Once Upon a Time in Mexico -
Rating: 7.5/10
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp

Directed by: Robert Rodriguez

Written by: Robert Rodriguez

Length: 102 minutes

Rated: R for strong violence and for language

Enrique Iglesias, Antonio Banderas, and Marco Leonardi with their loaded guitar cases

Hitman "El Mariachi" becomes involved in international espionage involving a psychotic CIA agent and a corrupt Mexican general.

I was extremely pleased to learn that Robert Rodriguez hadn’t completely crossed over to family film-making and was returning to his much-loved genre of violent, flashy, comedic, bizzare pulp-action. Something akin to Quentin Tarantino’s films, yet less prone to wax grotesque, Rodriguez’s films were more cult favorites, mostly never getting ‘commercial success’. Rodriguez returned to action to complete his Mariachi trilogy. To do this he brought back a dark and brooding Antonio Banderas and sultry Salma Hayek. This time he included Johnny Depp playing a dirty CIA agent as only Depp can, including cheesy T-Shirts and poor disguises. The film also included parts for Mickey Rourke, Eva Mendes, Rodriguez regular Danny Trejo, Enrique Iglesias, Cheech Marin, and Willem Dafoe.

The continuity of the plot left a little to be desired. The film tried to go in too many directions at once, but in this film that hardly seems to matter. As in his other films, Rodriguez uses wacky characters, gratuitous violence, and plenty of explosions coming from gadgets that would make Q envious. Rodriguez directs (and writes and produces and scores and edits) this film with an obvious enjoyment. As the title suggests this film harks back to Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns, but in a pop film making kind of way.

Okay, I’ll admit it, this movie isn’t for everyone. But fans of Rodriguez’s earlier films will appreciate this appropriate conclusion to the Mariachi trilogy.


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