So this was the hook, the joke, behind Grindhouse: Two big directors make schlocky throwbacks to the crummy, exploitative B-movies of their youth and cram them together as a double feature—giving multiplex audiences a three-hour-long reminder of what it used to be like to watch movies in grindhouse theaters, with shitty prints and missing reels and timeless/exploitative themes.
The concept pretty much worked last spring—uneven but solid, Grindhouse bundled Robert Rodriguez's zombie-fest Planet Terror and Quentin Tarantino's car-centric slasher/revenge flick Death Proof, buffering them with fake trailers and artificial film scratches. It was, more or less, a blast, but it bombed—making surprisingly little money in theaters, it's easy to consider Grindhouse a colossal financial failure. Which perhaps explains why Grindhouse has been split in two for its DVD release—a move that's sure to bring in more cash, at the slight expense of ruining Grindhouse's whole concept. What's more, the excellent fake trailers that played with the films (directed by Edgar Wright, Eli Roth, Rob Zombie, and more) are largely missing (the only one present is Rodriguez's Machete), excising what many considered to be the best parts of the whole Grindhouse experience.
What we get instead: Some extended versions of the films (Tarantino's is much longer and better, while Rodriguez's pretty much seems the same) and a few bland, uninventive special features. It all feels kind of half-assed, considering the talent involved. Which stings, but not as bad as this: In one special feature, Rodriguez lets it slip that there's an "upcoming, double-disc Grindhouse DVD" that'll be coming soon—one that, presumably, will string the films together again and restore the missing footage. I'm sure that set will be great. It's the one we should have gotten in the first place.