Friday, July 18, 2014

Film Review: From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

From Dusk Till Dawn (Review)
United States/1996
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...creative, sexy, and action-packed."

After a deadly bank robbery, brothers Seth (George Clooney) and Richie (Quentin Tarantino) head towards the Mexican border with hostages...

From Dusk Till Dawn starts as a traditional crime film. The brothers -- Seth, a professional criminal with restraint, and Richie, a violent and often spontaneous criminal -- kidnap a small family heading to Mexico in a RV. After the dipping and dodging the authorities and some small family disputes, the group end up at a strip club in Mexico. Here, at its climax, the story takes a bizarre turn. This strip joint ends up being a den for vicious vampires. The latter half of the film follows the survivors at the club as they attempt to survive the night. The ending is great -- the final scene leaves some room for sequels, which I think will please those who enjoy this film.

From Dusk Till Dawn is great. The first half may be traditional, but it works very well. It develops the Seth and Richie characters well, and features some tense and suspenseful scenes. It also works amazingly in showing restraint -- if you don't know the premise before hand, the climax will be surprising. The latter half is creative, sexy, and action-packed. (If you're a fan of Salma Hayek, have a bottle of water nearby and try not to faint.) The action scenes are well executed, and the practical gore effects are amazing during these scenes, too. There is also some humor spread throughout the film; I laughed out loud a few times. There are some slow moments, but it moves at a fair pace most of the time.

The acting was mostly good. George Clooney is as charismatic as ever, even as a criminal. Quentin Tarantino is usually hit-or-miss with his acting -- fortunately, he hits it this time. Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu, who play the teenage kids of the kidnapped family, are the worst part of the acting -- they're bad, even by b-movie standards, especially the former. Otherwise, the film is up to standard. Shot very well, great music, and fantastic special effects -- fans of old school special effects will enjoy them the most. Director Robert Rodriguez nails it with his distinct vision; most importantly, Rodriguez aims to entertain, and he succeeds.

Overall, From Dusk Till Dawn is a great film. The story is creative and the climax is unforgettable. The suspense is genuine, the action is great, and the special effects are impressive. There are some pacing issues and some of the acting is surprisingly bad, though.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, nudity.

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