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It seems the army has developed some bactereological weapon for mass
destruction that turns humans into flesh-eating zombies, and now Lt
Muldoon (Bruce Willis) orders his platoon to be infected, only to test the
antidote - but the good Lieutnant that he is, he has himself infected as
well. Thing is, things don't always go as smmothly as they should, and
before you know it, the flesh-eating zombie soldiers have escaped the army
base and are picking up some snacks from a nearby highway ...
In the meantime, Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan) has quit her job as a
gogo dancer, and somehow this reunites her with her former boyfriend El
Wray (Freddy Rodríguez), who seems to be nothing more than a petty
criminal whom sheriff Hague (Michael Biehn) would just love to arrest but
who ultimately will turn out to be a top gouvernment agent ...
Anyways, on the road, Cherry and El Wray come across zombies, and while
they manage to fight them off, Cherry does get a nice zombie-legbite ...
El Wray and Cherry are off to the hospital, where sadistic Doctor Block
(Josh Brolin) is trying to murder his wife Dakota (Marley Shelton) in a
fit of jealousy - but that hardly matters anymore, because victims from
car accidents keep piling up at the place, who are of course actually
victims from zombie attacks, and who have one thing in common: Though
pronounced dead, they rise again and start to attack and zombify the
living. Cherry though is in luck, even if she doesn't see it yet, she gets
her leg amputated and is therefore saved from instant zombification - but
being on one leg only proves to be a bit of a problem when trying to
evacuate the hospital.
Eventually, the survivors from the hospital massacre - among others
Cherry, El Wray, sheriff Hague and Dakota - all make it to J.T.'s (Jeff
Fahey) roadhouse where Cherry and El Wray have sex (as was expected), but
which soon is under attack not only by the zombies but also by Lt Muldoon
and his platoon, who have since been treated with the antidote and who now
incarcerate all of our heroes at the army base, but unfortunately the
antidote's effects are only temporarily, and soon they turn out to be not
only simple-minded wannabe rapists (with Quentin Tarantino playing the
most ruthless of the bunch), but also zombies ...
The finale pulls no punches, it's got helicopter rotorblades mowing
their way through zombies (with the helicopter attached of course), Cherry
gunning down zombies with a machinegun she's now got in place of a wooden
leg, putting her gogo routines to good news, plenty of explosions
outbalanced by plenty of witty dialogue, and and and ... Anyways, El Wray,
Sheriff Hague and roadhouse owner J.T. are all allowed to die a hero's
death while Cherry, Dakota and a few others get away by helicopter, to
Mexico and the Ocean where they continue to fight off zombies with the sea
in their back. And Cherry has since born El Wray's child ...
Stacy Ferguson aka Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas plays one of
the zombies' first victims.
In a word, Planet Terror is an extremely funny zombie film ...
but let's not jump the gun here, the film is no masterpiece, not
even Robert Rodriguez' best film, it's just a brilliant spoof of genre
fare from the 1970's (which it mimicks in look, to a point where the
brandnew filmprint was made to look used and a reel is intentionally
missing) and it does to zombiefilms what Rodriguez' From Dusk Till Dawn
(also not his best film) has done to vampire flicks - which means the film
is fast-paced and full of (self-)ironic action scenes (and let's face it,
when it comes to ironic action, Robert Rodriguez is second to none), and
while it may be a bit silly (which is actually intentional), it's also
full of laughs which pretty much outbalance the many (well-made) gore
scenes. Of course, on the negative side, the film lacks pretty much any
kind of depth, plus it's a bit overburdened by pointless subplots, and Freddy
Rodríguez fails to leave a lasting impression as the male lead (but of
course, who cares about the male lead when you got a beautiful female lead
with a machinegun attached to her leg-stump).
Anyways, if you don't exactly expect Citizen Kane and are able
to laugh at people and zombies being graphically dismembered (and
Rodriguez makes it to appear funny), you are in for a treat.
Recommended, but probably not to everyone ...
By the way, Planet Terror was originally part of the double
feature movie Grindhouse which was chopped in two after the film's
failure at the box office thanks to a misguided publicity campaign. Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof is its