Not just another pretty faced Grindhouse mayhem exploitation flick, Death Proof offers quite a few interesting (and unique) storyline twists, the sort that make all of Quenton Tarantino’s movies (and movie scripts) gather a serious following of fans and loyal viewers. Taking the seemingly unlikely Kurt Russell into the mix as Stuntman Mike, an ungracefully aging serial killer bent on incorporating beautiful adventurous women into his vehicular homicide “stunts”, turns out to be not the leap fans of Russell might have supposed. The talented actor pulls it off and then some, able to project a sinister air with the best of villain thriller performances.
Two sets of ladies are targeted, first stalked and studied by our maniacally devoted psycho, who prefers at least several at a time for his piece de resistance. The first have the seductive, Abernathy, played by Rosario Dawson, who is induced to give Stuntman a lap dance. Quite a scene, but it’s not going to be enough to revise his dark priorities. Although the viewer is really not certain what’s up during the bar scene (with our talented director/writer, Mr. Tarantino, our bartender,) upon leaving the bar to follow the intended victims, an inadvertent conversation with a stranded beauty he’s giving a ride home, ends in making it clear what is coming. Some really brilliant lines.
The camera work for what follows is stunning. Repeating the scene from separate points of view to enhance the gory details is a touch Tarantino does as well as anyone, if not better. Reflection of the movie’s title is exampled in Stuntman Mike being the only survivor. Unable to apply criminal charges, the investigating Texas Ranger, played by the equally sinister, Michael Parks, contents himself with getting Stuntman out of Texas.
The next set of ladies isn’t so easy. This is where the talented performance of Zoe Bell, as herself, steals the show. Her daring thrill seeking entices our creative psychotic into a bit of “over-extending”. The phrases, vanishing point and mast heading are going to take on new meanings for you…just as had death proof. Beautifully ironic. Most notable supporting performance is given by Tracie Thoms as Kim, Zoe’s sidekick. If beauty were a requirement for honorable mention, this reviewer would have to string out another twenty or so names.
The elements of car chase, serial killer, thrill-seeking beauties are woven together in novel and interesting ways, creatively so. Throw in the roar of high performance engines, real ones, and you have another Tarantino classic-in-the-making.
Language far too graphic for the kiddies and not a good movie from which to acquire safe driving skills.