Zombies? Shady characters? Gory? A chef who claims he has the best bbq sauce? Yes, i’ve decided to review the Grindhouse films. Let’s start with Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror. It just begins with a fake trailer for a film called Machete. Due to a cult following, Machete became a film and got itself a sequel.
Planet Terror starts off with Cherry dancing in a strip club. She’s played by Rose McGowan. She’s dancing and at the same time, she’s crying. Almost like a trashy equivalent of the opening in a 007 film, but without the silhouettes. The boss of the strip club walks backstage to talk to the women and give them a pep talk. Cherry isn’t happy with her current job and she reacts to other people’s compliments by responding that they are ‘useless talents.’ The boss tries to encourage her, but he’s blunt concerning what talent she actually has. She takes money from him and leaves with her clothes in a bag.
She’s walking home alone on a really quiet road as two military trucks drive past. The soldiers on the vehicles have breathing apparatus and are armed. Their driving forces Cherry to fall back off of the side of the road into broken glass. As the military trucks make their way to a base where Abby, played by Naveen Andrews, pops out of a vehicle and tells his Lieutenant to remain in the car. He needs to make a deal with a man named Romey, who is with a gang of his own. Their conversation is vague, but it seems like the deal has gone sour. Soon Romey’s men turn on him and hold him down as a special knife is used to remove, let’s just say a part of him that he’s quite attached to. Abby kills Romey, but the guy in the Humvee steps out. The previously introduced soldiers in breathing apparatus have run out of green gas, which is what allows them to breathe. Following the gas issue Lt. Muldoon, played by Bruce Willis, steps out and tells Abby that the deal is off. A shootout occurs with random people being shot and the soldiers shooting back. Abby is held down by Muldoon’s soldiers as he shoots the green canisters and a green mist shoots out. The soldiers seem to enjoy the green mist and Abby escapes from the base.
A drifter woman, played by Fergie, drives her car to the front of a diner called The Bone Shack, which also has fuel pumps. The restaurant owner, JT, doesn’t like the broken down car near his fuel pumps, but she explains that it’s just overheating. Cherry walks past and up the steps toward the diner. A married couple gets out of bed at midnight and they look tired. The husband is played by Josh Brolin and the wife by Marley Shelton named Dr. Block and Dakota. Dakota is arranging a babysitter to look after her son, Tony, who is eating cereal in the kitchen so she can go work in the hospital. From what we can see, Dakota is planning on leaving Dr Block as she uses a separate phone to send a message to someone. Back at JT’s diner, Cherry is in the bathroom, removing glass from her leg as a truck pulls up outside with the name “Wray’s Wreckage” on it. The driver, Wray, makes his way into the diner as JT greets him and tells him about the diner being open all night to celebrate 25 years.
Wray sees Cherry and makes a face; she’s someone from his past. He approaches her by using the old name he had for her. Cherry still isn’t happy with him and their conversation is short as he walks off to sit at the bar with JT’s dog. Cherry asks Wray for a ride to go someplace while Dr. Block and Dakota get to the hospital. A man approaches Dr. Block and things get gross. Dakota walks in with three coloured syringes and uses an analogy about friends and injects the infected guy.
Fergie is back on the road and still trying to fix her car as the green mist surrounds her. She tries to signal cars for help, but is ignored. She’s grabbed by the infected as Wray drives past with Cherry beside him. They have a discussion about roadkill. Wray sees something on the road and swerves. They crash and Cherry is dragged out by the infected. Wray catches up to her with a gun and shoots the infected. It runs off, but her leg has been ripped off. He takes her to the hospital where Dr. Block works. The sheriff turns up and takes Wray to one side and lectures him. Wray looks at more and more people who are infected. Wray is taken down to the police station with arms and legs handcuffed. The sheriff asks him questions about what he’s been doing since he’s been out. Wray is talking to a retired cop named Earl, who talks about his wife being sick and then leaves.
Cherry wakes up in the hospital to see that she has no leg and there’s a montage of sadness. JT calls the sheriff and we learn they are brothers. JT is complaining about the strange people outside his diner. Back at the hospital, Dr. Brock shows Dakota a patient they called a ‘No brainer.’ She is horrified and leaves as Dr. Brock goes to comfort her. Dr. Brock basically tells her that he knows what she has been doing behind her back and uses her syringes against her. He’s interrupted before he can do any more damage, be he manages to lock her in a closet and leaves. Other cops turn up at the police station complaining about a perp who sounds infected because a cop is missing his finger. The perp is indeed infected and has other infected with him, which leads to a shootout. It gets rather gory. Wray breaks loose and goes to get Cherry from the hospital and the sheriff joins him.
