Monday, 18 August 2014

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



So judging by the films cover you could be fooled into thinking this film was set in the 'Twitty Twister' and that Danny Trejo was a large part of the story. Alas this couldn't be further from the truth, this isn't necessarily a bad thing of course but they are clearly trying to hook your attention.

The plots follows a group of criminals who are planning a bank heist. The group are to meet in a seedy motel somewhere in Mexico but through various circumstances are attacked and turned into vampires one by one. During the heist the main protagonist discovers his mates are vamps and must fend them off along with the police force which turn up. In the end the film merely becomes a vampire vs police escapade with the lone surviving criminal teaming up with the Texas Ranger that was on his tail.

This second splatter fest starts off really slow and quite dull if you ask me, we merely follow Robert Patrick as he recruits the old gang for the heist. The group itself are a mixed bag and you can see they have tried to create that iconic team of hardass oddballs we've seen many times before. You've got a fat guy with a ponytail and goatee (the homosexual sadistic porn shop owner from 'Pulp Fiction'), an aging cowboy, a young innocent looking guy (Woody Harrelson's brother) and the stereotypical tough guy played by Raymond Cruz who kinda feels like a male version of 'Vasquez' from 'Aliens'.

Once things get going on the road trip it still takes its time and feels slow. There is a pointless cameo for the 'Titty Twister' merely so they can shove in Danny Trejo with an aimless subplot and so the crooks can start getting bitten. I still have absolutely no clue how Trejo's character is suppose to have survived the first film after being reduced to mush. This also tends to bring up the continuity issue of where are all the other characters from the first film? If Trejo's 'Razor Eddie' is still alive then surely all the other main vampires and fallen bikers are still alive and well too (or undead and well). Plus the vampire bar is clearly a bad small set and doesn't really look like the original films set. This was a real let down for the film seeing as the bar is the main money shot of the franchise, where it all happens so to speak.


The film really picks up when all the cops turn up to stop the bank heist and the undead crooks all go berserk. The whole story takes a U-turn and goes from dark vampire splatter horror to an over the top action bonanza with the four baddie vamps gunning down hordes of policemen and S.W.A.T. teams amidst exploding police cars. Remember when Arnie takes down all the cops and cop cars with his minigun in 'T2'? well this is pretty much identical to that accept there is lots of blood and body parts flying around. I can't lie, I really did enjoy this part of the movie as it really changes the pace of the film upping it drastically. The action isn't the best choreographed action you've seen but it does the job and its pretty neat watching these invincible vampires leaping around and taking down various armed police.

Like much of the film the effects are all hands-on real time effects using fake blood, prosthetics, heavy makeup, puppets etc...and like the original film it works giving a much grittier 80's feel to the proceedings. There is a touch of CGI for the melting vamp shots which is a bit hokey looking but again like the original film it doesn't detract from the nicely handled gore.

I did like this film once things started to actually get going with the vampires, but boy does it take time for that. Much of the run time is a bit dull in all honesty...until the excellent shoot out with the cops. It is a bit frustrating at times too as some shots are badly edited, the sets are pokey, location work is visually unexciting and overall it does look very cheap and cheerful. I can overlook that but geez! here and there it really looks poor. There is a small Bruce Campbell cameo at the start which really feels like its there just to gain more interest with horror fans as again it pointless. Basically most of this film is very average but the violent finale makes up for most of it. The final bit of dialog between Patrick's criminal character and Hopkins' Texas Ranger was hinting to set up a vampire hunting team possibly for the third film, I thought...guess not.

Cute bit of info, the character of 'Deputy Edgar McGraw' in this film is the son of 'Sheriff Earl McGraw' from the original film. In the original film Sheriff McGraw is played by Michael Parks who is the real life father of James Parks who plays Deputy McGraw in this sequel.

6.5/10