on July 6, 2002
OK, may be the plot isn't relative and the weaponry a little more state-of-the-art, but the choreography.....better!
This violent, shoot-um-up-to-the-max was definitely 'death dancing to it's own rhythm'.
I viewed the Superbit DVD, but never having watched either of the previous two DVDs nor the video, I can't make any comparison. I can say the DTS was awesome. The picture quality was excellent. It doesn't get any better than this, especially since the tiny shrinking cinemaplex theaters have made my surround-sound and 32" TV the theater of choice.
Sex and guns and music from Los Lobos interwoven with campy humor, Antonio being...well Antonio (ladies, need I say more), with great support from the likes of Steve Buscemi (in one of his best roles I think), Cheech Marin, and the sultry Salma Hayek; what more could you want in an action movie. I found this film far superior to and much more enjoyable than 'Dawn To Dusk'.
Now that 'Desperado II - Once Upon A Time in Mexico'is in the works for a 2003 release with the return of Antonio and Salma and the addition of Johnny Depp and Enrique Iglesias, once again under the direction of Robert Rodriguez, we can look foward to finding out just where the loving couple rode off to into the sunset.
Seems I repeatedly say these two things:
I am not your run-of-the mill young western fan - wrong gender, wrong age, but I enjoyed it anyway;
and also reminding those who picked-at the flaws, degraded and jeered at the plot (?), questioned the reality, and just plain didn't get the campiness, to just let yourself go!
Don't take yourself and the movies so seriously. Enjoy the humor. Enjoy Antonio or Salma, whichever one sets your pulse-to-racing. Heck, just enjoy the movie!
on March 11, 2004
The Mariachi saga, created by film director Robert Rodriguez, gets more star power, a bigger budget, and is even crazier than the first installment was. Such is Desperado. Actor Carlos Gallardo, who played the anti-hero in the first film, is replaced by Antonio Banderas. Despite the casting change, his adventures contiue as he treks across west, playing his guitar and righting wrongs.
The no-named Mariachi (Banderas) tracks down the last Mexican drug-lord "Bucho" (Joaquim de Almeida) with the help of his best friend, and book store owner Carolina (Salma Hayek). The Mariachi takes on his entire army of henchmen in a dusty border town as an act of revenge for the murder of his love and his injured musician's hand. Also starring Cheech Marin as Short Bartender, Steve Buscemi, and even includes a "fine performance" from the great actor (Just Kidding Really) Quentin Tarantino.
Desperado is a cross between the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone and the action styles of say John Woo or even Tarantino himself. These characters are put in place, acting as tongue in cheek--wink wink--nods to their genre counterparts. It is clear that the film that Rodriguez has made is all in fun. The action and gunplay is well choreagraphed and exciting to watch. Banderas takes over the role and owns it. Hayek sizzles opposite Banderas and they are great together here As usual though, Buscemi, almost steals the show with his unique style of delivery.
The Special Edition DVD version of Desperado boasts another great audio commentary from Rodriguez. The track is lively and informative--but in a relaxed way. The featurette "10 More Minutes with Robert Rodriguez: Anatomy of a Shootout" takes a fun look at how these sequences in the movie get put together. The Exclusive First Look at "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" is fine as a pre release commercial--that's what it is--but since the film is also out now, strictly as a fan, I could have done without that extra (this feature is also on the El Mariachi disc). The theatrical trailer rounds out the bonus material on the DVD.
Desperado will both blow you away and delight you if you like this sort of film. Have fun with it.
on March 4, 2004
Without a doubt, Desperado is the coolest movie there is. It has everything: style, substance, great characters, amazing soundtrack, and not a single boring part in the movie. There are no sissy "dramatic" moments where there's a long period of silence, there are no confusing back-stories, there are no moments of great character development. No. This is a flat out, pure action-fest.
I'm sure you know the story by now, but if not: the movie revolves around the main character- El Mariachi. He's out for revenge against the men who killed his love from the first film. Once he arrives in town, it's non-stop action from there. Not a single scene drags on. More or less, it's a fun action film about people getting shot up, but it's not done over-the-top like some films released that year were. Robert Rodriguez is an incredible guy for getting this movie done in such little time, wich a sickeningly small crew. All the characters are well done and memorable. From Cheech Marin as the bartender, to the thug aptly named "Shrug" (since he gives at least two shrugs in each scene he's in).
And my god, you're never going to look at guitar cases the same way.
The sound quality is excellent here, though I'm sure it's better on the Super Bit version. The visual quality was (on a scale of one to ten) probably an 8 or so. You can see some grain and "jaggies" in some scenes, but if you're looking for that, then you're watching the movie the wrong way. If you want a movie to show off your 53207" flat screen HD tv and 5.1 DTS whatever they're called sound system(s), then get the Super Bit version. Desperado's full of explosions and gun shots.
