Desperado Movie Review
In Desperado, Antonio Banderas takes the role of the mariachi with no name who leads a charmed life while everything around him dies. This sequel is the story of his quest for revenge against the men who killed the woman he loved and shot him in the hand. El Mariachi travels from town to town with a guitar case full of ultra-powerful weapons, in search for tough guy Bucho, leader of the thugs. As he closes in, things get bloodier and bloodier until the final showdown where everything is revealed. Along the way, he encounters Carolina (Salma Hayek), his newfound love interest, who saves his life more than once through some impromptu surgeries.
Banderas is simply incredible in his role as the man of few words and many bullets. Steve Buscemi, Cheech Marin, and Tarantino all have solid supporting parts, mainly for much-needed comic relief, and Hayek is passable in her role, although her romance with Banderas seems a little forced. (I suspect meddling from the studio gave birth to the steamier scenes).
While the black comedy of Desperado is good, Rodriguez is still a better director/editor than writer, and the wickedly cool gunplay sequences are clearly the prime reason to see the film. Although not for the faint of heart, the seriously gory fights that El Mariachi gets into are spectacularly arranged and innovatively photographed, and they bring new life to the action movie genre. Unfortunately for other action filmmakers, Rodriguez has raised the stakes and is clearly now "the one to beat." He even manages to work in an anti-drug message for the kids in the audience.
Desperado is faithful to the backstory of El Mariachi, and even Carlos Gallardo, the original man in black, returns as Banderas's right hand man. The only thing missing is the best "character" from the original: the dog, who rode off into the sunset with Gallardo at the end of El Mariachi. I guess you can't have everything.
For raw entertainment value, Desperado is one of the best bets to come along in months. Be warned, though: there's enough blood here to fill a swimming pool. And on the big screen, you'll feel like you're swimming in it.