Quentin Tarantino showcased her bubbly personality (and ass-kicking dexterity) in 2007’s terrific gearhead horror movie, Death Proof. Now, seasoned stuntwoman Zoë Bell gets a vehicle all her own—a disposable battle royal no-budgeter that’s immensely elevated by her presence. Bell plays Sabrina, one of 50-plus women held in an underground prison who are forced to fight each other to the death. Only one will walk out alive.
It’s all part of some vague ritual that’s been going on for generations. (The event’s latest overseers are played, quite deliciously, by Guillermo del Toro regular Doug Jones and former Twin Peaks vixen Sherilyn Fenn.) Admit it, though: You’re here for the girl-on-girl action (not that kind!). Sad to say, director Josh C. Waller and his crew don’t deliver the goods. The fights are shot with the kind of up-close, handheld intensity that dulls every punch, kick and hair pull—a shame, considering the combatants, including Death Proof alums Tracie Thoms and Rosario Dawson, look fabulous strutting around in blood-soaked white tank tops. At least Waller knows what he’s got in Bell: She beats down with the best of them, but the film also gives her the chance to show off some strong dramatic-acting chops, especially in the scenes where her steely character pines for the daughter she gave up many years before. QT needs to write this woman a Kill Bill all her own.
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