The special features could've been better, but what we get are pretty nice. The commentary is by Robert (no other cast/crew members) and he really gives a good insight as to how the movie was made and how he used the same two guys for all the stunts: Hank and Troy. That helped him save money big time. He then goes on to say that if anyone didn't have more than 2 jobs in the entire movie, they really didn't need them. I thought that was funny since it's pretty much true. Watch the ending credits and you'll see for yourself- there aren't that many people. A fun fact that he mentions was that the machine gun and rocket launcher guitar cases were real, and fully functional. I found that hilarious. And he's not full of himself either about how the movie was made for seven million dollars either. Robert's a genuine cool guy, and a lot of directors could learn a lot for him. He doesn't talk much about what goes on the movie- the commentary's mostly a lesson in film making, but I still found it cool.
Robert does mention quite a few scenes that were cut and deleted, but none of them show up for some reason. One involved El using the crotch gun (seen in From Dusk Till Dawn) during the first bar shoot out. It would've been nice to see some of them, even if they would've made the movie drag on in places. We also get a feature on the 10 minute bar shoot out which is pretty cool. It shows how they went through the scene without many story boards, and got it done without any real trouble. Then there's the Once Upon A Time In Mexico sneak peek, which isn't anything special since that movie's out now. The actor bios are your standard dvd feature, but pretty up-to-date.
Overall, I give the movie a perfect 5 stars, but the dvd 4.25. Let's hope that a big box set of all three films gets made soon, with everything that we didn't get here. Buy Desperado for a fun experience, you'll be wanting more. Just don't expect Once Upon A Time In Mexico to be anywhere near as good as this one. Thanks Robert, you kick Ewok-ass.
on March 1, 2004
After a couple of average DVD releases, "Desperado" finally gets the SPECIAL EDITION treatmant. The second and most popular in Robert Rodriguez's "Maricahi" trilogy takes a far different approach from its independent predacessor. As Robert explains on the audio commentary, his goal was always to make a low-budget movie that looked like a "big summer blockbuster" and few can deny that he acheived that goal.
"Desperado" has Antonio Banderas taking over the Carlos Gallardo role as the mysterious loner with the guitar case full of guns. He is looking to avenge the death of the women he loves at the hands of a Mexican drug cartel. Along for the ride is an ensemble cast which includes Steve Buscemi, Cheech Marin, Quentin Tarantino, and Danny Trejo. All of these actors pale in comparison to sexy young newcomer Salma Hayek who steals the movie in her major film debut as a librarian who eventually becomes Antonio's love interest.
"Desperado" is one of the finest action films to be released in awhile. Only John Woo's "Face/Off" comes to mind when thinking of films released since that have been able to successfully mix stylish action sequences with great dramatic moments. The soundtrack, organized by Robert himself, and consisting a number of Tito & Tarantula tracks, really adds to the atmosphere of the film. Rodriguez has a lot of fun with a story that is esentially a Western genre film and pumps it full of amazing action scenes, hip dialouge, stunning actors, and a soundtrack that compliments it so well.
This is by far the best version to drop on DVD yet though it could have stood to include a little bit more behind-the-scenes footage. The director's commentary by Rodriguez is inciteful and the featurette chronicling the "video storyboarding" of the bar shoot-out is impressive but it would have been nice to hear some of the cast look back at the filming of this movie and perhaps, the inclusion of some deleted scenes would have put it over the top. All in all, you really can't complain. It is a quality DVD presentation of an excellent action film.
on February 23, 2004
Desperado is a great action movie with an excellent cast that will not disappoint. El Mariachi is a mysterious figure who travels from town to town cleaning the scum off of the streets with his guitar case full of guns. His sidekick walks into a bar telling huge overblown, stories about him before El Mariachi enters the town. When he does there are explosive results. The whole movie is one action scene after another, but that is what makes it so great. Rodriguez truly knows how to put together a shootout. The cast is great, excellent action sequences, plenty of tongue in cheek humor, and so much more. If you like action movies, check out this great modern day western.
