"Death Proof" was originally released as the second-billed movie of the "Grindhouse" double feature. It features Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike, a former stuntman who targets random women then kills them with his stunt car. It plays in two different acts with the first part involving his stalking a group of girlfriends in Austin, TX then re-surfacing in Tennessee in the second part.
The entire film is meant to be a throwback to the road-chase films that were popular in the 70s. As usual, Tarantino focuses on little nuances to add to the uniqueness of the film. Even the way it starts out with a grainy celluloid appearance as it shows the old-time "R" restriction sequence. That effect continues throughout the film, complete with having it skip a little in some parts much like the editing problems movies of that quality had.
The one thing that I thought was rather inconsistent was something very minute that didn't even seem to be necessary to the movie. For much of the movie, you get the distinct feel that it is taken place in the 70s. That is until Julia (Sydney Poitier) breaks out with a cell phone. That's when you're reminded it is taken place in present day. Sure, they hadn't been using any speech indicative of the 70s era like "groovy" or whatnot, but the cell phone portion still could have been omitted.
Quentin has an uncanny knack to pick out music for his films that complement the movie perfectly. I didn't recognize a single tune played all throughout "Death Proof" yet they all sounded very similar to the tunes that would have graced some of the 70s flicks. His song selections often become almost ancillary characters in the movie as they play a predominant part in accentuating scenes.
I personally preferred the first act of "Death Proof" to the second. It was much more graphic, better written and as crazy as it is to say for an action film, even more logical. In its second portion, I just wasn't able to grasp how come the car load of women didn't just stop their car instead of driving side by side with a crazy guy. However, their bit of redemption at the end was well-played.
I can only imagine what it would have been like to take in the full experience of "Grindhouse" in a theater. First and foremost, it would have been nice to get two movies for the price of one. Especially when they are by two of my favorite directors like Tarantino and Rodriguez. "Death Proof" does an excellent job of providing the B-movie feel yet still managing to stand up to many of today's releases that are actually trying to produce decent material.
My rating: B