on 26 February 2012
Planet Terror is a difficult film to review, mainly down to the fact that it is a spoof of once popular 1970 exploitation films. All of the ingredients from these are in place: Disgusting monsters? Check. Ridiculous fight scenes? Yep. Hammy acting? That's affirmative! Therefore most of the things that people often criticize this film for are either intentional or wholly superfluous.
The "story" follows go-go dancer Cherry and ex-lover Wray as they try to survive amidst the results of a military experiment - led by insane army officer Lt. Muldoon - which turns ordinary civilians into blood crazed monsters. Shakespeare this is clearly not.
But at the end of the day, who cares! The "plot" is simply a driving force for the main cast to get into plenty of blood drenched escapades through far fetched circumstances. And when I say "blood drenched" I really mean it. Seriously, this is probably one of the most stomach-turning, disgusting film I have ever seen. It is also sheer bloody brilliance.
The conventions of the gruesome exploitation films of yesteryear are faithfully recreated , meaning that the video is constantly flickering and dodgy sound effects abound. There's even a scene that cuts out half way through due to a "missing film reel". Little details like this are what add to the picture's overall charm and keep it fresh and original.The actors all do a good job recreating the feel of 70s flicks and look like they're having an absolute whale of a time, toting shotguns, pistols and other - more improvised - weapons (it was fun to see Quentin Tarentino making a guest appearance too).
Like I say, it's difficult to review a film like this and so the best I can do is give it an overwhelming recommendation, but only for those who have strong stomachs, aren't easily offended and don't take films too seriously.
All you need to know about ‘Planet Terror’ is that, due to events I won’t go into in great detail, a former stripper gets her leg replaced by a machine gun. Once ‘attached’ she can then fire it with pinpoint accuracy (let’s not go into exactly HOW she can fire a gun with a trigger at ‘knee height’) and even shoot missiles into the floor which propel her through the air, allowing her to leap over walls.
If that concept sounds like the biggest load of tosh you’ve ever heard, then you’re probably better off not bothering with this one. However, if you think that sounds like the craziest and/or coolest thing you’ve ever heard of, then give Planet Terror a try.
If you sit through it you’ll find a zombie film that’s actually got quite a big budget, only it’s concealed within a movie that prides itself on looking cheap and B-movie-like. There’s a whole host of famous actors in it (many famous for their B-movie roles), more gore than you could ever wish for and did I mention there’s a stripper with a machine gun for a leg?
You’ll either love it or hate it. Judging from what other reviews are saying, it’s more of a ‘guy’s film’ but, if you’re generally a fan of cheesy action, explosions and crazy goings on, then you’ll find it all here (and more).
on 26 October 2007
This movie is great and the ones that watch it with me had a blast. Rodriguez had already indulged himself to his heart's content in From Dusk Till Dawn (Dimension Collector's Series) which was also about a group of people fighting off warring vampires in a night club from, as the name indicates, from dusk till dawn, which makes "Planet Terror" an encore exercise of pretty much similar plot, similar format and similar execution. As his other movies like El Mariachi (Special Edition) and Desperado (Special Edition) are themselves (quite stylish) derivatives of the exploitative genre, it is difficult to find any redeeming value in the repetition, even if it is done in zest and playful ribbing, which reduces "Planet Terror" a Cliff Notes' version to "From Dusk till Dawn".
"Planet Terror" features a giant cast of big names, small names, and names a few of us grin fondly at. The most fun, though, comes from the lead characters of Wray and Cherry, handled deftly in regards to pure entertainment by lesser-known Freddy Rodriguez Rose McGowan. Wray seems like an insignificant nice guy who drives a wrecker, but he has a mysterious past and combat skills that are brutally efficient. Cherry is a go-go dancer that used to be involved years ago with Wray and happens to find herself back in his company on the bloody night our story transpires. Watching Wray take charge of the survivors and kick butt all over is fun, doubly so because he is such a likable and unassuming hero. And Cherry, who loses one of her legs early on for the sake of "running" gags and a wonderfully absurd series of action scenes where a machine gun has replaced her leg, is mostly pleasant as a damsel in distress who must become an involuntary mistress of destruction. This movie has so many fantastic moments, subtle touches, and ridiculous humor.
Rodriguez has always handled the cinematography, editing, and music for his pictures-- he coined the phrase "shot, chopped, and scored" for his Renaissance man approach to his pictures. While I have often wished he would find himself an editor, he has always excelled at the shooting and scoring, and not only does he deliver a nuclear explosion of talent for those this time, his editing manages to work superbly in this genre's already choppy format. The film is a visual extravaganza, not only for the gore and make-up artistry (be aware this is one of the biggest gross-outs I have ever seen on screen recently), but for Rodriguez's keen eye for photography on films of this ilk as well as the artificial flaws he implants in the movie to lend authenticity to the idea that this film was meant for another era. Scratches on film, color errors, skipping frames, burn outs on reels as well as a missing reel (a humorous tool Tarantino employs in his offering as well) give "Planet Terror" an atmosphere of cool.
on 14 November 2007
I bought this together with 'Death Proof' while working in Canada. I made the mistake of watching Death Proof first and nearly didn't bother with this which would have been a mistake. Where Death Proof is simply a tedious mess, 'Planet Terror' is a genuine 'homage' to the grindhouse genre, with sexy babes, tough lawmen, a mysterious action hero and a toxic gas which turns its victims into 'The Thing'-style zombie monsters. Unlike Death Proof, it also has a plot, narrative drive and character arcs. The script is witty in parts and it all looks good, although the fake scratches and jumps in the film can be a little annoying at times. It isn't a classic, but it is diverting and amusing for most of the running time.
