From the Archive – From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999)

DTD2

Directed by Scott Spiegel
Starring Robert Patrick and Bo Hopkins

The movie opens with a couple of lawyers being savaged by bats in an elevator. But wait! It’s just a film within a film, and now Buck (Patrick) is being hounded by Sheriff Lawson (Hopkins) over the whereabouts of his former partner, Luther. Said partner then gets in touch, and has Buck assemble a team for a heist in Mexico.

The team assembles, but Luther runs afoul of the vampires at the Titty Twister – including barman Razor Charlie (Danny Trejo) – and one by one the gang get turned into vampires, and their blood-thirsty antics lead to a showdown of Butch Cassidy proportions at the bank where the job is going down. Buck escapes with his life, and teams up with Lawson to face down the vampires.

What’s wrong with it?

For starters, the bats. The bats in the film within a film are really cheap, but that’s okay. However, whenever you have a film within a film, it is important that the production values in said are notably lower than in the film itself. In this picture, they are not.

The acting is pretty poor, with Robert Patrick – a man barely able to out-act Arnold Schwarzenegger – providing the high-point.

What’s right with it?

The film follows the pattern from the original, opening as a heist movie before becoming a vampire flick, and does so reasonably well. The gang are an amusing pack of reprobates, especially Jesus, the psychotic dog trainer who has his fighting hound, Jaws II, on steroids. There are some nice moments, like the Sheriff warding of evil by closing an ambulance door to display the cross, and the gang sitting in their motel room having a Tarantino homage about porno movies.

How bad is it really?

Pretty lame, but it rattles along at a good enough pace you can mostly ignore the crapness. This is certainly the low point of the ‘trilogy’.

Best bit?

Probably the porno conversation, where the gang members complain about the absence of a decent story in the fuck movie.

What’s up with…?

  • Luther being menaced by vampires in the middle of the desert, and running off on foot, when the vampire’s jeep is right there, with the motor running? He thinks of it later sure enough; why not then?

Ratings

Production values – Cheap, and not done well enough to hide it. You can get a lot of mileage out of the rabid rubber bat shot if you cut it right, but if the camera stays on the bat, it quickly becomes clear that it’s made of rubber. 15

Dialogue and performances – Not great. Pretty much no-one is actually bad, they’re al just deeply mediocre. The dialogue is a bit of a pick me up, with some decent one-liners and exchanges, a few of which are even delivered with some competence. 14

Plot and execution – Slim plot, but fairly well used. The genre switch is a little less deft than in the original though. 16

Randomness – Again, the slightly off-the-wall idea is played fairly straight. 5

Waste of potential – Since both the original and the next sequel were better, clearly something went wrong here, possibly the use of a fairly similar opening genre. Maybe the film would have been better if it started as a high school movie or a romantic comedy? 12

Overall 62%

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