on 9 June 2007
This is a cool story. Great dialogue...great structure...great action...and geeat humour.
Although, for a Tarantino story, to be completely honest I expected there to be more action, blood, guts, more gore and definately more of a body counnt that semed somewhat lacking in this story. Especially after doing Kill Bill, more specifically Vol.1 after the whole House of Blue Leaves stuff - I,like many other of his fans, saw him as a director starting to up his game a little because he's doing action now, and becoming quite astute in it. But not in death proof I'm afraid.
For a slasher horror story I can't help but feel disappointed once again. It just didn't seem as grindhouse as I thought it would, especially after reading the script to Planet Terror. It's too much of a chick flick than a slasher story, but not that I'm bashing chick flicks, it's just that when QT promises a slasher film, you expect something great. This just wasn't. Everybody expected him to be completely off his game before he broke out Kill Bill, but he lived up to his expectations and exceeded them. He wasn't off his game at all. Since then, everyone now expects him to come up with a "grab you by the balls, flying by the seat of your pants" type story for whatever he's gonna do next. Fair enough, after all it's a fans' duty to have a high expectation form the person they admire and whose work they like. But this story just doesn't live up to the hype for me.
There really wasn't mush horror in this story. But then again he did say in an interview that Rodriguez's Planet Terror is 'more horror because it can never happen...mine is sheer terror bacause it could' FAIR ENOUGH. But I still feel that as far as slasher stories go, I've seen better. There is too much dialogue in this script, daialogue for daialogue's sake, for characterisational purposes, but some of them do feel a little two dimensional - which I suppose is true to lots of other characters in other slasher movies but when QT does it, you expect the characters to be somewhat special, bigger than they are, larger than life. Here, they weren't.
Upon reading it, I felt that there wasn't enough action in the story, to propell the story forward. Just talk, talk and more talk. He said once that in between the action bits, his script feels and reads like a Eugine O'Neil play. Well hurray for him - yet again he manages to justitfy what he tries to do by comparing it with someone whose work is great. Now, if you know anything about Eugine O'Neil stories, they're great so you'll appreciate the significance of what he means but that, but QT's scripts are in no way in the same league as Eugine O'Neil's. Not a higher league or a lower league, just ANOTHER league, so to me his comparison is like wet blanket on a cold day.
To be honest to you, not much happens in this story, especially in the first half of it which takes up most of the script, but it's in the second half where we get to see the most fun - the HIGH OCTANE, CARE CHASE ACTION STUFF. This is where he hits pay dirt, this is the money as far as I'm concerned. The first half of the story reads like a slasher story, the second half reads like a car chase action flick, like Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry; Vanishing Point and all the other classics. This is where we get to see the hunter become the hunted and this to me is the best part of Death Proof, so in a way he does deliver on what he says. In actual fact what we have here are two different types of movie sub-genres going on here. The first half is the slasher horror story, the seconf half is the car chase action movie. A nice mix. Kinda like Kill Bill where he mish-mashed in as many sub-genres of movies as he possibly could, and kinda like Jack Hill's Switchbalde Sisters too.
HOWEVER...Stuntman Mike is without a doubt a [..]star. He's the best thing about it and definately one of QT's greatest rogue gallery characters, and for Kurt Russel, he should consider himself lucky to play such a character. He's mean, cool, charming, scary and creepy all at the same time. Why Mickey Rourke bailed out from originally playing this character, God only knows, but I bet he's kicking himeslf right about now. Unfortunately, Stuntman Mike, doesn't have a lot to do in it either, as more attention is given to the women, the victims. Not that I have a problem with it, but I expected there to be a bit more of a balance in it, in terms of screen/story time being given to all the charcters involved. I mean Mary Elizabeth Winstead's character (in the film) felt flat and 2D. I mean there was no need for her at all. She really wouldn't have damaged the story at all if she wasn't in it. Tracie Thom's character (in the film) has some of the best lines in it and her and Zoe Bell are my heroes. By the way, the character Earl McGraw, the Texas Ranger, should've been in it a lot longer than QT gave him time for. I know that in slasher films the law is somewhat never there and failing in their duties, but come on...this is qucik draw McGraw and his son, Son Number One. They're cool, they should've been in it a lot more.
Overall, this is a good story that's why the five stars. Tarantino does a good job of using the slasher horror conventions to their best qualities but also turning them against you, in his own way. You have what you think is going to be the "Final Girl" like any slasher movie but then you don't. Instead you have "Final Girls". I still would have like have read more on the action side of it and more of a body count. We were promised that Stuntman Mike has a unique sexual fetish, but when you read it - it doesn't seem that unique. I mean when reading it you can't help but feel that you're imaginations, I'm sure, could've come up with something far worse. I have to say that after reading the Planet Terror script, that story feels more like an exploitation movie, more like a B movie than this does, and I think in the whole Grindhouse thing, Rodriguez comes out looking more like the man. Tarantino's Death Proof feels more like a traditional drive-in type movie. Maybe because it just isn't as crazy as Planet Terror, I don't know. It feels more like a story Roger Corman could've made. Infact, if QT didn't right this script and someone else did, I bet it woild just circulate in production companies and around the film industry for years before some director would pick it up and decide to do a half decent job with it. But because it's QT, it gets made - but this doen's mean that it's brilliant by any stretch of the imagination. I'll say this - it's different, and it's nice to see him evolving in his story telling and that each story he writes is always different form his last. Death Proof is a nice addition to his ouvre but due to the fiasco of splitting Grindhouse in two, this might hurt his story rather than keep it sweet, as when you read it, you do get a sense that it's a story half told, that's it's unfinished, that it's lacking another half. It just doesn't seem as big as Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill or even Reservoir Dogs. And that other half I mentioned... it's Planet Terror. All in all, this makes for great reading which, at the end of the day, is what it's all about...Adios