There are few film-makers in this world today whose name is more synonymous with badass than Robert Rodriguez. You also won't find another genre as fun and in-your-face violent as Grindhouse. It seems as though Robert Rodriguez and Grindhouse are a match made in hell.
I was given the movie Planet Terror for Christmas from my sister in 2011. I had never seen it, never REALLY heard of it, I just knew of the chick with the big ass gun for a leg. I've had it sitting in my collection ever since, untouched. It wasn't that I wasn't interested, I just sort of forgot about it. Oddly enough, I did this little project of watching all my movies and Planet Terror was the 2nd movie on the list. I'm disappointed in myself for waiting so long, because this movie is nothing short of fantastic.
The style of the movie is impeccable and fits the idea of Grindhouse so perfectly. The aging of the film reel with random spots and cuts throughout actually manages to add more to the movie, where is on paper, you would think it'd be distracting. It's done with a 70s feel to it and I fucking loved it. Robert Rodriguez made a plain and simple, fun movie. It starts off centered around a go-go dancer by the name of Cherry Darling (an alias) played by the gorgeous Rose McGowan. She walks out on her job and the rest of the characters slowly begin showing up. It's a sensational cast with Freddy Rodriguez portraying the uber-badass El Wray (my favorite character in the film), Bruce Willis playing the intimidating "bad" guy Lt. Muldoon, Josh Brolin as the evil Dr. William Block, Marley Shelton as his wife, Dr. Dakota Block, and Naveen Andrews (who I was ecstatic to see due to my 'Lost' obsession as of late) as a chemical engineer by the name of Abby. Of course, Rodriguez's good friend Quentin Tarantino makes an appearance as a malicious guard. Hell, even fucking Fergie is in this film. Just simply a perfect ensemble.
What I love most about this flick is that it doesn't take itself too seriously. They're cheap films, but extremely engaging and fun to watch. The blood, the guts, gore are flying everywhere and they're sure to be followed up by a witty remark that has you laughing mere seconds after grimacing in disgust. Pretty much every single set on this film gets blown up at some point and it never gets old. The chemistry between El Wray and Cherry Darling is on point throughout the flick and you're rooting for them throughout. That's what a ton of movies nowadays seem to lack, likable characters that you're actively rooting to make it in the end. Fairly early in the movie, Cherry loses her leg and you're left eagerly anticipating that moment where you see the machine gun attached. It's a badass moment and could leave you cheering on your couch. El Wray is quite possibly the most fantastic action hero I have ever seen. He's basically Rambo and Ash Williams combined into one. Yes, that is as cool as it sounds.
The movie never EVER drags and trust me, I know, I watched it 3 times in 24 hours. I wanted to watch all of the special features to give a full review and it requires plenty of viewings. There's the movie itself (extended/uncut), a commentary track from director Robert Rodriguez, and even a track of the movie with live audience reaction in the background. The audience reaction track is fun because you realize you're not the only sicko in the world who would be thrilled by an infected zombie thing getting its head chopped off by a helicopter. The director commentary track is one of the better ones I have ever heard. I've always been a huge nerd and listened to director's commentary tracks on DVDs and quite frankly, some of them are a bore. They feel like a chore just to get through as the guy drones on. Another thing I dislike is when there's a ton of dead air and no discussion, making the track seemingly pointless. This track with Robert Rodriguez is superb. He's intriguing, engaging, and beyond interesting. He provides some very awesome insight and tidbits, it's like reading an IMDb page while watching a movie. He provides funny and intriguing anecdotes with the only dead air being very vital spaces of the movie in which he just provided some information on. It just makes you view scenes in a different and much more entertaining way. Definitely worth a listen to.
The 2nd disc of the DVD features a bounty of documentaries that any fan would drool over. From a quick little demonstration from Rodriguez himself as to how stunts were done, to interviews and footage of the babes of the movie discussing it. It's enough for any rabid fan. This whole package put together makes the money well worth it in the end and I can see why Grindhouse/Rodriguez fans are so passionate about the product. I'm definitely going to check out more of this genre.
My Rating - 7/10