Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s new double-feature flick, “Grindhouse,” debuted this weekend, and in it Tarantino takes a stab at his own “classic” car chase. While some say this chase may be the best movie car chase ever filmed, I found one aspect of Tarantino’s definitive chase especially intriguing. To set up the scene: Kurt Russell, who enjoys tracking women down and killing them with his car, is chasing down Rosario Dawson, Tracie Thoms and Zoe Bell, whose characters are taking a break from a film set in order to test drive a 1970 Dodge Challenger, much like the one from the classic film “Vanishing Point.” Russell’s car is a menacing black Charger (he has to swap his Chevy Nova, pictured here, for the Charger for reasons we won’t explain), while the women’s Challenger is white — just so you’re clear on whom the heroines and villain are.
At one junction, the two classic cars merge into traffic with today’s cars, SUVs and minivans. The Charger and Challenger send those cars flying into each other, turning 360s, flying off into the ditch, etc. The question is, who is Tarantino indicting here? Does he find today’s safety-obsessed cars too safe and bland? Or is he taking a swing at Hollywood, saying that today’s movies are too safe and bland?
Whichever — or even if he’s just enjoying seeing today’s cars getting bullied by a pair of classic muscle cars — if you like car chases, you should see this. It will probably help if you also like zombie movies and a lot of talking, both of which you’ll encounter — in spades — in “Grindhouse.”