Friday, September 12, 2014

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

This may surprise you guys reading, but I was recently turned into a vampire. I don’t intend to let that stop me from doing my reviews, though. Or really, anything else in my normal life. Because really, being a vampire isn’t a big deal, and those who become vampires shouldn’t let such a pesky detail just ruin their plans. I mean, we all gotta pay our bills, you know.

If you’re wondering why I have come to this conclusion, it’s because I stopped listening to inferior movies such as Near Dark or Let the Right One In, and started listening to From Dusk Till Dawn 2, the only true manifesto of how to be a vampire the right way: don’t let it fuck with your day job.

Director: Scott Spiegel
Starring: Robert Patrick, Duane Whitaker

The first From Dusk Till Dawn wasn’t great, but it was entertaining and had some fun scenes. This one’s a festering, heaving shitpile with no redeeming qualities, and when it's directed by the guy who made Hostel III, I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

We start off with some woman in a building on her way to an appointment to be attacked by bats, which is never something you want to be late for:

"I can't be late for my 3:00 either, guys!"

It takes a really long time for the bats to kill her though, and then we see they even do her the courtesy of sending the elevator down to the first floor for her afterward. How nice of them!

"Sirs, this is your floor. Please exit the elevator in a timely manner."
Wait a second, nobody hears things like that when they exit an elevator anymore. JOKE RUINED...FOREVER...

Then we get true genius as we see Robert Patrick from Terminator 2 playing some jackass redneck. He’s hanging out at his trailer and takes time out of fucking a hooker to adjust the TV set. Yes, really. I don’t even know what angle to come at that from.

"Honey, you know I only hire hookers when there's nothing good on TV! But now Duck Dynasty's about to come on! Get out of the way!"

They see on TV that one of their friends, Luther, has escaped police custody and is now on the run. We then see Luther himself calling up Patrick’s character from a payphone. In the middle of a bright sunny day. With a cop car right behind him. He’s sure lucky the cops in this town are of the ‘doughnut shop’ variety rather than anything actually competent or remotely realistic!

I guess the story here is that Patrick’s character Buck is assembling a sort of low-rent Ocean’s 11 group to go and rob some dinky bank in Mexico, because really why not, you know? His first stop is to go get this guy, who likes to make his dog run on a treadmill and make the camera do ridiculous things like give us “bottom of the beer cooler” perspectives:

That's one grimy, dirty looking beer cooler. You sure you want to drink anything out of that? Oh who am I kidding...by Texas standards that's practically squeaky clean.

That’s...so stupid it’s really just sad. I don’t even really have a joke here, because frankly I can’t form coherent thoughts when I’m being shown a camera POV from a dog’s water bowl:

Because if you can't simulate being eaten by an ugly dog in your movie, you've really just wasted an opportunity.

Or a perspective shot from the eyes of a guy doing push ups!

Yeah, a shot of his crotch and legs was really good and necessary. You get an A+.

I realize it’s cool to be all artsy and shit with your directing, and there are some directors who can do really clever shots like this. But...oh, hell, what do I care? Just put your camera in a fucking washing machine next time, you’ll get a really good POV shot from that when you turn it on and film it!

There’s also this jackass named Ray Bob, who is so clumsy he nearly destroys the security guard room he’s setting up when Buck surprises him:


Because, you know, a guy who’s that clumsy is always good to have around on a bank robbery job. I’m also inviting my paraplegic friend and pyromaniac friend who tends to start fires whenever she gets nervous. That’ll really be a good bank robbing team! Make sure to wear all pink and have bells attached to your shoes too. That will truly make it an awesome bank robbery.

They end up staying in some shitbag hotel and watching porn, to which actual time in the film is taken to show - yes, a movie that sinks so low as to actually have characters watching porn as a featured thing in the runtime that takes up minutes of your life.

Nothing gets him off like watching porn with a group of other sweaty, morally questionable middle aged men.
The snuff tapes from Vacancy DO make good hotel room viewing, I guess.

Money was spent putting this moment on screen. You could’ve spent that money feeding starving children or donating to charity or even paying for a bucket at Target so you could dump ice water on your head. And you did this. You absolute waste of life.

Then we get a scene where Luther, while coming down to meet them, gets his truck broken down due to an unexpected visitor:

Get that Halloween mask from K-Mart out of my face.

He goes into the Titty Twister bar from the first one and finds Danny Trejo still working there, even though I could’ve sworn he died in the last movie, not to mention that other little detail - what was it again? Oh yeah - the friggin’ bar blew up!

Gee, I wonder how that reconstruction process went - did they just rebuild during the night only? Was there a big conflict between doing vampire-y stuff like killing people and drinking blood, and doing REALLY IMPORTANT shit like rebuilding a bar?

"Hi, I'm Danny Trejo. I have no standards for what I appear in. At all."

For that matter, why even rebuild it? Was it absolutely vital for the vampires to have some shitty bar to call their home base? I mean, I guess it DOES allow you to have more sequels to this franchise. And cover up the fact that you couldn’t get George Clooney to come back for this one.


