The long awaited, latest film from Quentin Tarantino, "DEATH PROOF," has finally been released on blu-ray, and in the "extended edition" version! Originally conceived as part of a "double feature" homage to old "B" movies from the drive-ins, filled with over-the-top, gore and titillation, Tarantino and Rodriguez each filmed their own projects, tying them in with psuedo-trailers and releasing it as "GRIND HOUSE." Unfortunately, while both films displayed some of the best trademarks of these directors, they also revealed some of the worst. "DEATH PROOF" was far too long in its theatrical version, and the "extended" version doesn't make it any better!
Trying to do for Kurt Russell, what he did for John Travolta in "PULP FICTION," Tarantino has crafted a character, played by Kurt Russell, destined to she him from his younger Disney-family-film association, in a much stronger way than his Snake Pliskin character did with "ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK." Russell plays Stuntman Mike, an interesting, amiable guy some girls meet up with in an Austin, Texas bar. There is a "lot" of talking in this film, and while the writer/director believes it's well-crafted, there's not much in the dialogue allowing one to care too much about the girls, who are the unfortunate targets of Mike, soon revealed to be a sadistic serial killer, using his souped up automobile to create horrific deaths.
While Tarantino may surprise "some" viewers with specific choices of characters he's willing to kill off, the 2nd half of the film, meant to be more empowering for the women it depicts, fails mostly because these women come across as thoroughly unlikeable and pretty nasty individuals themselves.
WEINSTEIN COMPANY has provided the correct 2.40:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray. When the image is at its best, it is notably more detailed than the dvd counterpart, however, the filmmakers of "GRINDHOUSE" intentionally sought for the '70s "drive-in" look for these films, so there is plenty of artificially grain, scratches, wear and tear as well as a dull look for extended periods. There are also some incredibly slick, detailed moments wherein the image jumps off the screen with high-def resolution. "DEATH PROOF" looks as good as its source material could probably ever allow for it to look as presented here.
WEINSTEIN COMPANY has provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. Somewhat hypocritically, Tarantino has no problem offering a stellar sounding mix, completely at odds with the kind of sound available in theaters, let alone "drive-ins" of the '70s! Still, it's welcome, as the deep bass of the muscle cars, subtle atmospheric nuances, discrete effects and dialogue are all perfectly balanced. Dialogue and music are presented with great fidelity and while not as immersive an experience as "PLANET TERROR," it still rocks!
A variety of extras is included, consisting of featurettes and more. (But, still no commentary with Tarantino yet!!!)