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

Director: Scott Spiegel

Writer: Scott Spiegel, Duane Whitaker (Screenplay) Scott Spiegel, Boaz Yakin (Story)

Starring: Robert Patrick, Bo Hopkins, Duane Whitaker, Muse Watson, Brett Harrelson, Raymond Cruz, Danny Trejo

 

Plot: More people are turned into vampires as they go around spreading their evil satanic hate.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sucks the life out of you

 

Story: From Dusk till Dawn 2 Blood Money starts when criminal Buck (Patrick) is offered a new job from his partner Luther (Whitaker), he puts a teams together including C.W. (Watson), Ray Bob (Harrelson) and Jesus (Cruz) and sets off to allude Sheriff Otis Lawson (Hopkins) who believes he is about to get involved in a new job.

It isn’t long the crew finds themselves at the Titty Twister bar and being hunted down by the vampires that are trying to rebuild their numbers and the five thieves seem to be their choice.

 

Thoughts on From Dusk till Dawn 2 Blood Money

 

Characters – Buck is a thieve that has claimed to have gone clean after his recent stint in prison, the cops do still watch him, only now he gets a chance at a new job which will see him put his crew together, he has a way to work with his men, well that is about it, his character doesn’t have much more to him, Sheriff Otis Lawson has been waiting for Buck to make a mistake for years now, using the latest former member of his crew as hope that he could catch him in the act once again. Luther is the one that brings the job to Buck, only on his way back to the crew, he ends up at the Titty Twister grabbing the attention of the vampires, looking for spread the curse to a new selection of victims. C.W. is another member of the crew and just like the rest they don’t get much to make them stand out.

PerformancesRobert Patrick does try to make the most of his character only he doesn’t get anything to work with here. This is the big problem for the rest of the cast, nobody gets a chance to make anything from their characters who all end up being painful bland.

StoryThe story follows a group of criminals that are looking to head to Mexico for their latest job, only to attract the attention of the vampires using the Titty Twister becoming the latest target, can they survive the night? The story here is very weak, we get five criminals with little to no character development, not making us care about what is happening. We get thrown into another direction with the story which doesn’t help because we know what is happening, while certain members of the crew don’t, this does against what we learnt about the vampires in the first film. this story just feels like a forced sequel nobody really asked for.

Crime/Horror The crime side of this horror comes from seeing just how the crew is operating, how they plan to get the job done, the horror comes from the vampire side of the film, it does have darker moments, only it still doesn’t feel like a scarier film.

SettingsThe film is set between Mexico and Texas, no location involved does make us feel like we are in iconic location the first one did.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are not at the same standard either, with most of the attacks being from bats which seem to be extreme close ups that just feel too difficult to watch.


Scene of the Movie –
A helping hand?

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of interest around the characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappoint sequel that pulls the quality level right down to just a basic sequel that just so happens to visit the same bar, having no connection to the previous film.

 

Overall: Bland sequel.

Rating

 

Franchise Weekend – From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Writer: Quentin Tarantino (Screenplay) Robert Kurtzman (Story)

Starring: George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo

 

Plot: Two criminals and their hostages unknowingly seek temporary refuge in a truck stop populated by vampires, with chaotic results.


Tagline – How far can Too Far go?

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Blood Splattered Blast

 

Story: From Dusk till Dawn starts after Seth Gecko (Clooney) is broken out of prison by his brother Richard (Tarantino) before they commit a daring daylight robbery as they race towards the Mexican border. They have a hostage which Richard soon kills, meaning they must find another one. The brothers pick a family the Fuller family, whose loss of faith priest father Jacob (Keitel) and his children Kate (Lewis) and Scott (Liu) are just travelling.

Once across the border the five head to a bar known as the Titty Twister for bikers and truckers alike, but soon they must put their differences aside when it turns out to be a vampire hideout, where they must fight to daylight.

