Kurt Russell is a stunt driver on a mission to murder in Tarantino's crime thriller Death Proof. Released in the US as part of double-bill Grindhouse, Death Proof's solo outing is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to exploitation horrors of the 60s and 70s, complete with missing reels and scratches on the film. Strong, sexy women, including Vanessa Ferlito and Rosario Dawson, look set to fall foul of Russell's souped-up killing machine in this slight, silly but often entertaining film.
Much about Death Proof is unmistakably Tarantino: the gore (limbs go flying), the girls (busty, ballsy drug users) and - of course - the dialogue. Like Pulp Fiction, Grindhouse opens with a lengthy, trivial conversation between leads: the calm before the storm. On the way to a bar, three girls chat about their recent conquests. One is a radio DJ, and has playfully invited male listeners to approach her friend Butterfly (Ferlito) if they spot her out. Unfortunately, it seems Stuntman Mike (Russell) - a seedy, scarred ex stunt driver with a penchant for causing fatal crashes - has been tuning in.
"SUSPENSE AND DARK HUMOUR"
There's suspense and dark humour as Mike tracks the girls down, and enjoyable incidental shenanigans along the way. Then suddenly he's following a different set of women, including two stunt drivers, so the prospect of comeuppance looms. The shift between stories is as sudden as the ending - no doubt in tribute to Tarantino's beloved cheap "grindhouse" features, but that doesn't make it any easier to swallow. There's plenty of fun to be had with Death Proof, but its imitation of a defunct, low-budget style of movie-making is perhaps too accurate when it comes to the genre's flaws.
Death Proof is out in the UK on 20th September 2007.