2000's, Action, Death Proof, Grindhouse, Jordan Ladd, Kurt Russell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Rosario Dawson, Rose McGowan, Sydney Poitier, Thriller, Tracie Thoms, Vanessa Ferlito, Zoë Bell
- Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike
- Rosario Dawson as Abernathy
- Tracie Thoms as Kim
- Zoë Bell
- Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Lee
- Vanessa Ferlito as Arlene
- Sydney Poitier as Jungle Julia
- Jordan Ladd as Shanna
- Rose McGowan as Pam
Quentin Tarantino’s side to the Grindhouse project he worked on with Robert Rodriguez comes in the shape of Death Proof. An homage to splatter movies, muscle cars and the sleazy exploitation movies he watched as a kid, Death Proof isn’t his best movie. But one can’t deny the adrenaline and style of the film that keeps it watchable.
The plot centres around the character of Stuntman Mike, a psychopathic stunt driver who picks up women in his death proof car and murders them in what he covers up as accidents. The film concerns his encounters with two groups of attractive females and the consequences. In the first segment, three female friends, Arlene, Shanna and resident DJ Jungle Julia are driving through Texas looking for a good time. Unbeknownst to them, the predatory Mike has been stalking them. They end up in the same bar together where Arlene performs a seductive lap dance for him for a bet made with her friends. After an intoxicated woman named Pam asks for a ride home, Mike offers her his services in his souped up automobile. Lets just say that things end up quite nasty and blood soaked. A number of months later in Tennessee another group of girls all involved some way with the film industry are travelling. The group consists of make-up artist Abernathy, stunt girls Kim and Zoë and aspiring actress Lee. Stuntman Mike begins to stalk the group but this time the girls are more aware of him. And boy do they fight back with a vengeance. Buckle up and get ready for high-octane shocks from Quentin Tarantino as he paints his homage to 70’s movies with visual flair.
As it mentioned earlier in this review, Death Proof isn’t the best work done by Tarantino. The tone is sometimes uneven and the story lags at various times, but having said that there is still much to praise within this film. The use of distortion to the film to give it that old, worn-out effect works wonders with this type of thriller. Tarantino directs some adrenaline pumping chase sequences that really are thrilling to watch as the second group of girls attempt to play psychopathic Mike at his own twisted game. The stunt work by professional Zoë Bell is hugely impressive throughout her duration on-screen. As is often the case with movies by Quentin Tarantino, the soundtrack is cool and full of grooves from just about every genre going.
Kurt Russell is frighteningly sadistic and strangely charming as Stuntman Mike, really delivering a memorable performance of psychosis and horror. The others who impress out of the cast are Rosario Dawson, Tracie Thoms and Zoë Bell. They deliver some kick ass attitude and sass that is more than a match for Stuntman Mike’s plans. Rose McGowan has a small but memorable cameo as the rather unfortunate Pam, who accepts the ride with Mike, little realising what he has planned for her. Vanessa Ferlito impresses the most out of the first bunch of girls, with her raunchy dance moves certainly sending temperatures soaring. Mary Elizabeth Winstead however is thoroughly wasted in that she’s given little to actually do.
So all in all, Death Proof isn’t the greatest by Tarantino. But it manages to deliver enough thrills, action and kick ass babes to keep you entertained.