Despite trying to keep his swashbuckling to a minimum, a threat to California's pending statehood causes the adventure-loving Alejandro de la Vega (Banderas) -- and his wife, Elena (Zeta-Jones) -- to take action.
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>
During the battle on the roof of the bookstore to the scene immediately after, El Mariachi's shirt becomes significantly less stained with blood. See more »
Now, I wasn't interested in his drink. No, I was more interested in what he was carrying when he walked in. Some sort of a suitcase, kind of heavy. And he sat that thing on a stool beside him as if it were his girl.
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It is well known that Robert Rodriguez is a fan of John Woo, the Hong Kong film director who made the best action flick ever, The Killer (if you haven't experienced it yet, hotfoot it down the video store right now and check it out. You won't be disappointed.) Desperado doesn't quite scale such lofty heights, but it comes closer than most.
Allow me to summarise the plot. A drifter (played by the impeccably sculptured Antonio Banderas) arrives in town in search of his girlfriend's murderer and kills everyone he meets. Roll credits.
Which is kind of like saying Moby Dick is a book about a big whale. It's style which is important here, and it's something this film has in spades. The blistering action scenes are artfully choreographed, but the same could be said of Commando. What gives this film the edge is the Mexican setting - the whole film is choked in dust, and comes complete with greasy villains, decaying cantinas, rough-hewn stone buildings and an irresistible Latin-American soundtrack. There's explosions, gunfights, knife throwing, fisticuffs, and a scene involving two deadly guitar cases which is just so ridiculous that it fits in perfectly. There's precious little acting talent on display and no plot to speak of (though the film does have a *great* sense of humour), but in the end you leave the theatre feeling satisfied without really knowing why. And, in the final reckoning, that's good enough for me.
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