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Rodriguez is up to his old tricks of doing a dozen different jobs (cameraman, director, editor, composer, etc.) while half the people in front of the cameraman are old favourites from his other films (Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, Banderas, Salma Hayek – only briefly in flashback). A couple of the extras on the disc show you how this means he can be more in control of the whole film as he can frame shots with the post-production effects in mind. Just like on the earlier Mariachi and Spy Kids films, the ‘Ten Minute Flick School’ gives you more hard information on film making than other 45-minute documentaries. The tour of Troublemaker Studios is really a tour of Roberto’s garage, because he has had it converted to a state-of-the-art digital editing studio. Another short film has Rodriguez showing how to cook the pork dish, which features heavily in the film – maybe he is trying to make it into a cult thing or something? Anyway, the extras are all watchable, perhaps even more than once, and the examples of how shooting with digital cameras makes it easier to factor in possible CGI effects is, perhaps, the most significant observation.Read more ›
Actually, there is a plot - too much of it. The various plans and conspiracies of both good guys and bad guys intertwine until no one is quite sure what is going on. Not that anyone cares. The explosions and gun battles come along much too frequently to allow anyone to stop and think about what's going on. It also doesn't help that several of the baddies look very similar. If you love action and mayhem, this film is for you!
For some reason, I thought Once Upon A Time In Mexico would be a sort of homage to the films of Sergio Leone. But there is none of Leone's deliberate pace or careful building of tension here. Rodriguez starts at full speed and rarely lets up. That's not necessarily a criticism, but it's not Leone either.
With Rodriguez, as usual, doing just about everything behind the camera except the catering, it's left to the actors to try to make an impression in front of it. Johnny Depp, not surprisingly, is the most memorable, tossing off one-liners with effortless charm and even throwing in an Oedipus Rex take-off. Willem Dafoe makes a good villain while Mickey Rourke seems to change his character from scene to scene (what is he doing with that dog?). Banderas seems to be playing it all a bit too straight when some more tongue in cheek might have helped. The biggest sin committed by Rodriguez was to recruit Salma Hayek and then hardly use her. What a waste!Read more ›
The film is Robert Rodriguez's final chapter in the "El Mariachi" saga, completing the trilogy. Antonio Banderas returns as the lone gunman who has a passion for guitars. Unable to escape his horrific past, he gets an opportunity to get revenge against the person who has caused him so much dread. The person who offers him the job is a crooked CIA agent--a man who does not hesitate to get his hands bloody in order to get what he wants. A simple meeting between the two unleashes a complex and even sometimes downright confusing story with twists and turns around every corner. You don't know who is playing who until the very end in this exciting thrill-ride that is both exhilarating and humorous.
I really enjoyed watching "Once Upon a Time in Mexico." I've been so disappointed with some of the most recent action flunkies that have been released in the past few months. It's a highly entertaining movie that resembles a hi-tech western filled with top-notch action sequences that are absolutely exhilarating. The movie is most certainly violent and gory, so it is not recommended for the squeamish. However, I must point out that a good majority of the violent sequences are cartoonish and purposely over-the-top.Read more ›