The good people at Screamfest LA this year saw fit to have us in for a screening of Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror which came out on DVD this week. Lucky for us my quick hands and the strong arm of a Screamfest presenter lead to me catching a copy of this half of Grindhouse. You may recall in my original review of the film I was pretty excited with it and disappointed with Death Proof. Well I haven’t revisited the Tarantino portion yet, but Planet Terror is still a great, gory romp.
The new cut of Planet Terror runs something like 15 minutes longer but I’ll be honest with you – I didn’t notice. It didn’t feel longer, which is good, but also I didn’t pick up on the things that had been added. Although thinking about it, this actually makes sense as RR isn’t the kind of guy who shoots a lot of what he doesn’t need. He’s a very effecient guy who knows what he wants, for better or worse it may seem, with the recent Barbarella troubles.
Planet Terror finds the world thrust into chaos as the result of a toxic nerve agent being released into the air with only a misfit gang of rebels out there to fight for what’s right. We the audience are thrust into the role of Grindhouse theater goers, complete with missing reels, scratched film, and uneven color development. I loved every second of it.
Freddy Rodriguez co-stars as El Wray and he really makes an impression as a possible action star of the future. The kid definitely has talent. New beau for RR Rose McGowan also stars as Cherry Darling, an unfunny Go-Go Dancer who likes to Cry-Cry until she is thrust into the role of heroine. Hilariously awesome action follows. Genre fans will appreciate Michael Biehn and Tom Savini, while Josh Brolin erupts out of nowhere delivering a fantastic appearance as the baddie Doc Block. Brilliant I say!
On the DVD we get feature commentary, an audience reaction track, and some trailers and a poster. RR went ahead and attached the trailer for Machete but the other Grindhouse trailers are lost, waiting for a double dip. Disc 2 features the always informative 10 Minute Film School which goes over some of the special effects used in PT, and there are a lot of them. We also get some featurettes on the actors, the stunts, and some other cool stuff. All in all, a pretty decent DVD release. If you’re a fan of the movie, pick this bad boy up! If you haven’t seen it, see it! If it looks appealing to you, I’m sure you’ll love it. It’s great campy fun with tons of gross outs and awesome shots. My absolute favorite scene is Tom Savini punching a zombie with his gun while simultaneously squeezing the trigger. AMAZING.
All in all this is a really fun film for genre fans and it is a great addition to any DVD collection.
The Upside: Fun flick, cool extras, great time.
The Downside: Quentin Tarantino chews the scenery and provides an absolutely horrible and gut wrenching performance that lasts only 3 minutes, but almost made me throw up in disgust at how much he loves himself and how horrible an actor he is.
On the Side: Robert Rodriguez left his wife and producing partner for Rose McGowan shortly after filming wrapped… Oops.