 

Thoughts on From Dusk till Dawn

 

Characters – Seth Gecko has just been sprung from prison by his brother, he wants to get across the border to complete a deal which would see them both have freedom, he is the one that remains in control wanting to keep everything calm, which would mean not leaving a pile of bodies behind them. He does deliver the threats which would see them as a danger, though he does just want things to be simple. Richard or Ritchie is must more of a loose cannon, he is paranoid and this makes him more dangerous, as he will kill people putting their safety at risk. He is protected by his brother, as he doesn’t seem like he is capable of putting a plan together himself. Jacob was a priest that has lost his faith after his wife’s death, he I taking his family on a vacation and gets forced into helping the brothers, he wants to keep them safe, willing to risk his own life to make this happen. Kate and Scott are his children, they are dealing with their own loss the best way they know how to and being supportive to their father. Santanico is the beautiful dancer that will stop a bar with her dance, she is one of the leaders of the vampires who has been waiting for the food in human form.

PerformancesGeorge Clooney is great to see in this role, after this we only usually see him in smooth talking roles, rather than a rough criminal, showing he could become any role offered to him. Tarantino in this film is creepy and putting himself in the supporting role does hide any restrictions he might have as an actor. Harvey Keitel is great showing a character that is meant to be hating his life choice, but remaining strong for his children. Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu are both solid enough in the supporting roles without getting too much more to work with, while Salma Hayek turns heads with her performance.

StoryThe story here follows two criminals trying to get to Mexico, the family they force to help them across the border and the bar they find, filled with vampires that they must fight to survive the night. Where this story stands up on its own, is by making it a criminal tory to start with, having no hints of horror or vampires involved, as we just watch the two loose cannons trying to get to safety, by pulling the rug out from under us to thrown us into the horror idea is genius switch of pace for the story. we do have themes going on especially with the Jacob character needing to find his lost faith which finding it will become the big part in fight the vampires. The story also exists in a world where vampire stories do exist, which gives them ideas on how to fight back, which was the main attraction to the 90’s horror stories.

Action/HorrorThe action in the film involves the fighting with the vampires, we get to take everything to a new level for this side of the genre, with the blood splatter in the action, which the horror gives us because we vampires which are a staple of horror, but we do focus on the action over the scares.

SettingsThe film uses the getting to the location setting of the camper van which does show us the road trip feel to the film, but it is the bar that will be one that is always going to be hard to forget, being a run down biker and trucker bar.

Special EffectsThe special effects are some of the best you will see in the vampire genre, it shows that you can get plenty done with practical effects, with the only weakness come from the human to vampire transformations, which look CGI and have dated.


Scene of the Movie –
The battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The transformations have dated badly.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most fun vampire movies you will ever see, it has plenty of blood flying around the screen and will keep you entertained from start to finish.

 

Overall: Purely entertaining vampire movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – G – The Good, The Bad and The Dead (2015)

Director: Timothy Woodward Jr

Writer: Sean Ryan (Screenplay)

Starring: Johnny Messner, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Vivica A Fox, Michael Pare, Natassia Malthe, John Laughlin

 

Plot: Brian Barnes (Johnny Messner) wakes up in the desert wounded and with no memory and no idea why he’s surrounded by eight bodies, a van with four million in cash and a van full of cocaine. Brian is pursued by not only notorious drug lord Danny Perez (Danny Trejo) who desperately want his money back, and DEA Agent Rooker (Dolph Lundgren), but also a by the corrupt Sheriff Olson (Michael Pare) who will stop at nothing to get his hand on the new found fortune. On the run, Brian discovers the more he remembers the less he wants to know about who he really is.


Tagline – Who can you trust?

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over Populated Action Film

 

Story: The Good, the Bad and the Dead starts as the outlaw (Messner) wakes after a drug deal goes bad, corrupt sheriffs try to claim his prize which brings in the Enforcer Bob Rooker (Lundgren) to do the work for the Suit Imani Cole (Fox) who has been trying to stop the drug deals coming across the borders. When the drug lord Mateo Perez (Trejo) wants his drugs back, it becomes a race against time to see who ends up with the drugs, money and lives.

