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PLANET TERROR

title: PLANET TERROR year: 2007 cast: Rose McGowan, Josh Brolin, Jeff Fahey, Freddy Rodriguez, Bruce Willis rating: ***1/2 The first (and best) segment of GRINDHOUSE, teaming Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino doing their own "cheap" horror films. Plot centers on a group of survivors during an outbreak brought back from Iraq. The military is at fault as it's a send-up of the zombie genre... yet it also stands on its own merits. The characters are fantastic; standouts being Josh Brolin as an evil doctor turned "sicko" and his beautiful, beaten, closet-lesbian doctor wife. You'll see a lot in the promotion with Rose McGowan as a stripper with a machine gun leg, but this happens in the last five minutes. Freddy Rodriguez makes a decent Clint Eastwood-type. Jeff Fahey is also quite good as a sloppy, tough cafe owner as is Michael Biehn as his sheriff brother and a darkly hilarious cameo by Nicky Katt (who's brilliant in THE LIMEY). Not to forget Bruce Willis, Naveen Andrews and Quentin Tarantino making effective cameos. Robert Rodriguez never lets up with action but still finds time for story, and the character-development is placed perfectly within the running around, gun-fights, car chases, and mega-slayings. Bad sound, screen blotches, and missing reels are purposely added to cement the GRINDHOUSE experience (theaters that'd play several B movies in a row using cheap projectors). This makes little-to-no sense since it's a big budget CGI film, but the flaws, contrived or otherwise, don't hinder this rollercoaster ride: they only enhance it.
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