Reviews

Planet Terror

3

Alongside Spidey’s sooty suit-change and Thomas Turgoose flicking the ‘V’s, it’s one of 2007’s most iconic cinematic sights: leather-minied, boob-tubed amputee Rose McGowan packing major heat where her right shank used to be. But the question is, does Planet Terror – aka Grindhouse Act I – stand on its own with a missing leg? Yes: a bit wobbly in places, but still kicking. True, it still smarts that one of the movie events of the year didn’t happen on our shores because of poor US box office. Yet Robert Rodriguez’s zombie-invasion flick is such a puppy-dog frenzy of exploitainment, it’ll leave half the audience more ready for bed than any other film – let alone one as leisurely as Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof (aka Grindhouse Act II).

A homage to drive-in horror’s cheap ’n nasty heyday, Planet Terror snaps, crackles and pustule-pops with ideas. Mutant soldiers, evil doctors, star cameos, Iraq satire, cannibalism, lesbianism, the search for the perfect barbecue sauce… At the eye of the shit-storm is, of course, McGowan’s Cherry Darling, a broken-hearted go-go dancer who finds her true, ultra-violent calling when the apocalypse comes to her tiny Texas town. Machine-gun plugged into her stump, she’s smokin’ in every sense, yet McGowan occasionally misses the comic-ironic beat, mugging like she’s still on the set of twitty witch-com Charmed. Luckily, she’s propped up by a game support cast, including sharp-shooting drifter Freddy Rodriguez and embattled sheriff Michael Biehn.

And if their enthusiasm doesn’t bowl you over, then writer/director Rodriguez’s will, the multi-tasker filtering Troma-style toxic trauma and John Carpenter’s B-movie menace through his own pulpy, broad-brush dynamism. Mind you, he’s a bit overzealous in weathering the footage to look as crummy as the real deal (great ‘missing reel’ gag, though). And you could argue that he peaks early. Proceedings ignite with the garish glory of ‘Machete’, a mock-trailer that’s as tonally correct as the feature (“They just fucked with the wrong Mexican!”), but does the job in three minutes instead of 105.

 

Verdict:

A bona fide trash pastiche. So good it's bad, then? Almost, but the panache and playfulness machine-gun most of the shortcomings. DVD suppliers! Can we have the two films plus trailers in one now, please?

Film Details

User Reviews

    • lonea

      Jan 19th 2011, 19:29

      5

      Zombies and women with machine guns. It is just one hell of a film. Awesome!

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    • hago1

      Jun 28th 2011, 1:27

      4

      Having seen Death Proof over a year ago and now just watched Planet terror I am once again dismayed by TFs ratings! IMO Death Proof is the most boring film that Tarantino has made and warrants just one star or 2 at a push(not 4)-the action scenes are good, but alas too few and far between, it is by far too talky! I had to force myself to see it through to the end. This is why I kept putting off watching Planet Terror(expecting more of the same) but boy was I wrong. It gripped me right from the (at the time) fake Machete trailer and the opening scenes. I enjoyed every minute of it-pure OTT gory gratuitous entertainment!!!! 4 stars (not 3)

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