Picks and Pans Review: From Dusk Till Dawn

updated 02/05/1996 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/05/1996 AT 01:00 AM EST

George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino

One suspects this is not the movie that Clooney's ER fans longed to see him make. Rather than saving lives, he's taking them here, by the multitude, as a tough-as-nails career criminal who, while spinning the chamber of his .45, tells a woman hostage, "I got six little friends, and they can all run faster than you can." Of course he's a gentleman compared to his brother (Tarantino, who also wrote the cartoony screenplay). Tarantino here would remind me of Lenny in Of Mice and Men if Lenny had been stroking a life-size, blow-up party doll instead of that rabbit.

After robbing a bank and killing a bunch of folks, Clooney and Tarantino are headed for refuge in Mexico with a trio of hostages—a disaffected minister (Harvey Keitel) and his two teenagers (Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu)—in tow. Then suddenly, across the border, the movie becomes a full-fanged vampire film, with Clooney and his hostages uniting to slay hordes of voracious bloodsuckers. And slaughter 'em they do, every which way, complete with exploding heads and hearts that still beat after being taken from the bodies. The in-your-face carnage, as directed by Robert Rodriguez (Desperado), goes on for a very long time.

Clooney, flexing his snake-tattooed biceps, plays Mr. Cool throughout, which is all that's required. Whether he can carry a movie worth sitting through will have to wait for another sunrise. (R)

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