DEATH PROOF

Writer-director Quentin Tarantino’s very good second half of the 190 minute exploitation double bill “Grindhouse” was released separately on DVD, and is longer and just as uneven as it was before. The film consists itself, of two halves: First, a group of cocky and pot-seeking young ‘thangs in Austin, Texas are targeted at a bar by a mystery man in a black car adorned by a lightning bolt print on the hood and a creepy silver duck ornament. The mystery man is Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell, in typical Tarantino career reinvention mode), a murderous sociopath with a real hate on for all women, seemingly. The first group of girls is highlighted by the gorgeous and intriguingly Brooklyn(?)-accented Vanessa Ferlito and the monotone and fairly bland Sydney Tamiia Poitier (yes, Sidney’s daughter!). This stretch is dialogue heavy, culminating in a BRILLIANT car crash sequence set to a little known 70s/80s punk song (there’s even a monologue about its origins). Tarantino loves him some talking, so if an initial feeling of deja vu comes over you during the second half, don’t fret: Stuntman Mike decides to target a new set of girls – Rosario Dawson, stuntwoman Zoe Bell (as herself; she was Uma Thurman’s stand-in for KILL BILL), and Tracie Thoms (of RENT). These girls are tougher, seeking danger even before the “Death Proof” car reaches their tailpipe, and the violent, high-octane revenge-filled climax is exhilirating and satisfying. Stay for the ending credits – just for the great April March song and cutaway inserts!

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