Death Proof

I’m not happy with Dimension’s decision to split the “Grindhouse” DVD release into two separate pieces. I loved the three-hour-plus monstrosity that was the theatrical release, and I wish I could enjoy the “Grindhouse” experience unfettered at home.

With that said, I was impressed with the “Death Proof: Extended and Unrated” DVD release. It’s not the greatest Quentin Tarantino DVD release to come down the pike, but it’s better than the split-up “Kill Bill” releases several years ago.

Like many, “Death Proof” wasn’t my favorite of the two films in the “Grindhouse” theatrical release. It got off to a slow start, which was lethal to the movie that was already clocking in at the two-hour mark. To a certain degree, digesting this film alone makes it better in many ways. I still contend that the inane dialogue from Tarantino’s characters isn’t his best writing by a long shot, but it’s not as tedious as it was watching in the theater.

“Death Proof” follows a psychopathic stuntman named Mike (Kurt Russell), who hunts pretty young girls with his souped-up Chevy Nova. The first half of the film shows a successful stalking of some girls on the town in Austin, and the second half shows a stalking-gone-wrong on the Tennessee back roads.

Anyone who has seen enough original grindhouse films will realize that when it comes to pacing, Tarantino nailed the genre. However, in paying homage to the cheap car chase films, he manages to bog the audience down in pointless conversation (which was all-too-common in the substandard grindhouse release). Still, by the end of the film, Tarantino delivers on the action with a car chase that will get anyone’s engine revving.

The added footage doesn’t kill the film and even ads to the suspense at times. But the real gem of this release is the second disc that goes as deep into the stunts of the film as you might care to go. Special features on the second disc include profiles on Kurt Russell, Zoe Bell, editor Sally Menke and the supporting cast of girls and guys.

As the lesser of the “Grindhouse” film, “Death Proof: Extended and Unrated” is a great first step. I can only hope that “Planet Terror”, due out later this month, will be even better.

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