Directed by Roel Reiné
Guerrero (Danny Trejo) must confront his past and learn the truth about who he is and the supernatural forces behind what he does.
Danny Trejo returns once again as the western outlaw Guerrero. The movie opens better than the first one did which I like. It is much more ominous and feels like they are discussing a legend. A mysterious and bloody cowboy rides into town and walks into a saloon and tells the story of Guerrero de la Cruz and what he does. Perfect execution there.
Guerrero is still doing the Devil’s work by sending the damned to hell. Strangely the Devil is not ever seen in this movie in any real form. It is a real disappointment because Mickey Rourke was pretty good in the first one. He is talked about a lot, but you never see him. Not even a flashback clip. This film is sorely missing the presence of Mickey Rourke as the Devil. He was menacing and dark and a good foil for Trejo.
Dead Again in Tombstone also rehabs Guerrero by making him a dark good guy who was tricked by the Devil. I find fighting for your soul much more interesting than being God’s hitman. Then again, I guess if you cannot get the actor that played the Devil in the last movie you need to do something that takes the character out of the narrative.
While Trejo was a little more badass here, I am bothered that they made him work for God. It is a serious rehab that could have been left for a third film rather than the second. It would have been better to have him fight the Devil’s mechanizations than to have been tricked. I think it steers the film towards those boring Pureflix movies. If the reason for this was indeed the loss of Mickey Rourke in the part then send another demon to do his bidding as a middleman.
Jake Busey is pretty good as the villainous Jackson Boomer. He plays him as a little bit of a cocky asshole which is more or less how he plays most of his characters. Boomer is very much a Southern gentleman here of old-style Westerns but also very evil. He apparently learned of the bone box that is the focus of everything before the beginning of the film from Guerrero’s half-brother Red Cavanaugh. From my perspective there was implied supernatural knowledge by Red in the opening scenes of the original, but nothing ever came of that. It felt like Boomer was tossed in at the last minute because they could not get Hall to show up. I think if they had waived a little bit more money in the face of Anthony Michael Hall he could have been brought back, and we could have had another showdown between Trejo and Kavanaugh.
Mother de la Cruz (Michelle Rios), Guerrero’s mother, looks younger than Trejo. Something about her just did not look older than Trejo. Elysia Rotaru as the daughter Alicia was not too bad. She was a tough character and gave as good as Trejo.
Guerrero gets some help this time from Dr. Goldsworthy (Dean McDermott) who resurrects him when he gets killed by Boomer. Boomer joins forces with a local brothel owner named Madame Du Vere (Elizabeth Lavender). That alliance along with this woman’s ability to “see the truth” feels a little out of left field. It just happened. Even more awkward was that this prostitute seemed to abruptly become the arch nemesis of Guerrero’s daughter. She had a few bad things to say about Alicia but nothing suggesting they would punch it out in the end.
I draw issue with the interior shots which were very dark. Night or day it was hard to see. Get some lighting in there. We accept a little unrealistic lighting in film but usually in the direction of seeing better. I am not sure if Reiné felt that serious darkness added authenticity or the lighting guy quit before those scenes were done.
The story is not too bad but a little disjointed. Some of the events feel made up as they went along as if they could not film what they wanted but still had to do something since the cameras were there. The acting is better than you would expect from a direct video release. Trejo once again is great as a Western tough guy. But then again Danny Trejo is always good. He has been in some turds that I have seen but he has never been bad.
Dead Again in Tombstone is a decent supernatural Western. It is not Academy Award material, but it is not a complete waste. They play up the supernatural elements a bit more here than in the last film which is good, but we are missing Mickey Rourke which is not so good. Enjoyable but far from perfect.