Back at the hospital, the infected are running amok. Dr Brock’s patient infects him as Dakota makes her escape through a window and drives off in a car. There’s a really shocking moment here, but I’ll let you see for yourself. Wray and the sheriff get to the hospital, but Wray goes in solo with a set of knives from his truck. He makes his way through the hospital and finds Cherry. She complains that she has no leg. He the rips out a table leg and attaches it to her stump, so resourceful. The babysitters are two Hispanic women that complain to Dakota as she walks into her home. Dakota is mad and she throws them out. Dakota tells Tony to pack his bags, they’re leaving. In the car, they are about to leave as they’re attacked by the babysitters. I don’t think Dakota paid them, but she doesn’t really care as she drives off.
The sheriff is at JT’s place with survivors as they each grab a badge and a gun. They just became deputies, except for Wray, the sheriff won’t let him hold a gun. They get into the diner and help JT. Dakota drives to a small house and beeps for someone to come out. Dakota is suspicious as she gives Tony a gun and leaves the car to go towards the house. A gunshot goes off. When Dakota returns to the car Tony is gone. Dr. Brock turns up, he’s infected, to kill Dakota and he’s brought some of his infected friends. She’s let in by Earl, the retired cop who turns out to be her father. Back at the diner, JT is showing everyone his private collection of vehicles. Wray joins Cherry and they talk. She realizes that the jacket she’s wearing was his and there’s a ring in the pocket. They have sex and her wooden table leg is waving about, the scene speeds up with a “missing reel” screen.
In the next scene, everyone has magically made it to the diner. The sheriff has been hurt as he gives Wray a gun. Wray is in charge now as he helps everyone shoot their way out of the diner. More infected appear as they go back inside. Wray wants someone to get his truck so Cherry volunteers and he gives her some cover fire. She gets the truck and plows it into the diner. They all manage to get into the truck as Cherry rides with Dakota on a classic motorcycle. Wray finds a pocket bike in Dakota’s trunk and rides that. Down the open road, they deal with the infected, just mowing them down. They pop like water balloons, it gets gory. They get to a bridge, but there’s a lot of infected. They don’t have enough ammo as Muldoon and his soldiers turn up to take out the infected. Muldoon calls Wray El Wray. They are taken to a military compound and put into a room where Abby is. Abby knows Wray and they talk about stopping the green mist, now known as DC2. Abby talks about a cure to DC2 so Wray suggests that everyone moves to Mexico while Abby insists on finding a cure. Two soldiers come into the room and take Dakota and Cherry to an elevator. One of the soldiers is played by Tarantino and he is threatening towards Cherry.
JT creates a diversion in the room, allowing everyone else to escape. JT and the sheriff, both injured, stay behind to spend their last moments together. Wray and Abby approach Muldoon in an underground lab with a lot of DC2 and it gets gruesome as Muldoon is shot. Cherry and Dakota are talking in a room about her useless talents as Tarantino interrupts them and forces Cherry to dance for him. She defends herself as Dakota illustrates a useless talent of her own. Wray and Abby turn up and Wray gives her an upgraded leg, a high powered machine gun. She starts using it on the other soldiers as everyone else is freed and they make their escape towards the helicopters on the compound. Wray rides with Cherry on the back of the motorcycle, shooting their way through. Abby goes forward, but is shot in a pretty disgusting way. Wray with the other survivors tells Cherry that he has faith in her and that she’ll save everyone as she walks forward alone to deal with the infected.
A stray soldier is about to kill Cherry, Wray saves her, only to be shot by the dying soldier. The rest of the survivors make it to the chopper and inside one of them Dakota is caught by the infected Dr. Block. Earl deals with him and drops a cheesy one liner. Cherry sits by Wray and sobs as he dies, before subtly hinting that she’s pregnant. Cherry sees Dakota in a chopper and grabs a rope to be pulled up. Cherry does a voiceover as we see her on a horse, the survivors have made it to Mexico by sea. One of the infected appears as Cherry uses her upgraded minigun leg to kill it. She also has her daughter on her back.
It’s a great film that looks and feels rather trashy and there’s a lot of gore throughout, but at the same time it is rather enjoyable and fun to watch. If you can’t find it on a streaming service, get a copy.
Thank you for reading, you can find me on Twitter with the handle @immiebroods if you want to discuss the movie and what you thought of it.