Basically an Evil Dead set in Mexico, this Quentin Tarantino-Robert Rodriguez collaboration tells the sketchy story of the Gecko brothers (Tarantino and George Clooney), a couple of fugitives on the run to the border. On the way, they pick up a family as hostages: lapsed preacher Jacob Fuller (Harvey Keitel), daughter Kate (Juliette Lewis), and son Scott (Ernest Liu). In the Fullers’ RV, they make it to a Mexican strip bar, only to discover it’s run by vampires. Thankfully, it makes a great place for an old-fashioned bloodletting.
Tarantino’s typical wry humor pervades the film, punctuated by Rodriguez’s flair for filming violence. These two filmmakers may be best buddies and their styles may be quite different, but together they’ve provided Tarantino with his best role as an actor: a demented pervert with a heart of coal.
By the time the gore-fest is in full swing, it feels like a giant-screen game of “DOOM,” complete with flowing blood and rolling heads. The way-over-the-top campiness is so completely ridiculous, it’s impossible to take anything in the film seriously. But ultimately, that’s not a bad thing.