Thursday, July 28, 2016

Planet Terror

Year 8, Day 210 - 7/28/16 - Movie #2,405

BEFORE: I've been going about a mile a minute since I got back from San Diego - I've posted my trip photos on Flickr, for example, but I haven't had time to write any captions for them.  I managed to send my sister a birthday gift via Amazon, but I haven't had time to send my niece and nephew the items I picked up for them at the Con.  I got my suitcase full of booth supplies to the office, but I haven't had time to unpack it.  And so it goes - I was away for just a week, but you'd think it was a month by how behind I feel.  

Today's film is the 2nd of the two "Grindhouse" films that Tarantino + Rodriguez teamed up on, or is it the first?  I don't really know, and it doesn't really mattter.  All that counts is that Rose McGowan (and several other actors) carries over, and it stars another actor who kicks off my next chain.  So it's worth paying $2.99 to watch this on iTunes, if it keeps my chain going. 

THE PLOT:  After an experimental bio-weapon is released, turning thousands into zombie-like creatures, it's up to a rag-tag group of survivors to stop the infected and those behind its release.

AFTER: Obviously, with its zombie-themed plot, this probably should have been part of October's horror chain - but I need this here for the linking.  Out of place, perhaps - but then again, maybe not.  The "Grindhouse" theme sort of fits in right with Comic-Con week, even though that was last week.  Disaster film, exploitation film, zombie film - yep, that's Comic-Con in a nutshell, and I'll try to keep that going with tomorrow's film as well.  

This is not really a film in my wheelhouse, even though I've watched zombie films before ("World War Z", "Warm Bodies", "Zombieland") I haven't really warmed up to them, and I don't even watch "The Walking Dead" - who has that kind of time?  But I watched the films so I would be educated about them, and learn the formula and the common elements one can expect to see in them.  

This one's so over the top as to be completely ridiculous - I can't take it seriously, but then, I also feel like I'm not supposed to.  If last night's film was accident porn, then this is sort of medical porn - as the typical American town deals with the zombie invasion, the hospital is overwhelmed with infected bites, people who need limbs amputated, people who ALREADY had limbs amputated by the zombies (cutting out the middleman, very efficient) and then your general bleedings, head wounds and such.  One famous singer makes a cameo, and her entire brain is missing from her skull, generally proving all of her critics correct (sorry, I couldn't resist...).   

In the middle of it all is a stripper (sorry, go-go dancer) and her ex-boyfriend, who's some kind of legendary zombie-killer with zombie-killer skills - where does one develop such skills, anyway?  I mean, how do you learn that you have what it takes to kill a bunch of zombies, before you end up killing a bunch of zombies?  I must remember to investigate.  Plus there's the female doctor who's an expert in sedatives, her father who's the town sheriff, and a guy who runs a barbecue restaurant who wonders why his new clientele doesn't want to eat the ribs he's serving, but his own instead.  

Things get super-ridiculous when the stripper loses her leg and her ex sticks a gun on her stump - the odds of that gun being just the right length for her to walk aside, how come the gun fires without her ever pulling the trigger?  Some kind of muscle control enables her to fire?  That doesn't seem right.  Plus the gun seems to fire whatever she needs it to - bullets, rockets, grenades - that seems pretty unlikely too.  

But, unlike "Death Proof", this seems to all be done in good, non-clean fun.  Even the annoying habit of having scratches in the film and jump-cuts galore seems to be more acceptable when there's a ton more action, and actual story development, not just a guy running over women, just because.  The most egregious "intentional" error comes here when there is supposedly an entire reel missing, and I suspect this covers up the fact that a lazy screenwriter did not know how to get from the love scene to the final showdown scene.  Skipping right to the action is appreciated in some sense, but it's still a cheat. 

Damn, how did I not realize that Cheech Marin was in this film?  He appears in the trailer for "Machete" at the beginning, which was a fake film at the time this was released, but then became a real film later on.  I could have used this film as a lead-out from my Cheech and Chong chain a few weeks ago!  Oh, well, everything happens for a reason, right?  And there are no accidents, provided I can keep the chain going for the rest of the year - that will mean that it was meant to be.  

Also starring Freddy Rodriguez (last seen in "Poseidon"), Josh Brolin (last seen in "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For"), Marley Shelton (last seen in "Death Proof"), Jeff Fahey (last seen in "Wyatt Earp"), Michael Biehn (last seen in "Tombstone"), Bruce Willis (last seen in "Sunset"), Naveen Andrews (last seen in "The Brave One"), Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson (also last seen in "Poseidon"), Nicky Katt (also last seen in "Death Proof"), Quentin Tarantino (ditto), Michael Parks (ditto), Zoe Bell (ditto), Julio Oscar Mechoso, Tom Savini, Carlos Gallardo, Electra & Elise Avellan, Danny Trejo (last seen in "XXX"), Cheech Marin (last seen in "Cheech & Chong's Next Movie").

RATING: 4 out of 10 syringes

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