Monday, April 30, 2007

Grindhouse (2007)

Honestly, there was only a very tiny chance that I wasn't going to dig this. Yet, I'm still surprised at how much fun it turned out to be. Robert Rodriguez gets first crack with the one-two punch of the Machete trailer and Planet Terror, both of which play to Rodriguez's filmmaking strengths. This is to say that both mostly forgo niceties like plot, dialogue, characterization, pacing -- in short, all the stuff that Rodriguez is crap at -- in favor of endless action and gross-out thrills. Surprisingly, Terror doesn't get wearying despite the near-endless application of sensation at the expense of all else; if anything, it feels like the Holy Grail of exploitation cinema -- the grindhouse feature that actually delivers all the sick trashy enjoyment it promises. It's an orgy of icky body fluids, gunfire, pain, dismemberment and pustule-ridden zombies exploding like meat-filled sacks of flesh, and I enjoyed it verily. The intermission trailers are fun too, with Edgar Wright's loving, impeccable Eurohorror pastiche being the standout. But if Planet Terror is more fun and more in the spirit of the project, Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof is the better overall film. Solidly satisfying as drive-in motorporn and as Tarantino-style gabfest (for all his reputation as a poet of violence, the man makes the talkiest films this side of Rohmer), it's also quite effective as a deconstruction of the male-dominant ethos inherent in both the slasher and car-guy genres. (I'm sure the vast amount of buttfucking jokes made during the final chase scene is anything but coincidental.) Also, Death Proof has my single favorite exploitation-geek joke in the whole film, so that's gotta count for something. Sure, Grindhouse is nothing more than a readymade cult film (one factor in its financial failure, I'd wager), but it's made with enough energy and affection that it transcends that dubious label. And when was the last time deliberately pandering to an imaginary cult audience actually WORKED? People should be checking this thing out just for that.

Grade: B+


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home