Is Planet Terror the goriest film of all time, or does that award go to Peter Jackson's Braindead? Well you decide. Both contain some outrageously OTT action and the blackest of black humour, all washed down by countless gallons of the red stuff.
The plot is something to do with a secret military chemical weapon that turns people into pus-spurting zombies, ravenous for fresh living meat. But who cares about the plot, when all it does is serve as a carcase on which director Robert Rodriguez (with a little help from Quentin Tarentino) drapes increasingly extreme tableaux for your delectation. You'll laugh out loud as much as you wince or think "yuk!".
Oh and, as Planet Terror is deliberately engineered to give the film a scratchy, grainy, retro look, there is absolutely no point paying extra for the Blu-ray. There's a great rocking soundtrack and some impressive 5.1 surround sound.
If you enjoyed the likes of Braindead, Machine Girl, From Dusk Till Dawn, Return of The Living Dead, Hobo With a Shotgun etc. don't miss Planet Terror.
The film commences with "Our forthcoming presentation" an excellent fake trailer for "Machete". However if you check the IMDB you will find that Machete is a film in production! In the trailor for Machete the whole plot seems to be given away - now doesn't that sounds familiar. So what about Planet Terror? Well having recently watched Death Proof I really wasn't expecting much, but this is much nearer the mark than Tarantino's effort.
A zombie movie, with classy B movie actors who supply the type of performance you would expect from a major production that pays homage to many movies from the 1970's and 1980's. So long as you've got a reasonably strong stomach and you don't mind the slightly 1970's misogynist edge to the whole thing its really entertaining.
I was never a fan of Rodriguez until I saw Sin City, and this is almost as good as that. It only lets itself down in one area, that is the fake early 1970's era scratchy film quality which is over-played hugely. Its a one-joke technique played for 1 hour 40 min. Overall though great fun.
on 16 March 2008
You will read in all the reviews below that this is better than Quentin's Death Proof. To be honest, it is and by a long way.
Death Proof is a QT film that has been shoved into 'grindhouse' though it never meets the expectations, it misses it's target audience. Planet Terror doesn't. It's easy to see that Rodriguez understands what he's trying to do. This can be seen in the extras where QT constantly lists off films that he has seen but ignores talking about his film, the story, the whats and whys. Rodriguez explains why his film is created the way it is and it's easy to understand that he 'gets it'.
Planet Terror is an 'old school' zombie romp, with over the top action, dodgey story, proper gore and acting played up for laughs. This film is for people who love films like 'zombie flesh eathers' or 'demons'. It's not intellectual, you won't find subtle satire. If you have to choose between Death Proof and this, buy Planet Terror. This is grindhouse!
Originally part of the Grindhouse double bill along with Quentin Tarantino's Deathproof, this is definitely the stronger film.
Opening with some spoof adverts for interesting looking films (some of which have now been made!) Robert Rodriguez instantly launches us into that familiar old Grindhouse movie world. Filmed in such a way as to mimic the seedy, damaged film stock that would have graced the cinemas and home video market in the late seventies and early eighties, the look and feel of the movie is perfect for the material, and so evocative. Full of zombies, gore, sexy ladies, sharp dialogue and cartoonish violence this is a perfect homage to the genre. It seems to be the kind of film that Tarantino wanted to make but seemed afraid of.
An entertaining flick, 4 stars from me.
on 24 September 2014
Robert Rodriguez doesn't skimp on the gore in his half of the grindhouse double bill. After the fairly damp squib that was Deathproof, Planet Terror up's the ante with some gloriously over the top action and cheesy one liners.
Planet Terror is one of Rodriguez's most imaginative films. It shows a real love for this genre and he has a lot of fun with it. Oozing with gory effects and grotesque monsters the film sweeps you up and rattles along at a ridiculous pace. The plot is thin but that isn't what you are here for.
There are some iconic moments which will be remembered for a long time to come if only for their ludicrous nature.
If you like your horror tongue in cheek and over the top then look no further than this.
on 24 September 2009
This is cinema's dirty side.
Groundhouse movies are unashamedly gory, violent, often funny and testosterone fuelled, and Planet Terror thrusts it's way onto your screen in a blaze of cinematic glory.
It's funny - i mean really funny at points - ridiculously.
It's gorey - I mean come on, it a zombie movie with guns, bombs, explosions and fun.
It's sexy - they went through quite a lot of effort to caste some hot women.
It's violent - WOOO! Smack that zombie!
It's got zombies in it - Zombies!
It doesn't try to explain everything - and that's the point, sometime you don't need to know why, you just have to enjoy the moment.
Watch this movie with your mates, with beer and pizza and you will have a riotous evening. Leave your sensibilities and seriousness at the door and enjoy it.
There's a bunch of extras. the ones you need to know about are the non grainy version of the movie (if you care); and the version of the movie with the background laughing and cheering from the preview screening, Because its nice to know other people find it funny too.