JUMPSCARECUT: From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

Year: 1996
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Harvey Keitel, George Clooney, Juliette Lewis, Quentin Tarantino, Salma Hayek, Danny Trejo

Written by Elena Morgan

Criminal brothers Seth and Richie Gecko (George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino) and their hostages, a faithless preacher (Harvey Keitel) and his two children, are on the run to the border. They stop at a popular bar, not aware that it’s run by vampires, and soon they are unlikely allies as they fight to survive the night.

Directed by Robert Rodriguez with a screenplay by Quentin Tarantino, ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ is an interesting film. The first hour is like a crime thriller and then when the motley crew encounters the vampires, it turns on its head and becomes a horror film. Both Rodriguez’s and Tarantino’s fingerprints are all over this film. Danny Trejo and Salma Hayek, two actors who appear in a fair few Rodriguez films, both make appearances and the script is full of fast-talking characters courtesy of Tarantino, and there’s plenty of bloodshed courtesy of both of them.

Clooney is equal parts cool and dangerous as Seth, while Tarantino’s Richie is a loose cannon, and his infatuation with women is not only alarming for the audience, but it’s something that causes problems for Seth. Personally, I couldn’t stand Richie. His attitude towards women was awful, leering at the preacher’s presumably teenage daughter, and based on odd lines from Seth, it seemed like he was prone to attacking/killing women. He comes across a lot younger than he is, like he needs Seth guidance or else he acts out, which then makes his actions even more disturbing.

The makeup and combination of practical effects and CGI on the vampires is fantastic. They are horrible, disgusting looking creatures and the mix of make up and computer effects when a person transforms into a vampire is unsettling. They look more like demons than the “classic” and almost sophisticated vampires you think of.

The showdown with the vampires is fun, gruesome and exciting. The innovative ways the gang make the typical vampire killing devices like holy water, crosses and stakes, is a lot of fun. As is when everyone decides unanimously that while it’s unbelievable, they are indeed dealing with vampires. It’s an interesting twist that instead of being in denial about what they’re seeing and experiencing, they just get on with it and get on with trying to survive any way they know how.

I kind of wish I’d gone into ‘From Dusk Till Dawn‘ not knowing this crime film turns into a horror film with vampires, as I was just waiting for the vampires to appear and was surprised by how long that took. But as the genre shift seems to be the films unique selling point, the reveal is in the trailer and on the DVD case, that’s unlikely ever to happen. But I’d be interested to hear from anyone who went into this film completely blind.

From Dusk Till Dawn is an interesting blend of crime and horror, it’s unpredictable, gory and George Clooney has probably never been cooler as he is here as Seth Gecko.

ELENA’S RATING:

3-5

 

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Year: 2017
Director: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Elodie Yung, Salma Hayek

Written by Tom Sheffield

From the first trailer, I knew ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ had potential to be one of the funniest films to be released this year, and the lack of comedic competition to hit our cinema screens in 2017 has certainly improved its chances. I’m happy to say that I did not leave the cinema disappointed!  

As a once-rated ‘Triple A Rated’ bodyguard, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is tasked to protect Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), a hit-man he shares a long history with, which mostly involves Kincaid trying to kill Bryce on multiple occasions. Bryce has to ensure his nemesis makes it to the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands so he can testify against Eastern European dictator, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman). Dukhovich has no plans to be convicted and sets his best men to hunt down and kill the pair before they reach the court.

Pairing up Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds was a stroke of genius. Reynold’s charm and cockiness pitted against Jackson’s no nonsense, ‘does what he wants’ attitude made for some hilarious exchanges of dialogue and scenes. Its nothing new from the pair of them, but when they’re together they easily bring the laughs. It’s not long into the film before the pair meet, but once they do there are only a few occasions where they aren’t sharing the screen. There’s car chases, rooftop jumps, shoot outs, and a some life lessons learned along the way, which includes one thought-provoking scene about the morality of the pairs jobs and why they both see themselves as the good guy and the other the bad guy.

The supporting cast all bring something a little different to the film. Elodie Yung plays Interpol agent, and Bryce’s ex, Amelia Roussel. Whilst I feel she was criminally underused in this film, she’s a key part of the story and she played it really well. A shout out definitely has to go to Gary Oldman, he played his villainous role superbly and was as scary as he was ruthless. Salma Hayek, again criminally underused, was hilarious in her role as Kincaid’s imprisoned wife, who has even more attitude than he does. The scenes that Hayek and Jackson shared were possibly some of my favourite of the film and I’m definitely all for a spin-off to watch the married couple wreak some havoc together. It would definitely go down in history as the film that uses the word ‘motherfucker’ the most. 

‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ is definitely worth checking out at the cinema. There’s plenty of action, and the bonus of it is that it’s actually shot really well. You’re guaranteed a laugh from Reynolds and Jackson, that’s just a given, but performances all round are absolutely brilliant. The story is fairly predictable, but then again it didn’t ever really try to keep anything secret. Hughes knows that the majority of the audience is there to see Reynolds and Jackson go at each other, and everything else that happens in the process is just a bonus.

Tom’s rating: 6.5 out of 10

Put On Your Seat Belts Before Watching The First Trailer For The Hitman’s Bodyguard

“The world’s top protection agent (Ryan Reynolds) is called upon to guard the life of his mortal enemy, one of the world’s most notorious hitmen (Samuel L. Jackson). The relentless bodyguard and manipulative assassin have been on the opposite end of the bullet for years and are thrown together for a wildly outrageous 24 hours. During their raucous and hilarious adventure from England to the Hague, they encounter high-speed car chases, outlandish boat escapades and a merciless Eastern European dictator (Gary Oldman) who is out for blood. Salma Hayek joins the mayhem as Jackson’s equally notorious wife.”

As first impressions go, this trailer may be one of my favourites this year so far. Putting Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds together in a film is a stroke of genius and the pair seemingly play these characters to their strengths. Jackson angrily yelling “motherfucker” every chance he can, and Reynolds playing the sarcastic asshole just trying to do the right thing.  It may be characteristics we’ve seen them both portray in many films before, but putting them both together in one film looks like a recipe for utter hilarity. 

Joining Reynolds and Jackson are Gary Oldman, who is playing an “Eastern European dictator who is out for blood” and Salma Hayek, who will be Jackson’s wife who is apparently as “equally notorious” as her husband. This all sounds like a side splittingly funny film and I’m very excited to see Oldman’s villain, who I’m expecting to be very outlandish and funny if the protagonists are anything to go by.

‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ is hitting UK cinemas 18th August 2017

Written by Tom Sheffield