"Grindhouse" runs three-plus hours and is simply too much of a good-bad thing.
The film consists of two feature-length movies and fake movie trailers, or "prevues," and is supposed to be directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's affectionate homage to the grainy-looking, gritty and often exploitative '70s movies that were shown as double features, usually in run-down theaters.
Unfortunately, watching that much deliberately cheesy and sleazy filmmaking becomes wearying, and one of the two-movies-within-a-movie is arguably better than the other. (In some European film markets, the two movies are being shown separately, which might be a better way to take them in.)
The first of the features is "Planet Terror," Rodriguez's blood-soaked, sci-fi/horror yarn about scientifically created zombies running amok in a small Texas community. And yes, this is the one featuring Rose McGowan as the character with a machine gun for a leg.
As for the smash-'em-up "Deathproof," it's Tarantino's salute to such vehicle-based thrillers as "Vanishing Point" (1971) and "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry" (1974); this one stars Kurt Russell as a crazed stunt driver.
Both of the so-called "feature presentations" certainly have their talky aspects, but at least the splattery conclusion to "Planet Terror" is sort of satisfying. The self-indulgent "Deathproof" takes forever to get started and then just pretty much ends.
Actually, the trailers may be the strongest aspect of the entire presentation: "Thanksgiving" may be in dubious taste (it comes from director Eli Roth, of "Hostel" fame), but it's amusing in a cringe-worthy way. Rodriguez also offers a faux-revenge thriller trailer, "Machete," which stars Danny Trejo. And "Don't Scream," from the makers of the British cult hit "Shawn of the Dead," is a perfectly done terror-movie spoof.
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