The Retro Ride of ‘Death Proof’ in 4 Slices: Tuesdays with Tarantino Pt 5/8

Greetings and salutations folks.

Today we continue our director series featuring Quentin Tarantino. In this our fifth installment we look at 2007 exploitation action horror film Death Proof which was released in the US as part of a double feature with Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror under the title Grindhouse. 

The movie may be nine years old but I will still do the courtesy of giving a SPOILER ALERT. I’m a gentleman like that. Enough revving of engines. Here’s my review in four easy to chew and digest slices:

#1 Q’s special take on horror

Ladies, start your screaming!

Tarantino’s only horror movie to date you know that the maverick director would not go in for your generic “guy with a mask stalks half-naked women”. His killer is the smooth talking Mike McKay and his weapon of choice is his muscle car. And it is creepy as hell. Old QT does a terrific job building tension, suspense and dread. The scene where Mike tells Rose McGowan’s character that if she had chosen “left” instead of “right” she would have had less time to be scared is absolutely chilling.

#2 Kurt goes very dark

Death Proof 1
Meet Stuntman Mike. He’s a killer with the ladies. Literally

And our killer is played by none other than Snake Plissken and R.J. MacReady himself Kurt Russell. He is the stand out performer in the film and brings intensity and malice to the role. He is 100 per cent predator and creep and stalks and murders with childlike glee. A fleshed out character, it was great seeing him get his comeuppance in the end.

#3 Girls on film

death proof 2
Mean Girls 2: The Killing

One mistake most slasher horrors make is to have one dimensional characters who you never connect with or care if they live or die. Thankfully Tarantino avoids that and brings some level of depth to the female leads. The stand outs were the strong Rosario Dawson, witty Kim Mathis, superhuman real life stuntwoman Zoë E. Bellridiculously sultry Vanessa Ferlito (that lap dance would make Cinema Sins proud) and the fast talking Sydney Tamiia Poitier as DJ Jungle Julia Lucai. Their conversations, which make up most of the movie, are interesting if not as snappy and brilliant as what the director had previously offered.

#4 Whole lotta style

Death Proof 3
Does this photo relate to point number 4? No it does not. But do we really need a reason to bask in the beauty that is Sydney Tamiia Poitier? No we do not

Tarantino pulls out his bag of shooting tricks for this flick. We have the blurring and scene skipping to resemble movies of the grindhouse era, switching to black and white as he did in the Kill Bills and the grisly quadruple murder by car shown three times and three different ways.

But the stand out is the final chase scene between the second set of girls and Mike, which hilariously flips into the girls hunting him down and killing him. We have a saying in Trinidad about not underestimating your target – monkey know which tree to climb. And boy did Stuntman Mike climb the wrong tree.

Death Proof is a fun ride with a lot of retro love and succeeds at that level. While I enjoyed it the story is pretty by the numbers and there is not enough for me to come back for a second drive through.

Rating: Death Proof gets 2.75/4 super cars of doom.

So what did you think of Death Proof? And what is your favourite Tarantino flick? Feel free to comment below. 

For part 4 of the Tarantino series and my review of Kill Bill Vol 1 and 2 you can click here and for part 6 and my review of Inglourious Basterds here.


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