Viewed – 27 March 2008 DVD
Quentin Tarantino will always be fairly high in my books, as he made my favourite film of all time, Pulp Fiction, yet that doesn’t mean he’s even come close to that brilliance since, and with this, his half of the much maligned Grindhouse venture he collaborated on with Robert Rodriguez, that magic still seems to avade him.
Don’t get me wrong though, there is much to like in this road movie / slasher flick with its grainy, damaged look and a 70s car chase movie atmosphere. Mainly Kurt Russell as maniac ex stunt man ‘stuntman mike’ who’s one purpose in life is to stalk beautiful girls out on the road, then run them down. An interesting concept is peppered throughout with various (lengthy) talking scenes that have some good banter even if everyone still talks Tarantino-speak in Tarantino-land. Realistic, convincing dialogue still seems Tarantino’s Achilles heal. That said it does get you interested in the characters and their world, and adds greatly to their peril once Stuntman Mike is prowling. Add to the mix some top-notch car chase action, impressive stunt sequences (especially one nasty car crash), and overall this is enjoyable stuff. The first half builds to what I began to think could be quite a disturbing horror movie, but then things change dramatically when tables are turned in the second half – and all that initial promise slowly fades away to a ludicrous and very hard to believe conclusion.
So overall the Grindhouse thing pressed my buttons – two very enjoyable movies, but both only hint at each director’s talents, but individually they are still worth checking out – even if this isn’t quite the Tarantino I once thought I knew. Perhaps he should stop wallowing in his boyhood fantasies, and start making real movies.
Verdict: 3 /5