Quentin Tarantino further justifies his superstar status with Django Unchained, a bloody, violent, funny and thrillingly unpredictable revenge western about a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) unleashing hell on his plantation-owning enemies in the pre-Civil War American South of 1858.
Django Unchained (Sony, £21.99)
The film gleefully winds up kneejerk detractors by taking a serious subject matter and filtering it through the prism of exploitation movies in order to create a deranged alternate universe in which the barbarity of a heinous system of oppression is exposed and cathartically avenged in ruthless and savage fashion.
It’s certainly an audacious way to address slavery. Tarantino’s visceral, talky, trash-embracing approach plunges us straight into its ugliness yet also operates on a more subversively intellectual level. It is, after all, the first large-scale Hollywood movie to really address the subject directly and, as much as Tarantino clearly enjoys using the tropes of blaxploitation movies and spaghetti westerns to provoke overly sensitive commentators, he also knows that these types of fringe movies have historical importance thanks to the way they have frequently and bluntly confronted racial, political and sexual issues long before the mainstream works up the courage to even acknowledge their existence.
Revolutions begin on the fringes, in other words, and with Hollywood notoriously nervous about slavery, Tarantino addresses this imbalance in the most unapologetically forthright way imaginable.
Vehicle 19 (Studiocanal, £16.99)
Vehicle 19 is the sort of straight-up, unapologetic b-movie that suits Fast & Furious star Paul Walker down to the ground. Set and shot in South Africa, it casts Walker as an ex-con who skips parole to fly to Johannesburg to patch things up with his ex-wife only to end up in a whole heap of trouble when he discovers his titular rental car contains a kidnapped woman in the trunk.
Writer-director Mukunda Michael Dewil gives this chop-shopped Transporter-esque premise a distinctly Larry Cohen spin by never leaving the inside of the car, which means Walker gets to be anguished yet taciturn behind the wheel for 85 minutes while chaos erupts around him. Which is about as much as you could want from a Paul Walker film.
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