Miramax / Echo Bridge
Quinton Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez would later team up for the exploitation / B movie homage Grindhouse. This earlier collaboration is much in the same vein, though perhaps more sincere in the love it shows for its low-budget ancestors.
From Dusk Till Dawn is a (and I don’t use this term often, but it applies) balls-to-the-wall action film about a small group of disparate fighters facing off against a bar full of Mexican vampires. There’s something very refreshing in in bluntness. They go to a bar, get in a fight, and bam! Non-stop action for the next hour.
George Clooney and Tarantino play the Gecko brothers. They’ve just robbed a bank (and killed a few people) and are on their way to Mexico to start a new life. Clooney is great in this, he’s a stone-cold killer. Watching this, you start thinking that Batman & Robin was a fluke, and that with a competent script and director, he could have made an awesome Dark Knight, but what’s done is done. Tarantino plays his sociopathic brother in an appropriately creepy way. The Geckos meet up with a recently disillusioned priest and his two kids and use them as hostages to ensure their safe passage over the boarder; only to find much greater danger once across.
The special effects are all practical (make-up and trick photography) and thus, have a gritty look to them which adds to the B movie feel. The downside to the make-up is it lack of facial movement. The monsters are obviously wearing masks that don’t emote or snarl in a believably ‘alive’ way. But then, you can’t help but think that any attempt to make this movie seem more ‘real’ would only detract from the overall effect.
There’s a surprising amount of character development packed into the forty-five or so minutes before the action starts. This is almost certainly due to the script from Tarantino, who delivers the same depth of characterization and witty dialogue you’d expect from him. Tarantino plays a delusional serial rapist, and Clooney his older brother who is trying to save him from himself. Despite being horrible people, they’re presented in such a way that you almost (almost) sympathize with them. The priest is a little more straight forward; his wife died, and now he’s not too happy with god; but his character works well as a thematic counter point to the plot as a whole.
From Dusk Till Dawn is a very fun movie. It has a little bit of everything, from horror, to action, to strippers and vampires, and it does it all without skimping on the characters, too.
The Blu Ray, from Echo Bridge is cheap, so don’t expect much. Apparently, the aspect ratio was slightly trimmed, but the transfer is fairly good, especially considering the fact that there are four movies on one disc. There are no extras.