Robert Rodriguez and the second half of the “Grindhouse” double feature.
The extended and unrated version of “Planet Terror” is only about 3 minutes longer than the theatrical release, so doesn’t suffer the same overkill that “Death Proof” does in its extended form.
The cast for this film has some pretty heavy hitters in it, certainly more than Death Proof has, plus there’s more of an actual plot to the film rather than just a couple of big set-pieces and lots of chit chat, no matter how well written or clever.
Rose McGowan is pole dancer “Cherry Darling”, Freddie Rodriguez her ex-boyfriend “El Wray”. They get mixed up in a zombie apocalypse caused by a mad chemical engineer called “Abby” (Naveen Andrews from “Lost”) who is selling a deadly nerve agent to an already infected bunch of military renegades commanded by “Lt Muldoon”, played by Bruce Willis. They need to keep inhaling the gas to survive. However, when the agent is released the local town goes to hell.
You’ve got Michael Biehn as “Sheriff Hague”, his brother “J.T.” (Jeff Fahey) who runs the “Bone Shack” BBQ restaurant, Tom Savini as “Deputy Tolo”, and Michael Parks as Texas Ranger Earl McGraw.
Josh Brolin as “Dr William Block” and Marley Shelton as his cheating wife “Dr Dakota Block” run alongside in a different subplot, where the hospital is quickly overrun by zombies. Of course they all meet up later on.
Humour is everywhere, whether it’s Fergie being eaten alive, and then her remains shown to her secret lover Dr Dakota, or Deputy Tolo being torn limb from limb when holed up at the Bone Shack. Lots of good laughs. And blood.
So I’ve made it this far without mentioning Cherry Darling losing a leg, and having it replaced firstly with a table leg, and later with an assault rifle. Yep, films don’t get much dafter than this one. If you can ignore the fact that she isn’t pulling the trigger or firing the grenades, then the CGI is quite impressive. In fact the visuals are great throughout, even with the fake film damage in place. (You can turn that off as a special feature, but why would you want to ?)
Tarantino makes another one of his cameos, this time as a wannabe rapist, though thanks to the mutation introduced by the chemical agent, he hasn’t got much chance ! A bit gross as his meat and two veg fall away thanks to the mutation.
9/10. Love this film. Definitely the better of the two Grindhouse films. Plus it has the fake trailer for “Machete”, which is worth 12/10 on its own.