So because the movie can’t think of any way to move its own plot forward that isn’t complete fucking nonsense, Luther refuses the offer his friends give to come pick him up, and instead just accepts a ride from Trejo, who is a guy he never met before at a shitty, sleazy bar in the middle of nowhere in a country he isn’t familiar with. Were you literally just born yesterday?

Yes, apparently.

It turns out the bat he hit was actually a vampire, who appears out of nowhere in the desert and, surprise, is in league with Trejo. How did he survive being hit by a car and trapped inside the engine? I know being a vampire gives you some super strength or some shit, but that’s pushing it. They turn Luther into a vampire too rather than just straight up killing him, which makes sense because again, the movie wouldn’t be able to go on otherwise!

Then we see another incredibly important scene with that one guy having sex with some random woman we’ve never seen before. It’s okay though, because we see HER purpose in the film afterward: to take a shower and be attacked by a bat in a long, drawn out scene that results in her turning into a vampire too! But mostly the shower thing.

That's how all women shower in reality - in ways that exclusively make them look sexy and hot for an audience they're not supposed to know is there. Great realism, movie.

The other guy gets turned into a vampire too, and so now they have an entire team of vampires waiting to prey on unsuspecting victims. So what are they gonna do - take over the hotel and turn it into an awesome vampire coven? Turn more people into vampires? Turn more people into food for vampires? Or maybe just rob a fucking bank like they were planning to in the first place.

Yup - you heard it right. They actually just go ahead with the bank robbery plan like nothing happened. I’m sorry, did you just forget what kind of fucking movie you were making?! I admit the idea of a bank robbery movie with vampires MIGHT be cool in a pulp sort of way, but come on! These guys are turned into vampires, don’t question a thing and just go about the robbery like nothing happened? What kinda stinking rotten manure is that?! What’s wrong with you? That’s really the best you could come up with?

Turn the camera right side up, you dipshit. What is this, a Ulli Lommel production?

I mean...come on, seriously? You’re vampires. You don’t need all this secrecy and sneaking around. Just fucking break some shit and steal whatever you want. What does a vampire need money that much for anyway? You’ll be sleeping when all the Hot Topic stores are open. Not like you’ll be able to go and refill your cache of black mascara and pseudo-gothy looking capes that easily.

Oh, and we really needed this POV shot from the lock being turned around in circles:

Come one, come all; ride the tilt o' whirl!

Thanks a lot...ya jackasses.

Then we get a scene where Buck figures out most of his friends have been turned into vampires. For some reason he gets really tense and angry about this - oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know a fucking bank robber had such high-class morals as to care whether his team was human or not. You still got the money, you idiot; just take your share and worry about it later - not like the vampires will be able to follow you once the sun comes up anyway.

But the cops arrive too, and Buck gets arrested while trying to warn the cops about vampires. It’s really odd how quick Buck just accepts the fact that vampires exist. He doesn’t even blink an eye, consider any other options or seem surprised at all. Was he just always suspicious that vampires MIGHT exist and this just validated his insane paranoid delusions?


We then get a long, long, looooooooooooooong battle scene between the vampires and cops in which they fight, fight and….fight some more. It’s indescribably boring and makes watching your dad file taxes seem exciting.


I don’t even know how you make a fight scene this boring - at the very least, the action scene can be the saving grace in a shitty movie like this. But proving that nobody really gave a crap about what they were doing in this thing, even the action is boring, overdone and overlong. The film suffers from this problem any time it tries to put something “exciting” on screen, as I already talked about with the “bat attack” scenes earlier - to compensate for having little to no other ideas or points of interest in the film, it just stretched out the fight scenes to a bloated extent. Well, I can see the fucking stretch marks, assholes.

We get the most convenient eclipse in the world, right as the sun is coming up, allowing the fight scene to go on even longer. AAAAAHHHH!

"Uh, hi, yeah, I'm the most convenient and plot-pandering eclipse ever made. Sorry to budge in, but the poorly written script says I have to."

We then learn several cool things, like that signs are perfectly good weapons for vampires to use in a fight, because it's not like they have super strength or magic powers or anything:

"Yield!"

Also, whoever thought this was a good idea for an action shot - you only see their shadows through the entire action sequence - needs to be Indian burned:

I didn't know the Shadowboxing championships were in town.

But finally, after what seems like an eternity of this bland nonsense, we finally see all the vampires killed off. Buck makes friends with the sheriff who just lets him go despite the fact that he committed a crime. So there’s a real-world application for ya - if you’re planning on robbing a bank, just kill some vampires nearby. That will get you off the hook.

Otherwise, this movie is the pits. Bad characters, annoying camerawork, no real story or direction and a complete waste of the ‘vampire bank heist’ concept. This movie was not only bad; it flaunted its badness, as if somehow proud of its ceaseless, unrelenting idiocy - it constantly just paraded its badness in front of your face without even trying to hide it. It's seriously a test of patience and sanity to watch any of this thing, as there is absolutely nothing in it resembling quality filmmaking. It is one of the most irritating, asinine and ridiculous things I've ever seen.

Oh well. This movie blows chunks and I'm still a vampire. I'll have to consult my therapist about it.



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