Okay, Ill admit it, the first time I saw Once Upon a Time in Mexico I turned the movie off half-way through because it was, well, boring despite all of the bullets whizzing through the dusty, arid Mexico City air. This was strange to me since I thoroughly enjoyed the second movie in this Robert Rodriguez trilogy, Desperado. Even lovely Eva Mendes and Salma Hayek were not enough to keep interested in this very convoluted movie.
But, I decided to give the film another chance, and this time I watched it all the way through. The results were the same; I was bored and cared not a wit about any of the characters in a movie that reminded me of a bad Spaghetti Western.
To his credit Robert Rodriguez has made this film truly his; i.e. he is the writer, director, director of photography, editor, production designer, composer, co-producer, so his personal stamp is all over this meandering, highly implausible film.
And then, there is of course Johnny Depp the films antagonist, but this time, not the film's hero, not the central focus. That honor falls to Antonio Banderas, who reprises his role 1995 Desperado role, Robert Rodriguez's sequel to his 1992 low-budget wonder, El Mariachi, about a violence-prone singing guitarist south of the border. A film I hasten to add I have never seen.
In this new episode, Once Upon a Time in Mexico El Mariachi has married his beautiful Desperado honey Salma Hayek, only to watch her and their daughter be gunned down by the local Army evildoer. El Mariachi himself is left for dead, but you just know he is out for revenge, whatever the cost to the local citizenry. The death of his wife and child is presented throughout the film in flashback, which is disconcerting.
The aforementioned Johnny Depp is a corrupt DIA agent (I think) named Sands, and is joined by his equally corrupt partner Eva Mendes, whose role I was never quite sure of. Depp, acting in his usually low-keyed manner leaves a trail of (pointless) bloodshed wherever he goes in pursuit of his goal, which I was never really sure of. The same goes for Eva; she was marvelous to look at but I was never sure what she was doing there.
In the end Once Upon a Time in Mexico was a lot of gun fights, explosions, double-crosses, and bloodshed without a real purpose. The movie was so convoluted and nonsensical that it was far from entertaining. If I want to watch a movie with little plot and a lot of beautiful women, Ill pop in a porn flick thank you very much. It was as if Rodriguez forgot how to make a meaningful film, as if he phoned the film in from the South of France; even Depp could not save this pig of a movie. My recommendation: sit this one out!
Antonio Banderas - El Mariachi
Salma Hayek - Carolina
Johnny Depp - Sands
Mickey Rourke - Billy
Eva Mendes - Ajedrez
Danny Trejo - Cucuy
Enrique Iglesias - Lorenzo
Marco Leonardi - Fideo
Cheech Marin - Belini
Ruben Blades - Jorge
Willem Dafoe - Barillo
Gerardo Vigil - Marquez
Pedro Armendariz - El Presidente
Julio Oscar Mechoso - Advisor
Robert Rodriguez - Writer and Director
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age
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