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Grindhouse Death proof Stunt Car Belts Kurt Russell, Zoë Bell, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Tracie Thoms, Jordan Ladd, Rose McGowan, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth

Grindhouse: Death Proof. A washed up stuntman stalks and hunts sexy wimin’ in his ‘death proof’ stunt car. Part of the ‘Grindhouse’ double feature; this is given the ‘aged movie reel’ treatment – with tons of deliberately rough editing, cutting, lo-fi mono audio, scratched film, bad ADR, black/white… to make it feel like you’re watching a 70s film. It gets confusing however when people have mobile phones, and talk about CGI and Red Bull… Also, for whatever reason, this isn’t carried on through the second half of the film – making it seem even more gimmicky than it first appears. It’s ridiculously sweary – even by Tarantino standards – and boasts more leg and bum shots than a Michael Bay outing. The pacing is all over the shop – waiting 50 mins to first Final Destination style deaths, and spending most of the runtime listening to women gossiping and referencing niche pop culture in various cars and bars. For the most part, it’s not really gripping, but the action finale saves the day as stuntwoman Zoe Bell perilously navigates the bonnet of a speeding muscle car with no tricks. Despite only being in a handful of scenes Kurt Russel steals the show as an old-skool senseless maniac. Although Death Proof is a bit of a mess it remains watchable because of Tarantino’s quirks, dialogue, and the fact that you’re never really sure what’s coming up next. Definitely not his finest hour.

Score: 5.5/10

 

Grindhouse Death Proof Cast Girls babes Kurt Russell, Zoë Bell, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Tracie Thoms, Jordan Ladd, Rose McGowan, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Quentin Tarantino, Eli RothGrindhouse Death Proof Bar lapdance Kurt Russell, Zoë Bell, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Tracie Thoms, Jordan Ladd, Rose McGowan, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth

Red 2 Wallpaper Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins, Mary-Louise Parker, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung-hun Lee, Jong Kun Lee, David Thewlis, Neal McDonough, Garrick Hagon, Tim Pigott-Smith, Brian Cox

Red 2: a Retired, Extremely Dangerous (RED) agent Frank Moses is back on the radar when an APB goes out to every contract killer in the world, with a tasty bounty on his head. First off, although he’s in a restrictive role (and – skeptically – probably only to sell tickets in Asia) I like the gamble of casting a Korean megastar that is relatively unknown in the West. Even delivering phonetic/over-dubbed lines Lee Byung-Hun steals his scenes, and raises the action bar – peaking in the impressive and innovative fridge-door fight in Moscow. It’s also as funny as RED was, but every single laugh is John Malkovich“If there’s one thing I know, it’s women and covert operations”. Hopkins is entertaining, Louise-Parker & Zeta-Jones are both hyphenated surnames, and dame Mirren also enjoyable company. The setup is rrrrrather contemporary for a comic – a’la WikiLeaks, but the overall story (and film) don’t flow particularly well as they’re determined to have a James Bond style travelogue element – popping up here, there, and everywhere for no real reason: London, Moscow, Paris, America… despite this, it’s hard not to switch off by the end as the required ‘twisty-turny’ but overall a fairly predictable story arc plays out – what’s wrong with goodies being good and baddies staying bad?!?!? Basically, Bruce Willis doing a dialed-in ‘wise guy’ with diluted attitude, surrounded by people you’d rather be watching – all reminding you of that film ‘Paycheck’, but for the wrong reasons. Less Die Hard, more Die Soft and wrinkly.

Score: 5.5/10

Fast & Furious Vin Diesel, Dominic Toretto, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodríguez, Jordana Brewster, John Ortiz, Laz Alonso, Sung Kang, Tego Calderón, Don Omar, Mirtha Michelle

New Model, Original Parts

Fast & Furious (AKA Fast Four): The loveable gang of petrol-heads join forces with the CIA to take down a heroin importation Barron; who prefers car-based work – obviously! In what can only be described as ‘in Bond Style’ this one opens up with an extended mini mission that’s bigger, better, and cooler than anything else in the franchise to date, with the best big rig / freight truck stuntwork since Licence to Kill – the quality of action in general has been cranked up a few notches. The biggest change in the fourth FF outing is that this is far more accessible than previous movies because it shifts gears away from ‘street racing’ being the only focus of the movies – which was novel, but appeals to such a tiny percentage of the viewers. Instead this opts for a more standard crime / revenge thriller, albeit 4-wheel based. If you’re disappointed in the lack of complex plot and big acting in this, hand over your keys as you don’t deserve to be watching this. What I love most is how every occasion in the FF universe is a Corona occasion: the club, supper time, home surgery o’clock… always time for Mexico’s best-selling cool, fragrant, golden pilsner. Jesting aside, it’s like the stars have finally re-aligned, making Fast & Furious feel like a proper franchise film again, and a film that’s streets ahead of the previous two movies – aiming for the mainstream, Friday-night, popcorn-munching, populist target, and smashing it head-on.

Score: 6.5/10

Fast Four Vin Diesel, Dominic Toretto, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodríguez, Jordana Brewster, John Ortiz, Laz Alonso, Sung Kang, Tego Calderón, Don Omar, Mirtha MichelleThe Fast and the Furious
2 Fast 2 Furious
The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift