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>
Rodriguez follows up 'El Mariachi' with 'Desperado'. Many seem to have preferred the raw look that 'El Mariachi' had and while 'Desperado' is more 'sophisticated' in the making and more polished, that doesn't prevent it from being an awesome action entertainer. For me, it was just as much fun as 'El Mariachi'. Rodriguez does what he does best. He already mentioned that his Mariachi films are a tribute to the western cinema that names like Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood defined and 'Desperado' works perfectly with its comic book story, quirky characters and over-the-top action sequences. Moving at a rapid pace, the direction and editing are top notch. The cinematography is brilliant too. Antonio Banderas does a good job taking over the role from Carlos Gallardo (who sort of plays his sidekick in this one). However, it is Salma Hayek that steals the show even though the story is dominated by El Mariachi. As Carolina, she is sensual, witty, charming and quite clever too. Hayek delivers a very natural performance and owns each and every one of her scenes. In addition, there are some wonderful cameos by Cheech Marin, Quentin Tarantino, Steve Buscemi and Danny Trejo. Overall, 'Desperado' is full throttle entertainment. This is what an action entertainer is supposed to be.
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