Grindhouse Presents Planet Terror Robert Rodriguez

Grindhouse Presents Planet Terror Robert Rodriguez
With the original two-film, multi-faux trailer extravaganza now broken up in an effort to recoup losses (before eventually being released together as intended), people have been forced into choosing sides. Is Rodriguez’s Planet Terror better than Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof? Well, that depends on what you want, but the point is they were never meant to stand on their own but together as a larger work, as an experience, as an event, as a tribute to the Grindhouse subgenre of film. There’s no question that fans of the zombie/apocalyptic horror genre (any of the of the Dead films, The Thing), or over the top action in general, were drawn to Planet Terror over Quentin’s initially slower, more verbose slasher/car-chase flick. Kicking off with Rodriguez’s trailer for Machete, which features the iconic Danny Trejo as a double-crossed Mexican federal agent seeking revenge (with machetes!!!), and is the only one of the trailers included so far, Rodriguez wastes little time setting up Planet Terror. With intentional plot holes big enough to drive hero El Wray’s truck through (it’s a Grindhouse flick, Rodriguez is never shy of reminding people during his commentary whenever something doesn’t make sense), Planet Terror sees a secret government gas released on a small Texas town, turning people into infected monsters, with a group of survivors, led by an eventually machine-gun legged Rose McGowan and ultimate bad-ass Freddy Rodriguez, trying to escape. Throw in Bruce Willis as an Army Lieutenant leading a band of infected soldiers, over-the-top gore and violence and a sub-plot about the ultimate BBQ recipe and there’s no question that Planet Terror is satisfying for camp enthusiasts, action junkies and horror fanatics, even if it is far from the director’s best work. Much like its companion film, Planet Terror comes in a two-disc set with a number of extras, including Rodriguez’s customary "10-Minute Film School,” where he demonstrates again how incredibly talented he is, not terribly in-depth featurettes on the "Babes and Tough Guys of Planet Terror” and the casting of some of his friends. And, unlike Tarantino’s Death Proof, Rodriguez steps up and, as usual, delivers a solid commentary track. Missing, however, is the featurette where he divulges his ultimate BBQ recipe, which is teased in said commentary, to be included on the eventual proper Grindhouse release. It’s true: Texans never want to give up their BBQ recipes. (Alliance Films)