Former musician and gunslinger El Mariachi arrives at a small Mexican border town after being away for a long time. His past quickly catches up with him and he soon gets entangled with the local drug kingpin Bucho and his gang.
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.
During a 2019 interview with Terry Gross on the National Public Radio program "Fresh Air," Antonio Banderas remembered that one of the side-effects of making this movie on a very small budget was that some dangerous corners were cut in the stunt sequences: "I will just start my explanation by saying that I would never do that again. . . . We were hung on a cable that was on a crane. There was not a movie crane or nothing prepared for the movie. And that guy who was - you know, a construction worker that was working on a building, a house, very close, was transporting Salma first and then me from one roof to the other. . . . That cable was attached to a harness that we had under our, you know, costume. But it was not very precise because the guy never rehearse it. He never did anything like this. You know, he's not a safety [expert or a movie professional]. No. This is a guy who's just bringing bricks on top of a roof but not people. And so I remember the first time I jumped backwards, I - the guy just dropped the cable a little bit too heavy. And I hit with my head the next building. So. . . . It was just crazy. So we repeat that many times until the man actually got it. But we were playing with our lives right then. And then there was an explosion behind us, a fire that has to fill the whole entire screen. There was no CGI. That was for real. And I remember the smell of, you know, burned hair. . . . My hair, Salma's hair and everybody that was behind the camera's hair." See more »
When Bucho is first visible, he says to his "Right Hand" that he wants "a close lookout on all operations." Right Hand replies, but the line is not heard. See more »
[telling a story]
[sitting at the counter inside the Tarasco Bar]
The stranger shot him, walked over to the bartender, paid, and left.
So the bartender lived?
The bartender never gets killed!
But as the stranger neared the door...
[Bartender pulls a shotgun. Stranger shoots bartender]
No man, bartender got it worse than anybody.
See more »
Certain TV edits of the film make humorous changes to dialogue, including the changing of the sentence, "What the f**k?!" to "What the frijoles?" ("Frijoles" is Spanish for "beans.") See more »
Pass The Hatchet
Written by Ray Theriot, Roger Leon, Jr. & Earl Stanley Oropeza
Performed by Roger & The Gypsies
Courtesy of Charly International ApS/Charly Holdings Inc. See more »
Give me the strength to be what I was, and forgive me for what I am.
Sinking us back into the gritty life of a tormented guitar player, Rodriguez sets the stage for an amazing film. This time, Antonio Banderas steps into the role of the troubled Mariachi as he continues his quest to rid Mexico of the corrupted drug lord that destroyed his life. Using friends like Steve Buscemi, he finds the town that is harboring his villain named Bucho. The Mariachi's form of questioning normally leads to several dead, a cinematic gun fight, and some classic Sergio Leone verbiage. Unfortunately, our hero does not escape unscathed and finds himself being healed by the likes of Carolina, a bookstore beauty played by Selma Hayek. Together they build a steamy relationship that will help our Mariachi reach his final destination.
As more gunfights, explosions, and blood rock this independent blockbuster, we soon discover a hidden secret about our hero, one that could change the course of his destination.
This was an impressive second outing by director Robert Rodriguez. While I was worried that Hollywood would have drained too much of his imagination, it was instead the direct opposite. Hollywood gave him the tools to build an amazing 'sequel'. While different, yet the similar to his independent feature 'El Mariachi', Rodriguez sets the stage for a roller coaster film that makes you hold your breath and pray for more. He has taken elements from his first film and expanded them to new levels. Banderas is perfect as our 'new' Mariachi and the chemistry between him and Selma Hayek cannot be contested. Banderas' ability to control this enraged man was spectacular. They worked as our two main focuses of this film. Coupled with some humorous moments with Steve Buscemi and Quentin Tarantino, this film successfully stood on its own two feet thanks not just to the action, but the actors in their respective roles.
Finally, Rodriguez is a genius behind the camera. He is able to give us exactly the right amount of action, drama, and comedy for our liking. He is the proverbial salad bar of cinema. While giving us this deeply rooted character hell-bent on destroying this drug lord, he also lets our imaginations wander with his comical and cartoonish action sequences. The scenes of men flying through the air after being shot are somewhat comical, yet completely Rodriguez. He has successfully created this world that is all uniquely his own. Rodriguez has done this by giving the world depth and outside characters. He builds suspense and also suspicion all at the same time.
Overall, an amazing film (in case you haven't noticed) that should be found in nearly everyone's film collection.
Grade: ***** out of *****
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