HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
   
 
Newest Articles
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
   
 
  Once Upon a Time in Mexico Action FiguresBuy this film here.
Year: 2003
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Stars: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp, Danny Trejo, Eva Mendes, Willem Dafoe, Mickey Rourke, Enrique Iglesias, Marco Leonardi, Ruben Bladés, Pedro Armendáriz Jr, Cheech Marin, Gerardo Vigil, Julio Oscar Mechoso
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating:  5 (from 5 votes)
Review: There is a legend in Mexico of a gunfighter known as El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas): they say he wiped out a whole town, that he has a shotgun guitar, and he is assisted by the love of his life, Carolina (Salma Hayek). Yet others will tell you he was left a broken man when the soldiers of General Marquez (Gerardo Vigil) ambushed him, and shot and killed his wife and daughter, leaving El Mariachi for dead. C.I.A. agent Sands (Johnny Depp) is trying to track this shadowy figure down, because he wants Marquez dead as well, only for slightly different reasons - reasons of power.

Written, shot, scored, edited and directed by that cinematic jack of all trades Robert Rodriguez, Once Upon a Time in Mexico was the third in his loosely connected series of Mariachi films, not so much a sequel as a continutation of that line of thought instigated by his debut. Banderas and a solely-in-flashback Hayek return from Desperado amongst a cast of cult actors, all looking suitably overheated in the blazing Mexican sunshine. As the title suggests, this instalment has the tone of a Spaghetti Western in modern dress, with Banderas doing most of the posing with firearms.

However, it's not the brooding Banderas who steals the picture, that honour goes to Depp, who lends his Machiavellian agent Sands a quirky personality all his own. Maybe because Sands is the one who not only looks as if he knows what is going on, but also takes the trouble to explain it for our benefit, that we warm to him as he dons various unconvincing disguises, uses a false, third arm or a T-shirt emblazoned with the legend "C.I.A." (not bothered about staying undercover, then?), and fires off dialogue like "Are you a Mexican or a Mexican't?".

That plot is labyrinthine to say the least, and it takes a lot of concentration to follow just who is out to get whom and why. Basically, Sands wants General Marquez dead, but only after the military have staged a coup d'etat; with the current president (Pedro Armendáriz Jr) out of the way, Sands' shady allies can take over, and the agent can walk away with the money that belongs to big shot gangster Barillo (Willem Dafoe). And that's not the half of it, as El Mariachi has to assemble a team to assassinate Marquez, Sands has a girlfriend (Eva Mendes) involved with the plan, and Barillo's chief henchman (Mickey Rourke) adds more intrigue to a film already overstuffed with twists and untrustworthy characters.

Life may be cheap here, and judging by the action here hardly anyone in Mexico dies of old age, but that's not to say death has no weight. Countless minions are gunned down or blown up, but that's part of the culture the film depicts, brought home by the main character's loss and a climax set against the Day of the Dead that sees a number of the cast meeting a violent end. What the overriding theme of Once Upon a Time in Mexico is, though, is "If it looks cool, put it onscreen"; bullets fly, bodies are propelled around, our haunted hero escapes certain annihilation, and it's all greatly stylish. Unfortunately, that can't take away from the anticlimactic denouement, where the threads of the story are simply cut short with gunplay. Good looking, sure, but it falls a little flat.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 5059 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Robert Rodriguez  (1968 - )

Hip, hard-working American film maker, a former cartoonist, who directs, produces, writes and edits most of his movies. El Mariachi worked wonders on a tiny budget, and since then he's made Desperado, the only good segment of Four Rooms, gangster/vampire horror From Dusk Till Dawn, teen sci-fi The Faculty, kiddie adventure quartet Spy Kids, Spy Kids 2, Spy Kids 3-D and Spy Kids 4-D, semi-sequel Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Frank Miller adaptation Sin City (which gained a sequel nine years later). He next teamed up with Quentin Tarantino for double feature Grindhouse, and although it flopped it did spur him to beef up the fake trailer Machete, featuring the Danny Trejo character from the Spy Kids movies, a sequel Machete Kills following soon after. James Cameron gave him Alita: Battle Angel to play with, but the results muffled his flair.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: