Saturday, 29 November 2008

What's Wrong With Heckler And Kochk?

When I ask what's wrong with Heckler and Kochk, I of course mean why hasn't it been updated for ages, not what's wrong with it; that's fairly obvious. Well partly we've not been having movie night very often for a variety of reasons. Partly Heckler is a very busy man. Partly I've been ignoring a bunch of half-written reviews in drafts.

But fortunately we have a more important question to distract you from our laziness. That question is:

What's Wrong With Death Proof?

We had been warned that Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror is the superior of the two films in the Grindhouse double bill. Nevertheless we were surprised at just how far from the exploitation film mark Tarantino got with this film.

Here's what Wikipedia says about Exploitation films:

Exploitation film is a type of film that is promoted by "exploiting" (often) lurid subject matter. (The term "exploitation" is a common film marketing term, used for all types of films, meaning promotion or advertising. Thus, films need something to "exploit", such as a big star, special effects, sex, violence, romance, etc.)

The problem, such as it is, is that we go in expecting a film about a killer car or a killer driver or maybe a car duel or something, with scenes of automobile-related mayhem linked by Tarantino's signature conversations about nothing much (See Trailer, also at the bottom). Instead we get a tiny bit of mysterious and creepy following of several attractive women who then spend 40 minutes talking about nothing much. Oh, and Kurt Russell explains the title of the film. [Next paragraph has spoilers]

Then there is a short period of automobile-related mayhem. (At this point the film is rated "Gruesome" by the V__ film preview board). It's violent, kinetic, and bloody. This pitch is unsustainable, so Tarantino doesn't try to sustain it, and we meet up with another group of women who spend a lot of time talking abut nothing much (although the nothing much is slightly more plot relevant and the revelation of character through talking about nothing is more to the point as they don't all die). Then (finally) there's a long car chase ending in violent and bloody death.

What we seem to be exploiting is Tarantino's reputation rather than silly and violent car stunts. This good for neither the car stunts nor the reputation.

Tarantino is famed for the excess in his movies; what is less obvious is his restraint (for example: what is the scene we don't see in Reservoir Dogs?). Here he is too restrained in the first part of the film when it comes to action, and shows no restraint for characters talking about his obsessions. All in all a failure with some points of interest.

My favourite line: Lee having been left alone with Jasper a surety for the car her friends are taking for a test drive says (says, not performs): "Gulp." (Here - shot from 7:23 to 7:48)

No comments:

Post a Comment