Director Robert Rodriguez picks up where his successful independent debut El Mariachi left off with this slam-bang South of the Border action saga. Bucho (Joaquim DeAlmeida) is a wealthy but casually bloodthirsty drug kingpin who rules a seedy Mexican border town. Bucho and his men make the mistake of angering El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas), a former musician who now carries an arsenal in his guitar case. Bucho was responsible for the death of El Mariachi's girlfriend and put a bullet through his fretting hand, making him unable to play the guitar. Bent on revenge, the musician-turned-killing machine arrives in town to put Bucho out of business, though he finds few allies except for Carolina (Salma Hayek), who runs a bookstore that doesn't seem to attract many readers. Desperado features supporting performances from Cheech Marin as a cynical bartender, Steve Buscemi as the cantina patron who sets up the story, and Quentin Tarantino as a man with a really terrible joke to tell.
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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