FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: SEASON TWO may be inferior to the first but, it still scares up some thrills!

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From Dusk Till Dawn Season 2

The film FROM DUSK TILL DAWN was such a cool event for me.  Think about it, this was the team up of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.  At the time, it seemed otherworldly and more akin to a comic book than a movie theater.  As a film, it was wasn't perfect, but it was funny, featured great performances, and was a hybrid of action and horror.  If nothing else, it was unforgettable.

Rodriguez’s El Rey Network launched a series based on the show in 2014.  I have to say, Season One wasn't bad at all.  Mostly following the screenplay of the original film, it held true to the original yet expanded the characters and settings.  The show wavered a little as it tried to explain the villains as a sort of vampire cartel.  The newer elements didn’t work as well as the old. It wasn't terrible, but the show lost a lot of steam as the series concluded.  As a guess, the lack of Tarantino involvement probably led to the more muddled ending.

The true success of the show was in recasting the key characters from the film.  Many of the actors somehow exceeded their film counterparts in Season One and again in Season Two.  DJ Cotrona and Zane Holtz took over from George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino, which seems like a difficult task.  Yet, Holtz is far superior and Cotrona does excellent work trying to fill the worldwide superstar’s shoes.  There's also Eiza Gonzalez who is somehow hotter than Salma Hayek as the vampiric Santanico.  Plus you get the beautiful Madison Davenport exceeding Juliette Lewis’s portrayal of Kate in nearly every aspect.  These characters are the heart of the series, and that heart is powerful!

Season 2 picks up three months after the first.  Richie and Santanico are working to take down the vampire brood, while Seth and Kate have embarked on their own career of crime.  It takes far too long for the brothers Gecko to get back together.  More than anything, in a FROM DUSK TILL DAWN series, I want to see the Gecko Brothers kicking ass….TOGETHER!

The entire first season was a long interconnected web, and that's the style season 2 continues.  The sprawling saga has some really sharp moments, but it also drags the storytelling down.  There're a lot of flashbacks and the show never gets a chance to breathe.  Most of the episodes don't work on their own, as they are all a piece in that larger tapestry.  Unfortunately, the tapestry isn't as interesting as the characters themselves.  I would have liked some more standalone episodes with some unconnected plots.

Speaking of characters, we get two new villains in Esai Morales and Danny Trejo.  Morales plays the big baddie Lord Malvado.  I've enjoyed Morales’s work since I saw him in LA BAMBA on the eve of my first day as a high school freshman.  I remember fondly sitting with my dad, watching the film together.  Oddly, he wouldn’t see another film in the cinema until STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE.  Maybe not the best return to the cinema, but that night seeing the story of Richie Valens was unforgettable for me.  I wouldn’t say that Morales unleashes an unforgettable performance here, but he doesn't disappoint as the malevolent evil.  

Trejo played the small role of Razor Charlie in the original film, and he's a vampire enforcer known as The Regulator here.  It's a fun part where he serves as a secondary villain making the Gecko’s lives miserable.  It's always fun to watch Trejo work, and he does his usual fine job of exuding villainy and toughness.

All told, it's not fantastic television, but FROM DUSK TILL DAWN is a good genre show that maintains quality throughout.  The Blu-ray is loaded with documentaries, commentaries, and inside looks.  There’s many hours of material here to digest, so if you liked the first season, then you’ll probably have fun watching the followup.  

2.5 / 5.0