The good stuff
A slightly disappointing rewatch. I wasn't a very big grindhouse revival fan to begin with, but Planet Terror stood out because it was still batshit crazy even without all the grindhouse nods. That was back in 2007 though, before we got to the big 80s revival and before Japan unleashed its Sushi Typhoon madness onto the world. By that measure, Planet Terror just isn't zany enough anymore.
That isn't to say it's not a fun film. Rodriguez delivers more than just an ode to the grindhouse scene and combines crazy violence with over-the-top horror, keeping it light at all times and topping it off with some lovely randomness. Seeing McGowan with her machine gun leg is still good fun, just not as mind-blowing as it was the first time around.
The performances are fun, the nods to the grindhouse scene are pleasant (though the grain/dirt filter gets a little old after a while) and the pacing is perfect. Planet Terror is solid entertainment, but it aged a bit faster than I'd hoped. No doubt hardcore grindhouse fans will still eat it up, for me, it lacked that little extra.
Worthy but flawed
Before Robert Rodriguez' career would take off with Desperado, he made a little-seen crime comedy called Roadracers. Its TV origins may be a little too obvious, but it made clear that Rodriguez could accomplish a lot on a tiny budget. It's certainly not his most remarkable film, even so it was better than I expected it to be.
Rock and roll in the 50s. Dude's a rebel with just one mission: find a way to leave the crummy little town he grew up in. Music's Dude's only passion, but rock isn't seen as a viable career. The crooked sheriff's on his tail and his feud with Teddy isn't dying down either. An ultimate showdown seems unavoidable. If you like 50s cool, then this is your film.
The characters are pretty typical, so is the plot and the setting. Rodriguez tries to set the film apart with slick cinematography, but the result's a bit middling. At least the pacing is good, performances are decent and the ending is surprisingly violent. It's solid filler, but the whole 50s vibe just didn't really do it for me.
Mediocre adaptation of a superior manga/anime. Rodriguez has plenty of money to play around with, but safe some pretty vistas and decent CG little remains but a silly, somewhat cheesy Hollywood production. The acting is rather terrible, Alita herself looks goofy and the severity of the world never really translates to the screen.
Something is just wrong. The weird mix of CG, cartoon visuals and live actors never really comes into its own. And it's not that I think something is inherently wrong with it, I for one loved Volckman's Renaissance. Sin City just isn't cool, harsh, kick-ass or edgy enough to pull this off.
Yes, I know, I'm not really the target audience of this film. Still, it's fair to wonder if we really need more superhero nonsense to feed kids until they're old enough to get into Marvel. And even then, shouldn't we aspire to make these films just a bit better than this depressing mess?
Aliens are attacking our planet and the grown-up superheroes have been taken hostage. It seems Earth is doomed, but the aliens forgot about one thing: the superheroes' kids. They have powers of their own and even though they're not really trained to use them, together they'll take on the fight to free Earth from the aliens.
Cringy comedy, flaky special effects, cheap decors and costumes, bland life lessons and the dumbest ending you can imagine. I'm sure Rodriguez had his fun making these films, but they're absolutely unsightly. I don't have kids myself, but I'd sure think twice about showing them this type of crap.