Quentin Tarantino's contribution to the Grindhouse double-feature largely hinges on the unpredictable exploits of 'Stuntman Mike' (Kurt Russell). The film shows two separate groups of fun-seeking women and how their lives are affected thanks to interactions with Mike. Whereas Planet Terror was steeped in violence and over-the-top action, Death Proof is an incredibly slow burner. Incredibly slow.
The film is two separate stories which essentially follow the same pattern. A group of young, care-free women are stalked silently by Mike and the camera focuses primarily on them and their conversations, before they end up in a brutal confrontation with the sadistic stuntman. While there is no doubt in my mind that Tarantino is capable of some entertaining dialogue (as witnessed in Pulp Fiction & Reservoir dogs, which were beautiful until they were drawn out, quoted and flogged to death by film students everywhere!), there is no such example of ingeniously witty barbs here. The exchanges between both groups of women were utterly inane. I want to choose my words artfully so I can fully demonstrate just how senseless and insignificant the banter was between the superficial women involved.
This wouldn't be such a problem if the film could rely on action scenes to carry you through, but sadly at least 75% of Death Proof is the vapid chit-chat. What a let down! I can't emphasise how close I was to just turning the film off as a result of its complete failure to entertain. It's the complete opposite of what I expected given Tarantino has been given an almost free licence to entertain with explicit violence!
The other 25% of the film was great. Intense car chases, crashes and smashes. The middle of the film presents a sickening scene of vehicular manslaughter that pretty much counts as the only piece of action in the first 90 or so minutes in the film. I was impressed with the way the second segment of the film ended and it was quite a refreshing twist, but other than that, my I.Q points were well and truly routed by the films empty dialogue.