Film Review: Planet Terror (2007)

Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, and starring Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton, Naveen Andrews, Michael Biehn, Jeff Fahey, Rebel Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, and Bruce Willis.

"In a rural town in Texas, go-go dancer Cherry Darling (with a leg/machine gun), decides to quit her low-paying job and find another use for her numerous 'useless' talents. Cherry's ex-boyfriend, El Wray, at the Bone Shack, a restaurant owned by J.T. Hague, a group of military officials, led by the demented Lt. Muldoon, are making a business transaction with a scientist named Abby for a deadly biochemical agent known as DC2 codename 'Project Terror', but when Muldoon learns Abby has an extra supply on hand, he attempts to take Abby hostage and Abby intentionally releases the gas into the air. As gun-legged Cherry Darling and one man wrecking crew El Wray try to save the world from a horde of flesh-eating zombies.

"Robert Rodriguez first came up with the idea for Planet Terror while making The Faculty. He told Elijah Wood and Josh Hartnett that zombie movies were about to come back in a major way. He wanted to be there first when it happened so he prepared a script. But he only got as far as 30 pages before he got stuck for ideas. And when he got attached to other projects, the zombie craze happened just as he predicted. Rodriguez later commented, 'I knew I should've made my zombie movie.'"

A biological gas is accidentally released turning a bunch of people into zombies. A group of people band together and try to stop them. This was half of the Grindhouse pair of movies released (the other being Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof), and this being Robert Rodriguez's answer to the almost forgotten exploitation era, and was just as good as I thought it would be. The special effects are top notch, the dialog is cheesy, and the characters are great. It's so over-the-top that you can't help but love it. Seriously. There's even a "missing reel" that they replace with a scene from another movie. The acting is dead-pan and perfect, especially Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton, Jeff Fahey, and Robert Rodriguez's brother, Freddy.

There's a lot of cameos, too, including Bruce Willis, since Rodriguez has a hell of a lot of friends, and it also (cleverly) adds a nod that hearkens back to the same era when low budget movies would cast a big star in a small role and market the movie with said star, just to draw in the crowds. It's too bad that Grindhouse didn't do better at the box office, but that doesn't take away from the movie at all. It's a popcorn flick perfected, and that's all it was ever meant to be. It's probably the most fun I had watching a movie in a long time. It's not brain fodder, so don't expect it to be. This is exactly what a zombie movie should be. Just sit back and watch the reanimated dead get their shit kicked around, shot up, blown up, and run over by big ass trucks. Did I mention how wonderfully violent it is?

Best quote: Dakota-"Tony, if anyone comes up to the door, I want you to shoot them. Just like in your video games: shoot them in the head." Tony-"What if it's dad?" Dakota-"Especially if it's your dad."

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