Planet Terror is a 2007 Robert Rodriguez movie and one half of the double feature experience known as Grindhouse. Now when I say that it’s a Robert Rodriguez movie, I really mean that it’s a Robert Rodriguez movie. He wrote it, he directed it, he co-edited it, he produced it, he did the cinematography, and he even scored it. That’s about as hands on as you can get in Hollywood. It’s a glorified B movie about zombies and a stripper with a machine gun leg.
Rose McGowan stars as a stripper named Cherry Darling and Freddy Rodriguez plays her ex-boyfriend, the mysterious El Wray. They bump into each other on a quiet night in a rural Texas town. Things don’t stay quiet for long. A deadly biochemical gas is released at a nearby military base and it’s turning the townspeople into zombies. It’s your classic zombie movie, complete with a ragtag group of survivors doing battle with the undead.
There’s a great supporting cast including Josh Brolin, Bruce Willis, Fergie, Marley Shelton, Naveen Andrews, Michael Biehn, Jeff Fahey, and Quentin Tarantino. The look of the film is pretty unique. They scratched the film to make it look aged and more like a ‘70s flick. At one point there’s a “missing reel” and the film jumps from a steamy sex scene to all hell breaking loose. Suddenly there are more survivors, more zombies, and shit’s on fire. They jumped from the second act straight into the climax and it still works.
I remember watching Grindhouse in the theater. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had at the cinema. It had two movies from two of my favorite directors for the price of one ticket, and there were also bonus trailers for fake movies (some of which were so awesome that they turned them into real movies, like Machete). I felt like I went back in time. Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof is pretty decent, but Planet Terror is more entertaining and fun.
Richard Donner (Superman, Radio Flyer) directs, Chris Columbus (Home Alone) writes, and Stevie Spielberg (it’s Spielberg, c’mon) produces this classic movie about a group of friends called the Goonies who go on an amazing adventure in search of the fabled fortune of One-Eyed Willie to save their foreclosed homes. A dangerous family of fugitives (the Fratellis) is hot in pursuit of the Goonies. It is a fun adventure movie. It doesn’t try to take itself seriously, which makes it more appealing. This is one of those rare movies that you can watch with your mom or your best friend, and if you have a little baby you’d watch it with him too. You can watch it multiple times, you want to quote it, and you want to share it with other people.
This is one of the few movies with a great cast of child actors. Casting a kid heavy film can make or break a film. This cast is on par with other great kid casts like in The Sandlot and Stand By Me. Sean Astin, Josh Brolin and a few others made the transition to become working adult actors. And Corey Feldman outlived Corey Haim, which is pretty amazing. Jonathan Ke Quan plays Data. A lot of Asians depicted in movies around this time are blatantly racist and are only there for comic relief. This movie came out a year after Pretty in Pink with the super racist caricature Long Duk Dong. In this flick, Data is just one of the Goonies. He has a few lines in Vietnamese and uses broken English occasionally, but they don’t call attention to it, and they don’t make fun of him. There are no stupid stereotypes. Data is Harold wayyyy before he met Kumar.
It is kind of weird how much Mikey grows and changes throughout the movie. He grows so much that he no longer has asthma. I don’t think it works like that. Another weird thing is calling the pirate One-Eyed Willie. It is clearly a penis reference in a movie for kids. Why not call him something more subtle like Mushroom-Tip Johnson or Pocket-Snake Dick? And how come Chunk doesn’t ask his parents if this giant deformed man-baby can live with them? He just tells Sloth he’s going to live with him now.
Weird stuff aside, if you haven’t seen this movie, then you didn’t have a childhood.
Critically Rated at 15/17