The race to solve the case and close the case brings us many twists which leave Outlaw Brian needing to face the facts about who he really is and what he was doing at the crime scene.

 

Thoughts on The Good, the Bad and the Dead

 

Characters – Brian Barns is the outlaw, he is left shot in a drug deal gone bad, he has no memory which leads him to need to go on a journey to first learn who he is and later how to escape. Bob Rooker is the DEA Agent tracking down the events of the shootout, he is following clues while staying on the right side of the law. Mateo Perez is the drug lord that is wants to track down who killed his son and took his money. Imani Cole is the suit trying to put the pieces together with her team. Most of the characters we meet don’t get enough development and we keep getting more characters added to complicate things.

PerformancesThe performances are affected by the pure number of characters we are dealing with, nobody gets a chance to stand out or is given enough screen time to be effective for the film.

StoryThe story does try to bring us a story that has plenty of interweaving arcs, which the film doesn’t get enough time to get flushed out and then we try to make every single character seem like they are the most important character to the story. The story does try to stay fast paced which doesn’t help either because we do get a lot of scenes which involve talking and just shooting or planning which takes a lot away from the final outcome of the story.

Action/WesternThe action is by the book shooting which never feels challenging to watch and leaves you not caring too much.

SettingsThe film doesn’t use the settings well enough for the film making none of them having any memorable scenes.

Special EffectsThe effects are fine when it comes to the wounds, but otherwise it will not become anything memorable.


Scene of the Movie –
The opening sequences works well.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters and twists.

Final ThoughtsThis is an overly complicated and populated movie that brings in too many characters to make the twists happening.

 

Overall: Too busy.

Rating

 

 

Cartel 2045 (2017)

Director: Chris Le

Writer: Chris Le (Screenplay)

Starring: Danny Trejo, Alexander P Heartman, Brad Schmidt, Blake Webb, Jay Whittaker, Kyler Steve Fisher

 

Plot: Its the year 2045. War on drugs in Mexico has escalated as a ruthless drug Cartel use robots to enforce their operations.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Robot Drug Wars

 

Story: Cartel 2045 starts as the war against drugs in Mexico looked like it was going to get cleaned up by the introduction of robots, but when the Cartel get their hands on the robots, drug lord Angel Malvado (Trejo) takes over the war. In the latest attempt to tackle the war former US Marine Carson Wright (Schmidt) is assigned to a team to take down Estevan Flores only for Angel to become the bigger threat.

 

Thoughts on Cartel 2045

 

Characters – Angel Malvado is the ruthless drug lord that controls the trade in Mexico with his robot bodyguards that will do any of his dirty work, he knows how to get the honest people to work for him and is smart enough not to waste a resource before their worth to him. Carson Wright is the former US Marine, being placed in jail, he gets offered a chance for freedom to be with his family by going on this latest mission, he has a past in battle and isn’t fond of the technology being used in battle.

PerformancesDanny Trejo is the biggest draw for this movie we know he can play the drug lord role with ease and this is no different. Brad Schmidt is good in the leading hero role looking just like any other soldier.

StoryThe story in this movie is the Mexican drug war with robots included, they are similar style to what we had in Chappie, we have the secret mission version the criminal drug lord that will stop at nothing to stay ahead in the game. The story is by the book and easy to follow, it is the other sides of the film which feel overly ambitious for the budget available.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is basic shooting between human guns and robots with the robots not always looking convincing enough. The sci-fi side of everything feels very ambitious for the budget the film had because the robots seem placed into the scenes over the being part of it.

SettingsThe film does have a generic Mexican town which could be anywhere in the country.

Special EffectsThe effects for the most parts are not the strongest because everything feels too ambitious.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The robots don’t seem to be very effective with their shooting.

Final ThoughtsThis is an ambitious movie, that doesn’t always hit the marks because it gets held back by the budgets the film has.

 

Overall: Try this sci-fi film.

