Tuesday, October 25, 2011

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

Pulpy Hyper Violent Vampire Splatter, Tarantino/Rodriguez Style

The hidden plus point of a drained laptop on a long haul flight is that you get to do something different beyond your usual mundane office work. On a recent trip, I had the pleasure of watching “From Dusk Till Dawn”, the 1996 vampire actioner from that maverick 2 man team of filmmakers called Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. Tarantino wrote it while his mexicano pal Rodriguez directed. Now that was a teaming of future titans.

In case, you didn’t know, Rodriguez was the wonder boy who made the tongue-in-cheek independent spaghetti western ‘El Mariachi' (1992) in Mexico for $7000 and then used it as a calling card to land a contract in Hollywood. And what was his first movie after joining the majors? 'Desperado'(1995) - a campy, outlandish rehash of El Mariachi. It starred babe-magnet Spaniard Antonio Banderas as a two-pistol gunfighter who, when he isn't shooting up drug thugs, spends most of the movie glaring idiotically through the long stringy hair that hangs in his face. At least, there was a beautiful Salma Hayek for company! Next, I saw him in Richard Donner's 'Assassins'(1995), opposite Stallone, where he played a two-pistol hitman with long stringy hair (again) hanging in his face. Well, he gets my vote as the least-welcome new sex star in the movies. (Fifty million women CAN be wrong.) Never was there an actor so desperately in need of a comb.

So anyway, Rodriguez then links up with Quentin Tarantino, Hollywood's man of the hour post his transnational success of Pulp Fiction, and this momentous mating of Desperado gives the world...From Dusk Till Dawn.

Beginning in the familiar Tarantino territory of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction - the universe of comically exaggerated film noir - the plot concerns two bank-robbing brothers murdering and kidnapping their way across the border into Mexico. Then, the Mexican truck stop they think represents a safe haven turns out to be a retreat for blood thirsty vampires (with a seductive Salma Hayek as Satánico Pandemonium). And suddenly we're in midst of a tongue-in-cheek bloody splatter film like Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead or Peter Jackson's Braindead - as its unlikable cast of characters sets about dismembering a rampaging horde of wild vampires. And then it flaccidly ends.

While it does have its moments – some genuinely funny and some brilliantly gory, it bugs me to think that two hot young filmmakers, who, for the moment, had complete freedom to make whatever the heck kind of movie they want, could squander the talents of George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, and Fred Williamson on this no-brainer. To me, it felt like a couple of 10-year-old boys thought it up one night in their tree house over a bag of Lays chips and Oreos.

I will however, say one thing very good about Robert Rodriguez. His film Desperado introduced me to Salma Hayek. And I fell for her! And I still very much do!

Free Streaming/Movie Download - Avi Video Link: VeeHD


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