Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Film
  • 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