Friday, June 10, 2011

From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money - 1999

"From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money" - 1999
Dir. by Scott Spiegel - 1 hr. 28 min.


I want to be as fair as possible when I write about movies, even when they do really unfair things back.  For instance, everything I've ever read about this movie mentions that Bruce Campbell is in it (and he's easily the biggest name involved), but his role is probably best classified as a cameo rather than a role.  And even though the fact that this was a straight-to-video (or straight-to-DVD, I'm not sure where the market was at in 1999) sequel should have tempered my expectations a bit, it's still a sequel to a collaboration between the two filmmakers who have the best handle on how to make trash entertaining (Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez).

As far as sequels go, this one doesn't carry over much from the original.  There are the vampires that can turn into bats, and Danny Trejo is still tending bar at the Titty Twister (he doesn't have much of a role here, either), but there's only one scene at the bar, and there's a passing mention of the Gecko brothers.  So, to be fair, I almost have to discount entirely what's come before, since "Dawn 2" doesn't make any substantial use of it.

So what's here?  Buck (Robert Patrick) is assembling a crew for a bank heist in Mexico, a haul possibly up to $5 million.  Meeting Buck in Mexico is Luther (Duane Whitaker), who runs his Jeep into a bat in the middle of the night, which starts a chain reaction of people turning into vampires.  Despite this, they still attempt the heist.  And there's a long, drawn-out gun fight that comprises pretty much the entire third act.

To be fair, this isn't a very good movie (even if I was to extend it every benefit of the doubt possible).  On it's own merits, it fails.  There's just too much bad acting (and not in an entertaining way), too many scenes that are drawn out beyond any reason (probably to fill time, and this still clocks in under 90 minutes), too many bad special effects (but again, not bad enough to be awesome like the "Evil Dead" series).  There's an inexplicable abundance of "potato-salad cam" shots (the first time I really noticed the POV shot was in some movie that had a woman walking through a dinner party with a tray of potato salad, inside of which was the camera).  There's the push-up cam, there's a safe combination dial cam, there's a Luther's head cam (when he arrives at the Titty Twister, there's a POV shot that has the brim of his hat visible), there's even a vampire's tonsils cam that's used repeatedly.  That's probably only half of the uses of that particular shot, and it's such a bizarre visual tic to decide to use over and over again.

If I was going to be unfair, I'd probably note that following up a Tarantino movie or a Rodriguez movie with your weakest sauce is a bad idea.  Granted, this kind of movie isn't going to have the benefit of George Clooney or a script by Tarantino, but there are plenty of things that were interesting in the original that could have been imitated (even badly).  Too bad they went for the vampire angle, instead.

1 / 5 - NF Streaming

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