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Planet Terror (Extended and Unrated 2-Disc Edition) (DVD)

Posted by Janett on October 7, 2007

grind-1.jpgBruce Willis, Rose McGowan, Marley Shelton, Josh Brolin, Freddy Rodriguez, Naveen Andrews, Fergie, Jeff Fahey, Michael Biehn, Rebel Rodriguez, The Crazy Babysitter Twins, Michael Parks, Tom Savini, Quentin TarantinoTom Savini. Blood. Gore. Deputy McGraw. Erotic Dancers. Monsters. Rapists. Stunts. Has-beens. Bruce Willis. Big Guns. Well it has to be a Robert Rodriguez movie doesn’t it? Unlike say, “Desperado” or “Sin City” though, “Planet Terror” is trash – but intentionally so.

Originally released in a double bill with the Quentin Tarantino directed “Death Proof” – under the ‘Grindhouse’ label – this homage to everything Drive-in Theatre takes its cue from the classically over-the-top zombie movies of the 70s; you know, the ones with the corn syrup, exploding heads and mass amputations. It’s meant to look and feel like a crappy old movie – problem is, it’s pretty good. Trashy, but good.

gh9907-452b4.jpgFeaturing ‘it’ stars like Bruce Willis, Rose McGowan, Naveen Andrews, Freddy Rodriguez, Marley Shelton and Josh Brolin, as well as forgotten action vets like Michael Biehn and Jeff Fahey (playing brothers here), “Terror” is an hour-and-a-half of non-stop gory and over-the-top zombie madness. You’ve got a bunch of reanimated corpses invading a small town with a local rebel (Rodriguez), his recently amputated friend (McGowan, looking ever so sexy) and the local police force (led By Sheriff Biehn, of “The Terminator” fame) out to stop them. Brolin hams it up as a psychotic doctor; Shelton plays his long-suffering young wife; Andrews (TVs “Lost”) plays a kick-ass military scientist ; Willis plays a hard-nosed military man, and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino pops up to play the film’s big sleaze, a rapist.

With film crackles, missing reels, and cigarette burns accompanying the corny fun on screen, “Planet Terror” is a unique and enjoyable trip back to yesteryear. (I don’t know if I personally enjoyed it as much as Tarantino’s “Death Proof”, but it’s been said that will like one more so than the other). Not to say the film is merely endurable rubbish, it isn’t, in fact Rodriguez’s film borderlines on actually being a ‘real’ flick – something that could’ve been released without the film crackles and missing reels. He’s put a lot of his work into this – right down to making the audience give a hoot about the characters, not to mention the crafty special effects – much more so than any filmmaker in the “Grindhouse” days would’ve. Still, the novelty of it does start to wear off about an hour into it, but stick with it, if only for the reveal of the big bad at the end.

The two-disc “Planet Terror” DVD features roughly the same amount and type of extras that the “Death Proof” DVD did – including featurettes on the cast, the director’s, the stunts and so on – but the only difference here is Rodriguez was good enough to do an audio commentary (Tarantino did not). Like his ’10 Minute Film School’, where he talks about cost-effective ways to do effects and the like, Rodriguez gives listeners a heap of pointers in the commentary, assuming most are listening because they’re wannabe filmmakers. He’s also not afraid to be brutally honest or let slip some insider secrets.

Reviewer : Clint Morris

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