Plot: What’s it about?
Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) drives one wicked car and loves to pick up the ladies, but his idea of a good time doesn’t follow the normal date pattern. He picks up beautiful women and then when the moment is right, he kills them, but in Mike’s case, his weapon is his bad ass car. He has been able to channel his sociopathic urges well enough to this point, with countless victims and little chance of capture or death. When he targets his next victims however, he underestimates his prey, as this group of femme fatales won’t embrace their mortal ends. A group of women on a film crew happen to be in the same diner as Mike and after a while, he takes notice of their presence and conversation. As Mike faces off with these slick females, led by Zoe (Zoe Bell), the tide begins to turn dark and a showdown is imminent. But is Mike’s car truly death proof and if not, can Zoe and her friends make sure that Mike has claimed his last victim?
After I saw Grindhouse, I have to admit I felt Death Proof was the weaker half, as Planet Terror caught more of my attention. Now for home video, the movies have been separated and for Death Proof, we have an extended version. This longer cut is much better in my opinion, the additional time is used to expand on the characters. I also think Death Proof benefits from not being the second half of a long cinematic experience, it works better as a solo picture. The movie has a great finale and some well crafted action, but this is a Quentin Tarantino movie, so the focus is on dialogue. This is not Pulp Fiction level stuff across the board, but the second half of the movie has some memorable lines. Kurt Russell is fine in his turn here, but the ladies of Death Proof steal the show. Mary Elizabth Windstead, Rosario Dawson, and especially Zoe Bell own this movie, with Winstead pulling out all the stops to make sure audiences remember her performance. Death Proof is a good movie, a nice throwback that features some good dialogue and some great performances. This extended edition proves to be a nice improvement over the Grindhouse version, so fans will want to pick this one up for sure.
Video: How does it look?
Death Proof is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The movie looks good here, but keep in mind, this is supposed to look like a 70s drive in flick, so the visuals aren’t refined. The print defects, from lines to scratches have been injected to maintain that 70s tone, so no need for concern there. This looks just as it should, a little rough at times, but an accurate representation and just as it was shown in theaters. I am sure some will complain, whether they’re aware of the intended visuals or not, but for what it is, this transfer is up to snuff.
Audio: How does it sound?
This Dolby Digital 5.1 option is good, especially when the engines begin to fire up. This is at heart a dialogue driven film however, so a lot of the audio is driven by vocals and by turn, this soundtrack isn’t that dynamic. But the dialogue sounds great, always crisp and no volume issues or harshness arise. The music is great too, so even in the more laid back scenes, the music provides some presence and that adds to the experience. Once the action kicks in, the surrounds come to life and some dynamic audio is let loose, so you’ll feel like you’re riding shotgun yourself. This release also includes French and Italian language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The first disc has some poster artwork and theatrical trailers, but the bulk of the extras are found on the second disc. We have half a dozen featurettes and while all offer some welcome insight, none prove to be that substantial. A look at the stunt drivers is cool, while the rest tend to reveal information on the casting process. So you’ll hear about Kurt Russell, Zoe Bell, and how the other men and women were cast to be part of Death Proof. The sixth and final featurette focuses on editor Sally Menke and as expected, is all about the editing process.