From Dusk Till Dawn * * * 1/2

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Director: Robert Rodriguez.
Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino.
Starring: George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Quentin Tarantino, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, Tom Savini, Fred Williamson, Michael Parks, John Saxon, Kelly Preston, John Hawkes.

Before their collaboration on the “Grindhouse” double-bill, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez joined up to do this crime/horror picture. Both Tarantino and Rodriguez’s choice actors also join the show, with the inclusion of a pre-stardom George Clooney.

Seth and Richie Gecko (George Clooney & Quentin Tarantino) are two murderous bank robbers on the run and fleeing for safety to a nightclub in Mexico called the “Titty Twister” which is reportedly a safe haven for criminals. To get there they kidnap preacher Jacob Fuller (Harvey Keitel) and his kids Kate (Juliette Lewis) and Scott (Ernest Liu) who are travelling in their motor home. Once they reach the club though, they soon realise that when the sun goes down, they have more to deal with at the hands (and teeth) of bloodthirtsy vampires.

If this sounds rediculous or over-the-top then thats because it is. The film starts in true Tarantino fashion with the two criminal brothers dressed in black suits similiar to “Pulp Fiction” and “Reservoir Dogs” and spouting equally impressive dialogue. This however, changes abruptly about half way in and becomes nothing more than a horror B-movie – obviously the work of Rodriguez. As much as this is quite fun, it jars with the cool and dialogue laden beggining. It’s a transition that’s not a very smooth one and feels like two different films cut and pasted together. This a shame really, because the first half of the film is up there with Tarantino’s best stuff. I would have much preffered it if he had just completed the film in that similiar style. What I was most impressed with was the effortless performance of a cool-headed but dangerous killer from George Clooney, who at this time in his career was just fresh from his “E.R.” scrubs. He is absolutely brilliant and this was just the beginning of several fitting performances from Clooney in the future.

There’s no denying that is an enjoyable gore fest with wonderful dialogue but I couldn’t help but wonder what might have been.

Mark Walker

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