Crash, smash, wallop: the wreckage of the Grindhouse project wasn’t pretty. After haemorrhaging dosh in the US, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s gloriously sleazy homage to ’70s exploitation flicks wound up in the chop shop, where Momentum split it into two halves for its UK cinema release. British fans comforted themselves with the thought that Death Proof and Planet Terror would be welded back together when it came to the DVD. How naïve we all were.
Simple economics has kept the two halves of the original double feature apart, though if Tarantino’s bothered you’d never guess. “I’m taking on all car chase cinema!” he boasts in one of the six generic featurettes accompanying his rip-roaring stalk ’n’ smash ’em up Death Proof. “It’s real hard, real shit, at full fucking speed!” There’s no commentary track for QT to spill his guts on, so the director is all over the underwhelming extras like a rash, mouthing off about his CGI-free chases, old skool stuntmen and why ladykiller Kurt Russell is cool. It’s a breathlessly entertaining sales patter, if only half right: Death Proof’s astonishing chase scenes are dented by the self-indulgent chick-chat and that awful Quentin cameo.
Should you buy a used car movie from this man? Call us cynical, but we’re waiting for the inevitable souped-up Special Edition to reunite both halves of Grindhouse with those notorious “Coming Attractions” reels. For now let’s write off this disappointing DVD as an ironic take on the grindhouse experience. It’s like Times Square circa the seedy ’70s: sometimes you pay your money and get taken for a ride.