Once Upon a Time in Mexico

  • 2 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
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The title may invoke Leone, but this brash, flamboyant third instalment of Rodriguez's Mariachi cycle was plainly also influenced by Mad Max, Jackie Chan and Sam Peckinpah. El Mariachi (Banderas) is prised out of mourning retirement by crooked CIA agent Depp to foil an assassination plot against the Mexican president, only to become a pawn in drug baron Dafoe's bigger scheme. Motifs and plot points are hardly explained and certain characters are so sketchily drawn it's hard to work out why they're there. The one point of calm in the ever-increasing din is Banderas, a tousled, beatific presence, given to striking dreamy poses with his guitar. This is a self-indulgent mess, but in its own harum-scarum way, it's also kind of fun - zestful, eccentrically cast and peppered with striking set pieces. Rodriguez wrote, co-produced, scored, shot and edited the film, as well as directing it - in two months, on digital video. In other words, despite having a studio behind him, he's behaving as if he was still the same no-budget auteur who made El Mariachi for $7,000. Lighten the workload, Robert, and learn to collaborate.

By: GM

Release details

Duration: 102 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Robert Rodriguez
Screenwriter: Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Antonio Banderas
Salma Hayek
Johnny Depp
Mickey Rourke
Eva Mendes
Danny Trejo
Enrique Iglesias
Marco Leonardi
Cheech Marin
Rubén Blades
Willem Dafoe
Gerardo Vigil
Pedro Armendáriz

Average User Rating

1.3 / 5

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Leona Luk

Sigh. What could have been so good really just...wasn't. The plot is all over the place, and in some films this could potentially be forgiven if the action provided is awe inspiring - however this isn't the case here. Oh there are some interesting stunts and explosions, however nothing so amazing that it caused me to forget the fact that I don't really know who these people are or why they're doing all of this stuff. And did I mention Enrique Iglesias (pre-mole removal) is in it? His performance is pretty much as I expected it would be, although looking at everything around him in this one, perhaps that is not really his fault. Clocking in at 1 hour and 42 minutes, it frankly felt a lot longer than that.