Death Proof (2007) is a film directed and written by Quentin Tarantino, and he considers it his fifth film in his filmography. Released as a double feature with Planet Terror, this film is more simplistic in it’s story, and instead focuses on the style and genre. Death Proof stars Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike, a guy that goes and kills vulnerable women in his “death-proof” car.
What I loved about this film in particular is how fun it was. This felt like a film that knew it was an homage to other slasher style films of the 60s and 70s and just had fun with the concept. From the retro style and production design, to even the overlay that was used, this was pure fun and I liked how dramatic and bold it was.
Usually I credit Tarantino on his choreography, but here is was even more to do as most of the violence took place in car sequences. Normally, I am someone that can get pretty bored quickly of car chase sequences. However, both sequences were completely different, both from the violence and the POV of them. They were both equally thrilling and provided for some great moments and excellent violence to be shown off.
The story with this film is a great concept, and it was sold thanks to the dramatic performances throughout both acts of the film. Kurt Russell is exceptional as always as Stuntman Mike, and is convincing of a mysterious and creepy guy. The stand out for me amongst the rest of the cast is Zoë Bell who plays herself, she has some extreme things that she has to do, but as a stuntwoman herself, she makes it work. She knows how to do danger, as well as make it look good on the screen.
I do have to say though, I think this film is not truly captivating for a two hour runtime. For me, this feels like a great concept for a 20-30 minute short. The rest of this time does little to expand on the narrative or the mystery of Stuntman Mike, but instead used to develop the female characters and their quirky personalities. I just found it off to use so much time to developing characters and their background when they get half of the screen time that I was expecting.
I also found the first half of the film to be more captivating than the second half. For me, the characters, the location and the kills were just that more exciting in the first half. I found myself connected to the girls in the first half of the film, but the girls in the second half felt very clichéd and stereotypical. It started to come off as a bit too cheesy, and it drew me out from the film.
The script here was also unfortunately weaker than usual from Tarantino. It felt repetitive in the second half, and the villain was completely under-written. It felt like there was no suspense about his character, he was just automatically the sketchy guy who was going to do something to the drunk women. There wasn’t much substance in this film, and that’s fine for a fun little flick like this, but there needed to be more layers for a two-hour film for me.
Whilst I still had fun with the action and story here, it felt like two short films that just fitted together. I could have seen this working as a 20-minute short, but instead Tarantino feels the need to develop these stories that do not require much depth to make it work. Maybe this works better in the Grindhouse double feature, but this is probably Tarantino’s weakest piece of work. However, I still enjoyed it and would still say to watch it, especially if you’re watching all of Tarantino’s works.
Have you seen Death Proof yet? Do you agree with me that it’s Tarantino’s weakest film, or do you like it more than I did? Let me know in the comments below and let’s have a conversation.