Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Written by Robert Rodriguez
Cinematography by Robert Rodriguez
Music by Graeme Revell, Carl Thiel
Cast: Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton, Jeff Fahey, Michael Biehn, Naveen Andrews, Bruce Willis, Quentin Tarantino

2007/105mins/Color /Dolby Digital 5.1
1.85:1/English/US/NTSC Region 1

Review from Dimension Films DVD

A chemical weapon has been unintentionally released on an unsuspecting town in Texas. Soon, citizens everywhere, once contaminated, start bubbling and decomposing at a rapid rate, and anyone comes in contact with those already infected become hopelessly infected themselves. As the town completely turns on its head, a few survivors who have kept their cool and joined together to put an end to the epidemic travel from the local hospital, to a rundown shack with the best BBQ in Texas, and finally the abandoned military base, which isn't so abandoned after all!

Robert Rodriguez, whose previous films would have easily found action-seeking audiences in the 1970's, goes completely ballistic here, making no excuses, no apologies and holding nothing back as he unravels his over-the-top zombie tale. Rodriguez' homage here pulls and pays tribute to the Italian zombie cycle of films - particularly Lucio Fulci's ZOMBI 2 and CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, Umberto Lenzi's NIGHTMARE CITY and Bruno Mattei's HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD - while still making a unique and new zombie film that will be enjoyed by gorehounds for years to come. Rodriguez really pores on the goo, yucks, blood n' guts here and loves every minute of it! And as with all horror flicks of this nature, below the surface level is the prerequisite between-the-lines warning and stance against experimental weapons and the collapse of society.

All of the actors onboard, many of whom found their start in lower-budget horror films, play their parts to a "T". Rose McGowan, as the long-legged go-go dancer Cherry Darling, is the main protagonist here and whose story we follow the most. Co-stars Freddy Rodriguez (of TV's Six Feet Under) and Naveen Andrews (of TV's Lost) get some good screen time in as well. Freddy Rodriguez in particular, who plays the mysterious Wray, gets to dish out some grin-inducing pain and destruction. A hoard of cameos round out an ensamble cast. It may be cliche, but everyone on screen looks like their having a blast doing what they're doing, and commits themselves wholeheartedly to the story, no matter how ludicrous it gets. And when you consider "the gun", which comes into play in the final act, it gets pretty damn ludicrous.

Rodriguez makes a welcome return to horror here after his last foray with THE FACULTY, and is a welcome dish of splatterfest fun that even at its grisliest is still just quaint and purely entertaining when compared to contemporary torture-horror. But quaint is by no means cute, as several scenes will have some of the weaker-willed and unprepared feeling a bit of bile in the back of their throats, and girlfriends everywhere will have their faces buried in their uncontrollably-smiling boyfriends' shoulders.

Originally released in America on the double bill known as GRINDHOUSE, PLANET TERROR has now been given its own single-movie two-disc set, featuring a slightly extended and unrated print that includes some additional gore and a little bit of dialogue. The movie has been ported exactly as it was seen in the theatre, retaining all the scratches and blemishes, as well as the tearing film strip and "missing reel" gag which is a rather odd experience while watching a digital format.

Disc One includes an audio commentary track by Robert Rodriguez, who as always provides an energetic and enthusiastic performance with a blend of on-set stories, technical insights, thoughts on the actors and the process of bringing the movie from page to screen. A separate audio track features a recording of the audience's reaction at one of the screenings and helps to recreate the all important "movie theatre experience". A poster gallery rounds out the first disc, as well as the mind-blowing and spectacular MACHETE faux trailer.

Disc Two is where you'll find the meat and potatoes of the special features for this release. The always informative "10 Minute Film School" once returns, with a look at just how Rose McGowan was given a machine gun for a leg. "The Badass Babes And Tough Guys of Planet Terror" point the spotlight at just how Rodriguez chose his actors and how they in turn helped to define the script. "Sickos, Bullets And Explosions" takes a look at all the stunts and tricks that were pulled off, and shows that even on a supposedly low-budget exploitation film, the safety and professionalism on set is top notch. Another featurette that focuses on some of Rodriguez' personal friends who found their way into the movie rounds out the features.

The features are rather lackluster and while enjoyable is mostly just fluff, but there is definitely the feeling that most of the great material (including the sorely missing "10 Minute Cooking School") is being held back for the inevitable GRINDHOUSE deluxe release. Nonetheless this is one of the few times a double-dip is in order, as the extras, commentary and perhaps even the "unrated" footage may not be ported over for the next release. For those that don't feel compelled to own DEATH PROOF, this is a must own!





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Review by Ryan Midnight All Right Reserved. 2007. ©