Two doctors find their graveyard shift inundated with townspeople ravaged by sores. As the invalids quickly mutate into flesh-eating zombies, a one-legged dancer and her ex-boyfriend lead a team of accidental warriors into the night.
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I'll always have a soft spot for this one; I saw it at the impressionable age when Rose McGowan mowing down zombies with a machine-gun leg was the coolest thing there had ever been and would ever be. Eight years later, and I haven't really matured.
All posing aside, PLANET TERROR is Rodriguez's best film. It has a script that makes sense from A to Z (most of his films do not, or at least crap out by the end), it has bloody action, cool characters, and the wacky cartoonish sensibility that characterizes Rodriguez's work.
An exploitation film homage, made better by its brilliant double feature debut, along side some of the most renowned "flick-makers" there are, Planet Terror excels in what it's trying to do. Over-the-top action, smart gore and violence, hot babes, catchphrases a plenty, and even some surprising angle shots choices made by Rodriguez. Characters are somewhat bland, not that the movie needs the complexity.
After seeing Tarantino's self-indulgent Deathproof, I didn't expect to love Rodriguez's Grindhouse contribution as much as I did. The amazing camerawork (especially when the zombies were standing outside the steakhouse), ickiness (eating while watching was the worst idea), great atmosphere, and sleaze just dripping everywhere completely drew me in. Nasty excess and loads of cringey moments, but I loved it!
As far as pastiches go, this has some vibrant touches technically & artistically plus references the most notable aspects of the 60s B-movie/sexploitation/schlock horror era. The problem here really is Rodriguez who is the kind of director who you can imagine jacks off to how great he thinks he is. His aesthetic is pure excess but, 70% of the time, in a clumsy, nasty, pervy, unnecessary way that clouds the potential.
Nah I have no patience for Rodriguez or Tarantino, which I get routinely demonised for. I found the plot painfully obvious, and direction patronising (e.g. characters re-phrase what they need to do before the film ends 10 times). There is also a tricky balance of referencing other films and having no original idea, which in my opinion of a miserable git, this one fails to maintain. But I am biased.