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Planet Terror


Stars: Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton, Bruce Willis, Naveen Andrews, Jeff Fahey, Michael Biehn, Quentin Tarantino, Fergie (Stacy Ferguson), Michael Parks

Director: Robert Rodriguez

A seriously deranged science-fiction horror, originally part of America's Grindhouse 'double-bill' with Tarantino's Death Proof. To start with, however, the only planet in sight is Earth, unless we're looking at a parallel universe.

In a dispute between renegade army officer Willis and arms dealer Andrews, a green gas is released - a biological weapon that turns its victims into pulp-faced zombies. At the same time, Cherry (McGowan), a go-go dancer, quits her job and hitches a lift from ex-boyfriend El Wray (Rodriguez). But his truck is overturned and Cherry's leg torn off by zombies.

Everyone ends up at an overrun hospital headed by Dr Block (Brolin), who's about to kill his doctor wife (Shelton) over her affair with a lesbian (Fergie), who has just been carted in with her brain eaten out. All hell is let loose as patients start turning into flesh-eating zombies, and Wray escapes with Cherry, whom he gives a pole for a wooden leg as they lead surviving members of the cast on a countryside crusade against the bad guys.

Well, Willis and Andrews re-surface, McGowan replaces her pole with a combo Gatling gun and rocket launcher (and proves very athletic using it) and there's the world's grisliest and most disgusting cameo from Tarantino as a psycho soldier who declares he'd better rape the girl quickly, as his parts start dropping off.

'Shoot them in the head,' Shelton commands her son (the director's son Rebel). 'What if it's Dad?' asks the boy. Replies his Mom: Especially if it's Dad.'

A chaotic jumble of action, evisceration, disintegration and explosions, it's a must for fans of cinema-extreme, but a sickbag-bringing, eyeball-bulging experience for the rest of us. Rodriguez is pretty anonymous in the hero's role, which certainly needed a brawnier actor.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Momentum. Colour by deluxe.
106 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 04 Nov 2007