Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Film Review: From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999)

From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (Review)
United States/1999
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...some severe flaws, but I left the film moderately entertained."

Upon the escape of his crime partner, Buck (Robert Patrick) gathers a group of criminals for a bank job in Mexico...

From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money is a very straightforward horror-crime film. The story follows Buck as he gathers this generic crew. The four arrive at Mexico and spend time in a hotel criticizing porno while they wait for Luther (Duane Whitaker) to arrive — our escapee. Luther runs into a bat, really a vampire, and finds himself a vampire after the encounter. From there on, Luther begins to convert his partners one-by-one while initiating the bank job at night. Buck, being a little more perceptive, catches onto the ill-fitted pieces. The film leads to an action-packed climax and decent ending.

From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money is a decent film. I like how the critique of the porno within this film matches the actual flaws plaguing the film — characters we don't care about filling a half-baked narrative and, of course, no anal. (that's a joke in the movie, by the way. Too crass?) The biggest flaw for me were the very weak characters. The Gecko brothers in the original were great — very lively and memorable. This cast of criminals are very dull and forgettable. The film is also too comical for its own good. Although there are surprisingly some chuckle worthy moments, a lot of the humor is too over-the-top and ill-fitted. It starts to come off as cheesy. I mean, someone gets decapitated with a shard of glass — it feels off, I suppose.

These flaws don't make this second installment terrible or even bad, though. It is flawed but entertaining. The film kept my attention from beginning to end. Perhaps it was the very short ~80 minute runtime or the so-bad-it's-good moments, but I stayed seated despite the flaws. I especially enjoyed the very cheesy but exhilarating climax. Hundreds of blazing bullets, booming explosions, and plenty of practical gore. The buildup isn't half-bad, either. Sure, most of it is spent in a hotel, but it was humorous and even effective. So, despite the severe flaws, I'd be lying if I said Texas Blood Money didn't entertain me. In fact, I was moderately entertained.

The acting was okay — everyone was serviceable. Robert Patrick is a decent leading man. The film is also shot decently. Nothing really stood out in terms of cinematography. I wasn't really a big fan of the music. It felt too over-the-top and comical. It never feels ominous or atmospheric, it's too busy and self-aware. There are some cool special effects, then those blatantly outdated effects — either way, they're definitely interesting. Writer and director Scott Spiegel is a bit heavy-handed and his style feels too fabricated. He nails the climax and some of his humor is splendid, but he's too blatant in trying to replicate Rodriguez before him.

Overall, From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money is a decent film. It has some severe flaws, but I left the film moderately entertained. The bank job climax is most memorable. It doesn't stand next to its predecessor, but it's a decent-albeit-unnecessary sequel. If you have a Netflix subscription, then I recommend a stream. Otherwise, look for a cheap rental or purchase.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, sex and nudity.

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