It's Sergio Leone meets Sam Peckinpah meets Quentin Tarantino in this ultraviolent, mythological shoot-'em-up by auteur Robert Rodriguez. In Desperado, Rodriguez creates larger-than-life, genre-tweaking stock characters an... more »d puts them through their paces. As they stride bravely through an Old West lightly dusted with camp humor, they're periodically called upon to nimbly dodge bullets and fireballs through outrageously choreographed displays of Hollywood pyrotechnics. In this bigger-budget semi-remake/semi-sequel to Rodriguez's indie sensation, El Mariachi (made, famously, for $7,000), Antonio Banderas is the darkly charismatic El Mariachi, the Mysterious Stranger in town; Steve Buscemi is perfectly cast as his weasely, motor-mouth Comic Sidekick, laying the groundwork for El Mariachi's entrance by spinning saloon stories to build up his legend; Cheech Marin is a standout as the Bartender, who really knows how to handle a toothpick; and gorgeous Salma Hayek is, well, the Girl--treated to the kind of full-blown, slow-mo introduction the movies traditionally lavish on beautiful new stars. It doesn't add up to much, but it's a kick. Be careful not to blow out your speakers with the DVD's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. --Jim Emerson« less
"This week I had an opportunity to take a look at the new Superbit DVDs from Columbia Tristar. Of all the Superbit DVDs we looked at the one which clearly delivered on the Superbit promise is Desperado Superbit with a version clearly superior to the initial release. From the first scene in the movie on, the picture is remarkably improved over the original version. To give you an example of how big the difference is, when Steve Buscemi's character walks into the bar, it looks like it is lit in a murky brown light, whereas in the Superbit version the bar is clearly and evenly lit by a dark red light. I was like, "Oh, so that's what it's supposed to look like!" I found myself comparing a good number of scenes in Desperado, and clearly across the board the Desperado Superbit looked better. The key scene I selected compare between the two versions in Desperado was the one where Carolina (played by Selma Hayek) sings a song on the bed of El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas). Some of the notable differences I could see: * Skin tone! Wow! In the Superbit version there's a dramatic difference in skin tone, it looks a lot richer and is a much truer color.
* As the camera pans over to Selma's face you can see much more detail in her face and on her skin.
* The colors of El Mariachi's guns are much different and they glimmer in the Superbit version. In the original version they are a dull metallic color. The DTS audio track is as dramatic a difference as the picture. Most noticeably is when El Mariachi jumps backward from the top of the building firing his pistols. In the DTS audio track you hear a thud as he lands, something I didn't hear in either the old or new Dolby Digital tracks. Of all the Superbit Titles, Desperado is the easiest to recommend as a 'replacement' DVD for someone who already owns the original version. The improvements in the Superbit version are significant enough to warrant a purchase and you don't give up anything going to Superbit, as the original release didn't have any special features. However, there was also a double feature release (yep, Superbit makes release #3), which had Desperado on one side and El Mariachi on the other, so that's a pretty huge special feature to give up (and the only way to own El Mariachi on DVD). [Geoffrey Kleinman, DVDTalk.com]"
Rodriguez scores again...
Matthew Perri | San Jose, CA | 03/16/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rodriguez made a small film called "El Mariachi" that was beautifully realized and made for under $7,000 dollars and now he gives us the "now-that-I-have-enough-money" version.And it's beautifully realized. Somewhere between John Woo and Sergio Leone with a little Coppola and Tarantion thrown in for luck, this movie is a miracle of story-telling and style.This time, the Mariachi-Man(with a small arsenal in his suitcase) is played by Antonio Banderas(THE MASK OF ZORRO). Every scene that he's in is filled with violence and dangerous sexuality that makes him one of the most sought-after male leads in Hollywood. In the opening, Steve Buscemi(CON-AIR, FARGO, THE BIG LEBOWSKI) tells the story of a mysterious shadowy stranger who goes from bar to bar, looking for the man who destroyed his life. In the process, he shoots up everybody, including the bartender, much to the unease of 'tender, Cheech Marin(T.V.'s NASH BRIDGES, TIN CUP).You see he's part of the front for Bucho, played by Joaquin Del Alameida (ONLY YOU, CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER), the man who killed Mariachi's woman. And Alameida is wonderfully cast as the baddie, being shadowy and sexy at the same time with a gruff voice and commanding eyes that you can read like a book.And so, the story rages on, and so does the mythology. Mariachi goes from place to place, trying to avoid being shot at in action scenes that look borrowed from the Universal Studios Western Stunt Show. In the process, Banderas meets Carolina, played by the beautiful Salma Hayek(54, THE FACULTY, FOOLS RUSH IN). She's eye candy, but instead of just looking pretty like most models in film(see CINDY CRAWFORD in FAIR GAME), she actually ACTS. Her character is complex, in that she is part of the Bucho's Front, so she understands the violence and the drugs. That's how she is able to fall in love with Banderas in the first place.And there's many contradictions that hide in this film(the Mariachi has one spur, not two; the movie is in the present, but there's a lack of any technology; the love scene with Banderas and Hayek is beautiful, whereas the cut to his enemy having sex is slutty and whore-ish, you are able to make out the contrast between good and evil) and in these scenes, Rodriguez handles things beautifully.Again, the love scene with Banderas and Hayek is a gorgeous standout. There are, what seems like a hundred lit candles in the room and the beautiful "Bella" by Santana is played in the background. It's filmed slowly, passionately, and so romantically that you're almost hypnotized by it. It's the best love scene since the Snipe' neck-bite in BLADE.There are many surprises in this film that are worth mentioning, but I won't go into them. See this film for yourself, then rent "From Dusk Till Dawn" and you'll have yourself a great American-Mexican Western-Fest in your own living room.--Matt"
The Mariachi's back in black, on purpose
M. Miller | TN | 09/05/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Desperado was the necessary addition to Roberto Rodriguez's original film, The Mariachi. Although the director is the same, there is definitely a revamp in the film. For example, Antonio Banderas replaced the original actor of The Mariachi to play the character in Desperado. This gives you a sense of what one can do with more money and a bit more time.
However, I have not given you a sense of the story. The story is set a few years after The Mariachi ended, with Steve Buscemi's character telling tales of this gun slinging Mariachi. Apparently, Antonio Bandera's character, the Mariachi, has put up his guitar for his new lifestyle of revenge killings. With his final revenge nearing, Banderas has many difficulties as his progress is halted many times. Only when another lady comes into his life, played by Salma Hayek, does Bandera get back on his mission.
This movie was good, and entertaining. I do not feel that the acting was necessarily exemplary, although I did like Buscemi playing the role that he did, because it just seemed to fit him so well. The gun battles were neat, and the cinematography over all was nice. What really made this movie for me was the connection with The Mariachi, because it was not unlike, for good reason, Tarantino's style of tie-ins to previous movies. This movie would get a 3.5 for its revitalization of the modern Western, with a distinctly Southwest/Mexican feel. However, I can only give it a three or four, and I round down, so three it is. "
"We heard stories about a guitar case full of guns"
Jason | LA | 03/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you love shootouts and revenge, you'll love this movie, it is about a mariachi (Banderas) carrying a guitar case full of guns looking for revenge against a man named Bucho (De Almeida) who had one of his guys kill the mariachis wife. There is a great cast with Salma Hayek, Steve Buscemi, Cheech Marin and Quentin Tarantino. This movie is great, I like the beginning where Buscemi is exaggerating about El Mariachi about the shootout he witnessed in Zaragosa. I also like when Tarantino tells his joke to the bartender. This movie is worth watching even if your not mexican. It takes place in Santa Cecilia, Mexico. It is like a south of the border Pulp Fiction."
"El Mariachi" with a budget
Matthew Schneider | Wisconsin | 06/06/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As far as revenge flicks go, this one plays by all the rules....and still delivers the goods. The main draw of this film is (and ought to be) the promise of some amazing action scenes. With Robert Rodriguez directing, you know you'll get what you paid for. Revenge flicks also need an angry lone hero out to get anybody for a past wrong. And here we have Antonio Banderas in (what I consider to be) his breakout role. His is really the only character that has the amount of depth usually reserved for more weighty films. But then again, we're talking about a Robert Rodriguez movie. And Banderas is a damn fine actor. He is perfectly cast as the nameless "Mariachi." Salma Hayek is lookin' good as the love interest, but aside from being Salma Hayek (something no man can quibble over), she isn't given much to work with. Still, there is a hilarious throwaway role filled past the brim by the inestimable Steve Buscemi; Cheech Marin appears as "the Bartender." Quentin Tarantino even pops up to tell an obscene joke (can you imagine?). The one debit this film has going against it, besides the one-dimensional -- though highly entertaining -- characters, is the fact that the huge climactic gunfight at the ranch never is shown! (If you've seen the film, you know what I'm talking about.) I suppose I should summarize.... "Desperado" rocks. Plain and simple, if you're looking for an above-average action thriller with lots of goofy humor, this is the way to do it. And if you're really ambitious, I highly recommend seeing "Desperado" and "El Mariachi," Rodriguez's original feature debut, in one sitting and comparing the two films. "El Mariachi" is much better, but since it was filmed on a shoestring budget, it doesn't feature some of the more mind-blowing fight sequences you can find in "Desperado." It's up to you to decide which is better, but for sure, "Desperado" is one of my top picks for a guilty pleasure. 4 of 5 stars."