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With this sequel to his prize-winning independent previous film, "El Mariachi," director Robert Rodriquez joins the ranks of Sam Peckinpah and John Woo as a master of slick, glamorized ultra-violence. We pick up the story as a continuation of "El Mariachi," where an itinerant musician, looking for work, gets mistaken for a hitman and thereby entangled in a web of love, corruption, and death. This time, he is out to avenge the murder of his lover and the maiming of his fretting hand, which occurred at the end of the earlier movie. However, the plot is recapitulated, and again, a case of mistaken identity leads to a very high body count, involvement with a beautiful woman who works for the local drug lord, and finally, the inevitable face-to-face confrontation and bloody showdown. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
After watching El Mariachi, it was easy to see the improvement in production values between the two. Not surprising, considering the difference in the price tag of the two films. But, as I pointed out in my El Mariachi review, money isn't everything.
Although better visually, Desperado benefits from better actors who bring more life to the characters. The overall effect, given another reasonable plot, is to make a much more polished looking film that deservedly did as well as it did at the box office.
The aforementioned plot is, essentially, the same as the first film when you boil it down - the Mariachi ends up killing a lot of no-good drug-dealers and warlords etc. - and there's the obligatory love interest. But although very similar, this movie was more enjoyable due to it's overall finish and style.
I originally watched this movie some years ago, long before I got to see the original El Mariachi, so I suppose I am a little biased in preferring this one to the the first in that Banderas IS the Mariachi as far as I was concerned. But not to knock the first movie, which tells us the early history of the Mariachi, and is a worthy film in its own right.
Desperado is good, if sometimes a little gory, fun. Nothing to analyse too much, just enjoy. If you have the opportunity, watch the original, then this one and things will make a lot more sense. Desperado has enough back history woven into it to make it a standalone film, but the overall experience is better watching the two back to back.
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