This is an instance of a tale of two movies, where plots that have nothing to do with one another, usually from vastly different genres, come together into one off-kilter film.
“From Dusk Till Dawn” is the second film I’ve recently seen by Robert Rodriguez, and at times it does have a similar feel to “El Mariachi,” as a loner (or in this case, loners) is outnumbered and possibly outgunned, but uses his resourcefulness to outwit the vastly superior group. The difference this time around is that that is only the focus for the second half of the film.
The first half focuses on a couple of dysfunctional brothers (played by George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino) running from police and the Texas Rangers after breaking one of the brothers out of jail, robbing a bank, and killing roughly ten people. Tarantino’s character lives in his head, where he thinks he hears women telling him to do sexual activities to them, and is constantly screwed over by his short temper and itchy-tigger finger. While Clooney, in his first starring role, plays the cool one of the group, who makes all the plans and does his best to keep his head around his temperamental brother.
This makes the first half of “From Dusk Till Dawn” the best part of the film, as they make their way from the middle of Texas to the Mexican border, while evading police and causing even more unnecessary trouble. This gives us some great moments between Clooney and Tarantino that shows they’re both messed up in the head and just want the best for one another, despite screwing themselves other at every turn.
But the second half takes not just a U-Turn on the plot, but the car turns into a rocket and shoots right at the moon.
Suddenly, there’s a plot about vampires taking over a bar in the middle of Mexico, and now the brothers (along with their captives, one being played by Harvey Keitel) have to survive the night without being killed or turned into a child of the night.
This plot turn is not bad, nor is the make-up on the vampires and the creative ways they must fight off the vampires. But it is so jarring to go from a family crime plot with plenty of suspense, to a vampire shoot-em-up story that practically drops everything in favor of its new story.
Overall, “From Dusk Till Dawn” is a fun ride with two different halves that don’t mold together. I preferred Clooney and Tarantino arguing about how crazy the other one is while the cops are hot on their tale, but watching a kid turn a Nerf squirt gun into a vampire killing machine is also enjoyable to watch.
Final Grade: B