Written by none other than Quentin Tarantino, From Dusk Till Dawn was Robert Rodriguez's follow-up to Desperado and was further proof that the director was indeed one the most fun, rock n' roll filmmakers around.
The film is one of two halves.
The first hour is dedicated to George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino, who play two brothers, criminals on their way to Mexico. After leaving carnage behind them, they take a family hostage in a winnebago and finally make it through the border. The goal was to spend the night in some dodgy trucker bar beautifully called "The Titty Twister", wait for Cheech Marin (who plays like 3 roles in this) and go their separate ways come dawn. Unfortunately, and this is a pretty big spoiler if you've never seen the movie and you're planning to watch it, the bar turns out to be packed full of blood-thirsty vampires. The second half of the film is basically all about our heroes (and anti-heroes) fighting off vampires in the bloodiest ways imaginable. Although From Dusk Till Dawn never takes itself seriously, its first half holds up really well as an action movie seen from the point of view of the bad guys and the whole movie could have easily been just about that. But, like I said, halfway through, the film says "fuck it" and decides to get about as cartoonish and ridiculous as it possibly can. You've got Cheech Marin saying "pussy" about a hundred times, Tom Savini with a cock and balls-shaped gun down below, a Mexican vampire band playing instruments made out of human body parts, giants bats, vampire snake strippers, Machete, you name it: it's there.
Harvey Keitel brings some humanity to the proceedings playing the ex-priest kidnapped by Clooney and QT along with his family (which includes Juliette Lewis, by the way). On the other side of the spectrum, Tarantino has a ball playing a complete psycho in what is easily his best and most convincing performance as an actor. Clooney has never been cooler in a rare bad guy role and despite his criminal intentions and short fuse, he's still one of the film's most likeable characters. I'll admit that when the film goes all-out in its second half, part of me always feels it's a bit of a shame since the first half was so solid cinematically, but luckily the other part of me is totally fine with the trashy, random goofiness we're presented with once our characters enter The Titty Twister. The iconic scene of the film, of course, is the Salma Hayek snake dance which comes in at the halfway point and transitions both sides of the film from one genre to another. This second half of the film is, indeed, very silly and is more about the gore and the laughs than it is about plot or characters but, as shallow as it is, it's completely entertaining. I'm not a huge fan of the vampires' design, some are very much demons while some look a bit more reptilian, but that's a mild complaint. The film is still kickass and, whether you like the vampire aspect of the film or not, you'll still have fun.
From Dusk Till Dawn really is a drive-in movie: gory, wacky, action-packed, hilarious. It's mischievous in that it lures you in with its sharp Tarantino script, its cool characters and interesting original premise then slaps you across the face and throws vampires with boobs at you. It's pure Robert Rodriguez all the way and if, like me, you enjoy that sort of thing, then you'll have one hell of a good time.