Rating

 

 

John Malkovich Weekend – Con Air (1997)

con airDirector: Simon West

Writer: Scott Rosenberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, John Malkovich, John Cusack, Ving Rhames, Dave Chappelle, Steve Buscemi, Monica Potter, Danny Trejo

 

Plot: Newly paroled ex-con and former U.S. Ranger Cameron Poe finds himself trapped in a prisoner transport plane when the passengers seize control.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Purely Enjoyable Action Film

 

Story: Con Air starts as war veteran Cameron Poe (Cage) returns to his wife Tricia (Potter) but due to the local drinks attacking him 3-1 style one ends up dead and Cameron finds himself facing jail, somehow. We get a montage to show how Cameron spends his time in jail never wanting to meet his daughter but communicating with her through letters.

Cameron is about to be released on a transport that includes his friend Baby-O (Williamson) but also a large number of deadly prisoners including Cyrus ‘The Virus’ Grissom (Malkovich), Diamond Dog (Rhames), Johnny-23 (Trejo), Swamp Thing (Gainey), Pinball (Chappelle) and Garland Greene (Buscemi) as well as other characters. Vince Larkin (Cusack) is overseeing the transfer with Duncan Malloy (Meaney) who are trying to interrogate one of the prisoners on route.

Once in the air Cyrus has arranged a prison escape and as he quotes ‘welcome to con air’. Cameron decides to stay on the plane and protect his friend and female guard, making him the only line of defence between the prisoners and freedom.

Con Air gave us one of the most entertaining action thrillers of the 90s, the story is very thin which is what we need to let the action unfold. Our leading man is the main development as we instantly feel sympathy for him after his imprisonment for defending himself. One man doing the right thing against criminals all works for what we need but let’s face it we only want to see the action unfold and this gives us everything.

 

Actor Review

 

Nicolas Cage: Cameron Poe is the war veteran who gets sent to jail after defending himself in a bar brawl, he has served his time and his coming home on the prisoner transport. Once the prisoners take over the plane he stays to stop them escaping and saving his friend. Nicolas gives us one of the most entertaining action leading performances of the 90’s.poe

John Malkovich: Cyrus ‘The Virus’ Grissom is the leader of the prisoner escape, he has spent most of his life in jail becoming a genius in the process. He is calculated with every move he makes when it comes to this escape making him a villain not to be messed with. John makes for a great villain that stays calm until the very end.cyrus

John Cusack: Vince Larkin is overseeing the prison transfer and is battling with the loud mouth Malloy. He using longer words to annoy Malloy but is the only one to believe that Cameron is the hero on the plane. John works in this role but sometimes feels out of place with the action stars.

Steve Buscemi: Garland ‘The Marietta Mangler’ Greene is a late addition to the transport, he is one of the most notorious serial killers on the planet. He is completing out of his mind but not involved in the main part of the escape. Steve gives us one of the most memorable supporting character that never really seems to be involved with the main story.

Support Cast: Con Air has a big supporting cast that all help show the hero side of Cameron.

Director Review: Simon WestSimon gives us an action film we can all enjoy still 20 years after its release.

 

Action: Con Air has plenty of action from the moment the plane gets taken over to the final scenes.

Crime: Con Air gives us a prison escape on a plane which helps the crime side of the story.

Thriller: Con Air keeps us on edge from start to finish as we watch waiting to see if Cameron will save the day.

Settings: Con Air keeps the settings mostly on the plane with the criminals having rising tension while the scenes outside always feel desperate against the time.
Special Effects
: Con Air uses great effects throughout for all the action sequences.

Suggestion: Con Air is one to switch on and just relax and enjoy. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Bunny.

Worst Part: Malloy is terrible character for the role he is meant to be in the DEA.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final sequence.

Favourite Quote: Garland Greene ‘Define irony. Bunch of idiots dancing on a plane to a song made famous by a band that died in a plane crash.’

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: The Rock

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 2 Oscars

Budget: $75 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

Tagline: One wrong flight can ruin your whole day

Trivia: The song “How Do I Live” was nominated for both an Oscar as Best Original Song and a Razzie as Worst Original Song. It did not win either award.

 

Overall: Action film that will always be one that is easy to watch.

Ratingcard