film, and for the first half it is. But what really makes this film stand out is the second half which is something that makes this film a certified legend. Okay, this being Tarantino, we all know by now what to expect from him: great characters, a few dozen scenes involving feet, fantastic dialogue, and just great story telling. What we get is some of those things, plus one certain part of this film that is, unlike anything else in film. Lets start with Tarantino's direction with this film. I will be open and say that this is by no means his best. His previous film KILL BILL was a serious piece of work that went and tested him and his abilities to tell a story. Mostly this film felt like he was just wanting to have fun. This is not as mature as any of his films, but in exchange we get a film that is more fun then anything else. But, there are three scenes that he has in this movie that are just beyond wonderful (and the first one is not because I am a guy!). The first scene is the famous 'Lap Dance' sequence that was removed as a 'missing real' when it was in the film GRINDHOUSE. The second would have to be the car crash sequence at the end of the first act. Now, the ultimate scene in this entire film will have to be the forty five minute car chase at the end of the film. Just, knowing that real cars were used for that entire sequence plus the little 'addition' to a vintage 1970 Dodge Challenger during the chase to heighten the tension, just a brilliant move on Tarantino's part. Next is the acting. For this film, there are only two actors that need mentioning: Kurt Russel and Zoe Bell. For a long time, Russel has been like most actors from the 1970's to the 1980's in that he mostly has resulted to being in mediocre films and family friendly entertainment. Now, back in the 70s Ô" 80s, he was a different actor. He was the man that would play the tough, gritty roles in action films, biopics, and horror films. Here, he returns to that by playing a psychopathic stuntman who has a fetish for killing women in his car. Seeing him in this role, just seeing how he rejoices with each of the two sets of girls, just made me feel good in the sense that one of the greatest tough guys in cinema was finally back. The next is Zoe Bell. Now, she has something of a film career that only desperate people want, but due to her playing herself (literally) in this movie, she makes it work. Her job in cinema is that she is a stunt woman. Originally getting the attention of Tarantino by being both Uma Thurman and Daryl Hannah's stunt double in KILL BILL, Bell does a terrific job at being herself. Plus, the stunts she had to pull during the second half just amazed me that she would even attempt (if you have seen the film, then you know what I am talking about). Next the script. It is a Tarantino script, you know what you are getting. But what makes this so different is that this film actually has three different films in one. The entire first act is a horror film in the style of John Carpenter with the Tarantino flare added in. the second is a thriller that is original in one aspect that makes this film exciting. The final past is a chase/ revenge film that will keep you cheering until the end. Blazing with complete originality, this film is tied with PULP FICTION as being the most original. Finally the score. Now, we all know that Tarantino uses music that has not been used in a long while and brings them back into the spot light. Well, with this film, he also exhibits his talent of using music to describe and carry a scene. The best song usage will be during the mega car crash as the end of the first act. The song called 'Hold Tight' by Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beeky, Mich, and Tich (I am not kidding, that is the band's real name) has now become iconic in it's usage with this film and, it just shocked me when I heard how it was used. Bravo. Overall, this is Tarantino's more fun film with some originality kicked in. Not his best, but not his worst.
aSpaceCowboy
aSpaceCowboy

Super Reviewer

March 19, 2008
Uh...what was with the cheerleader? And please don't defend it by saying it was because she was dressed up as a cheerleader in the magazine...it still doesn't explain it. Such a fucking stupid movie! It wasn't even an homage to Grindhouse really. From Planet Terror to the fake trailers, all were poking fun at how cheesey and horribly put toigether Grinhouse films were...Death Proof actually tried to be one, but with a Tarantino twist.. By now him should learn, a bunch of whores and assholes talking about shit we don't care about is not entertainment. I seriously wanted Kurt Russell to win in the end. The girls were fucking annoying. And yes, another Tarantino thats all dialog and no plot/ FUck this movie sucked!
TheDudeLebowski65
TheDudeLebowski65

Super Reviewer

March 21, 2011
Death Proof is an awesome film in the style of Steven Spielberg's Duel and the most recent Joy Ride. The story surrounds a stunt driver named Stunt man Mike and he's bent on killing young women with his Death Proofed stunt car. Death Proof, much like Planet Terror has a damaged, cheep feel to it, just to add to the films "Grindhouse" look. Tarantino offers something different from his Pulp Fiction days as he cooks up this action packed horror film with a road rage attitude. With awesome car chases, Kurt Russell acting like a psychopath and lots of gore, Death Proof is an awesome ride.
KJ P

Super Reviewer

October 3, 2010
The second film in the Grindhouse double feature pulls in an extreme improvement, mostly due to the fact that it's directed by Quentin Tarantino, who can script the $hit out of a film. With amazing dialogue, intense interpersonal scenes, and a jaw-dropping conclusion, Death Proof stomps all over it's genre, leaving Planet Terror in the dust. Kurt Russel really plays his cards right here, going after girls in pursuit of murder. In the end, I wish it was another hour long. Death Proof is brilliant!
Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

January 15, 2008
It's a classic Quentin Tarantino film. Bloody good.
Kylie B

Super Reviewer

November 15, 2008
This was a great idea, but I found the majority of the dialogue boring and pointless. To be honest I was expecting it to be more of a fun, trashy, gory film, but the actual action sequences were woefully short.
Cassandra M

Super Reviewer

November 15, 2010
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 fašade 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), I Spit On Your Grave (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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