(pictured: Death Proof may look like a tough guy, but in reality he is a big wuss)
SPOILER ALERT! DON’T READ THIS AND THEN BITCH TO ME LATER ABOUT ME HAVING SPOILED QUENTIN TARANTINO’S DEATH PROOF FOR YOU! THIS IS A SPOILER WARNING!
I went to see Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof the other night. I found it to be something of a mixed bag. It was very much a game of two halves, the first half being Death Proof stalking, perving on and then murdering a group of chicks by driving his stunt car into their automobile, and the second him stalking, perving on, and then being murdered by a similar group of chicks. The first half is definitely the best, as QT gives full time to character development, and although you don’t really ever get to like the lassies particularly, you at least get a good sense of their characters before the lot of them are slaughtered. Also, Kurt Russell as Death Proof plays a far more prominent role, actual interacting with his prey and generally creeping the shit out of them. By contrast the second half seems a bit rushed, the characters less definitively drawn, the lovely Rosario Dawson is a bit of a princess, the Kiwi girl is an adrenaline junkie, the black girl drops N bombs a lot but in terms of character development you get left feeling a little short changed.
The dialogue is Quentintino’s usual fare of snappy back-forth hipper-than-thou repartee, although it must be said a great deal less quotable than the likes of Pulp Fiction, for instance, or even Kill Bill. Q-Tip has been praised for being able to write convincingly from a female perspective in this movie. About 50% of women I know who have seen the film agree with this, but the other 50% have said “bullshit! We don’t talk like that!” Since I have no idea how girls talk when they’re alone I can’t possibly comment, except to say that it sounds OK to me. More or less. They talk about boys a lot, which at least sounds about right.
My final real complaint about the movie is that after being tough and scary in the first half of the movie, in the second half Death Proof turns into a massive pussy. He is woefully ineffective at killing those girls. You sort of expect him to come back for one more scare, but pretty much after he gets wounded in the arm by the black girl (who is, of course, packing heat) he turns into a big wuss and tries to get away. It’s sad to see, that Death Proof’s weakness is in fact bullets. After that he gets beaten savagely by the girls and the credits roll. That’s pretty much it, apart from Rosie Dawson landing an impressive stiletto kick into Death Proof’s surprised looking face.
Death Proof is a good film, and pretty entertaining, but it isn’t a great film. And that’s what the Quentinator is supposed to be famed for. Hopefully, whatever he comes up with next, be it Inglorious Bastards or the Vega Brothers movie, fits that bill.