There are some great extras on the DVD. Perhaps most interesting of all is the one where director Robert Rodriguez gives a 10-minute masterclass on how to achieve convincing special effects, on a budget, and on time. But the skilful use of camera angles, sewn together with the computer rendering Rodriguez trades so well in, says a lot about the style of the film.
Once Upon a Time in Mexico is judderingly fast paced. It's like a small car, hurtling round a long bend, the dashboard shaking, only just managing to hold the road. The style is so quick that it threatens to leave you behind, not caring, not getting involved. It's a technical masterpiece of sorts, but that won't get the juices flowing. But then, it's a very, very cool film, which can go a long way when it's done with such energy. Just look at Kill Bill Vol. 1.
The main reason to watch is Jonny Depp, who yet again turns in a twitchy, off-centre performance that you can't help but love. He's a CIA agent in Mexico, fomenting political intrigue one minute, killing innocent bystanders the next. Antonio Banderas is El Mariachi, the guitar-toting assassin with an impressive line in brooding regret. Quite what they are both up to is a bit of a mystery, but it involves the new President of Mexico, a planned military coup and some plastic surgery. Also, everyone wants to kill everyone else.
If the plot doesn't hang together - and it doesn't - the performance of Depp and the action set pieces more than make up for it. It is filmmaking with a sense of fun and enjoyment. This is most certainly not a Mexican standoff. More a Mexican pile-on, and it's none the worse for that.