This is South of the Border week. We will be featuring movies taking place in Mexico. Desperado is currently available on instant Netflix.
WATCH: Desperado (1995) – Rated R for strong bloody violence, a strong sex sequence and language.
“This south-of-the-border action flick picks up where the indie hit El Mariachi left off. Seedy drug lord Bucho (Joaquim de Almeida) is responsible for killing the girlfriend of El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas) and for injuring the musician to a point where he can no longer play the guitar. Seeking revenge, he goes in search of Bucho, and a showdown ensues between the rivals — but not before El Mariachi meets the lovely Carolina (Salma Hayek).”
“Bless me Father, for I have just killed quite a few men.”
Robert Rodriguez again writes, directs, produces, and edits for Desperado. Taking on so many tasks allows him to make films for a lot less.
Here he had $7 million to work with. This allowed him to work with a number of name actors and use a lot more real guns than in El Mariachi (which used squirt guns for many of the scenes).
Desperado is nominally a sequel to El Mariachi though it rehashes much of the plot and themes from the original (a la Evil Dead II).
The second bar fight is absolutely hilarious and is obviously very heavily inspired by John Woo. It is a very elaborate setpiece with a wonderful standoff. Rodriguez keeps his action frantic without being confusing (something that has become all too common these days).
Antonio Banderas is very charismatic as the Mariachi. This is the best role I have seen him in. He even does all of his own guitar work including “Cancion Del Mariachi” at the beginning of the film.
Salma Hayek is gorgeous and fun as Carolina. There is a hilarious scene where she crosses the street and two cars behind her crash because they are watching her. I like it because she holds her own and is not just the love interest.
Robert Rodriguez stated that when they filmed the sex montage sequence between Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas, everyone on the crew showed up.
Joaquim de Almeida plays our villain Bucho. This is essentially the same role Moco (Peter Marquardt) played in the original. Bucho is a boss much like Moco and dresses all in white just like Moco. Joaquim replaced Raul Julia, who had to drop out due to health reasons.
The supporting cast is absolutely marvelous.
Cheech Marin and Quentin Tarantino have a lot of fun with their humorous roles.
Steve Buscemi plays the conscience of the Mariachi. The role is so tailored to him that the character is actually called Buscemi. Originally he was to have been the pick-up guy but a new role was written for him when Tarantino decided to cameo.
Danny Trejo plays a knife-wielding assassin, Navajas. This is a very similar character to Azul in El Mariachi. Danny is finally going to headline a movie. Robert Rodriguez has made a feature-length movie out of his fake Grindhouse trailer, Machete and it is currently in post-production.
Carlos Gallardo returns from El Mariachi. This time he plays Campa, a friend to El Mariachi.
I highly recommend this quintessential action movie unless gore bothers you. If you enjoy this and El Mariachi then stick the final film in the trilogy, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, in your DVD queue.
People Watch: Actually not so much a “people” watch as a prop watch. The crotch gun that Carolina finds in the guitar case is sadly never used here. It is however used the following year in From Dusk Til Dawn (by Tom Savini no less).