While doing his traditional cameo, Quentin brought along another director with him: Hostel's auteur Eli Roth. And when I say auteur, I don't mean that sarcastically. I thought the first Hostel was also a damn fine film that tapped into that deep seated fear Americans have of venturing too far off the trail when travelling abroad. It's an old story, but he brought some new heart-pounding life to it.
But there's always the problem of going back to the well too often. Hostel II had some intriguing qualities, but just didn't do it for me overall. That doesn't seem to stop Eli, though. He seems to be just getting started with this material.
Which brings us back to Tarantino and his next opus, Inglorious Basterds.
The trailer plays like Hostel 1944. And it doesn't help matters that noticeably presiding over the trailer, with a gleeful and malevolent smirk on his face is Eli himself.
Apparently, Eli's character was originally intended for, of all people, Adam Sandler. A schedule conflict prevented this, so Tarantino tapped his friend Roth for the plumb roll. And though the IMDb lists Roth's involvement only as an actor, I can't watch the trailer and not help feel it's got his fingerprints all over it. And though I love Tarantino's work, I'm a bit put off by the unabashed joy-through-sadism feel of it.
Yes, I know what Grindhouse is and I know that sadism was part of the essential equation, but I still think Tarantino could have gone in another direction and still made a great WWII film that is essentially his and essentially Grindhouse.
I may change my mind on this point, but I know my enthusiasm for this film (which began when Tarantino first started talking about it years and years ago) has ebbed quite a bit.