From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money has a stupid premise, and it can never really overcome that. The original film from Robert Rodriquez was simple, but its stylish delivery, big names (George Clooney), and meshing of vampire and heist films was enough to overcome whatever problems the plot presented. Scott Spiegel, director and co-writer, attempts to recycle that formula – almost entirely the scope of the plot – and fails to create the necessary pathos or significance to warrant From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money‘s existence except for more bloodshed and explosions.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but Spiegel’s dynamics don’t work that well in the film. The plot hinges on a Mexican bank heist drummed up by outlaw Luther (Duane Whitaker), who pulls in a crew of guys including main character Buck (Robert Patrick), C.W. (Muse Watson), Jesus (Raymond Cruz), and Ray Bob (Brett Harrelson). The idea is that Luther’s going to go out with a bang, taking a huge haul with him to Mexico; the same is true of Buck, although he has kept his nose relatively clean since their last heists.
Spiegel spends a lot of time with Buck as he rounds up the old gang, and then sets to work documenting how the heist will work. But nothing about Texas Blood Money is intricate or even interesting to action movie viewers; the heist is about as simplistic as one can get, and since it takes up so much of the film’s attention, there’s little to get excited about.
Instead of going into detail about the bank robbery, Spiegel alternates time spent in a motel with vampire mayhem. Most of this is made up of silly bat attacks, with Texas Blood Money using a combination of bad CGI and practical bat effects. The bats are one of the worst parts of the film simply because Spiegel fails to edit his scenes down to manageable levels. The film’s opening bat attack, with Tiffany Amber Thiessen and Bruce Campbell, feels like it drags on forever, and it repeats yet again during a shower attack with a nameless naked Mexican woman. Spiegel draws things out for too long, and that’s a weird issue considering From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money is just under 90 minutes.
But the underlying problem is obvious: the film simply has no plot. While there’s a hero-antihero archetype happening between Buck and Sheriff Otis (Bo Hopkins), the rest of the film doesn’t make much sense. Even the characters question the vampires’ motivations to steal money at the end of the film – why would these all-powerful guys want to risk a sunrise just for some cash when they could clearly murder anyone in their way?
Since Texas Blood Money is all about the heist, the lack of motivation for Luther and his crew once they become blood-sucking freaks means there’s little reason to see the film through to the end except for a couple of action scenes where cars blow up and people get ripped apart by gunfire. But one must give Texas Blood Money some credit – the action and make-up special effects for the vampires work well, especially when compared to the original.
Ultimately, though, Texas Blood Money is a direct-to-video sequel for a reason. It doesn’t get much better from here either, folks – From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter is either on-par with this film or worse, and Rodriguez’s television series is often hit-or-miss, not to mention straying far from From Dusk Till Dawn‘s intentions. Watching this sequel won’t do any harm to the original, but it does suck the fun out of the crime-and-vampires idea Rodriguez’s movie did so well.