Antonio Banderas is perfectly cast as the mysterious stranger, El Mariachi. He does not have to say much, but he is perfect in the role. Joaquim de Almeida is also very good as Bucho, the man who is being tracked down by El Mariachi. There is a very good plot twist with Bucho late in the movie. And I cannot forget the gorgeous Salma Hayek, who is great as the bookkeeper who helps El Mariachi when he stumbles into her store. The movie also stars Cheech Marin, Steve Buscemi, Quentin Tarantino in a very funny part, and Danny Trejo. The Special Edition DVD offers widescreen presentation, commentary by director Rodriguez, theatrical trailers, an exclusive first look at Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and 10 minute film school with Rodriguez. For a great action movie that never slows down from beginning to end, check out Desperado.
on February 3, 2004
Three years after Robert Rodriguez came along and showed the world how a mere $7,000 and a lot of creativity could make a successful film called El Mariachi, he made Desperado. This 1995 film has a bigger budget and more star quality, but the imprint of this director is certainly there. There's lots of violence - with guns, knives and explosives. And, like El Mariachi, the characterizations are secondary to the constant action. It's all very silly, and a little too long at 106 minutes, but I frankly couldn't take my eyes off the screen.
The film stars Antonio Bandaras as the good guy and Salma Hayek as his romantic interest. There's a cameo performance by Quentin Tarantino and Steve Buscemi has one of the best scenes in the film as he sets up the story at the beginning by his tall tale in a bar.
This is not a film to be taken seriously. It's targeted to teenage boys and the video game crowd.
So why am I watching this flick and enjoying myself so much? I guess it's cause I'm just a film buff and am fascinated by the techniques and constant action. And best of all I loved the extra feature, which shows how one of the scenes was filmed. It's not for everyone, of course. But I liked it.
on February 3, 2004
With a bigger film budget and a well-known cast, Robert Rodriguez's "Desperado" continues the tale of the Mariachi who was forced into a life of violence. The film is action-packed, suspenseful and quite humorous. Some of the action sequences are over-the-top, but then again that is most likely the point. The end result is a very entertaining action flick that resembles a modern day Western.
The film is pretty much a sequel to "El Mariachi," only this time with well-known stars. The nameless Mariachi is still coping with the death of his girlfriend and is making due with his injured hand, but he has dedicated his life to wiping out big-time drug dealers. His mission is against a certain known drug dealer that runs the town with an iron fist. Knowing that his life is filled with hatred and vengeful wishes, the Mariachi totes a guitar case of ammo and fire power and won't think twice of using them when he's in a tight spot. It's only a matter of time before he gets to show the drug dealer his "bag of tricks" personally.
This was a very highly entertaining movie to watch. While it may not be a better film than "El Mariachi," it proves to be a very stylized action trip with more tricks to it then ever before. Rodriguez is able to use a higher budget and has a chance to do more with his film in a visual and action sense. Even with the special effects and outstanding shootouts, Rodriguez is still able to tell a successful story. Antonio Banderas is great as the "Mariachi" and gives his role a certain type of coldness to it--but is still able to add a lovable and sensitive quality to character. It was great to see stars like Steve Buschemi, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, and Quentin Tarantino fill the screen with their unique talents. In fact, it was during the shooting of this very film that Tarantino told Rodriguez that he had to make another movie since he considered it a Western Trilogy. This would later on become "Once Upon a Time in Mexico."
The DVD has some cool extra features to offer. First, the picture looks great and the sound quality is more than decent. Extras included are an "Anatomy of a Shootout" featurette, a sneak peak at "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," trailers, commentary from the director and more. The "Anatomy of a Shootout" featurette was extremely interesting to watch as Rodriguez lays down the thought process to most of the stunning action sequences in the film. A pretty nice DVD package altogether, if you ask me.
"Desperado" is a more-than-entertaining action movie with an interesting premise and some fantastic characters. It's definitely a lot better than a good majority of the action flops that are out and about today. If you're interested in seeing the continuation of the Mariachi's quest, then this is the pick for you. This is a very amusing movie that delivers, and then some. -Michael Crane
on January 6, 2004
Ah the delectably curvy, sensuously capable Salma Hayek holds her own if not outright steals the show. This and Fools Rush In are my favorites of hers. She and Antonio definitely have a great chemistry onscreen in this Mexican shoot-out noir. Antonio, previously a mariachi, is on a revenge kick to kill the drug lords responsible for the death of his beloved and the loss of his guitar playing hand. The action sequences are marvelous and hold up well to the matrix style enhanced effects that came about later in the 90's. Salma plays a strong willed and capable Latina book store owner, who crosses paths with the Mariachi, with a quiet fortitude. She falls a bit too quickly for the hero as all hell breaks loose with the final showdown between Antonio, his two buddies [wielding guitar cases that launch rockets and double as machine guns], and the final drug lord. A dark and not so subtle humour pervades, especially with Cheech and Tarantino. Overall an effective, amusing, enjoyable action flick with a bunch of great ensemble cast. Recommended.
on January 6, 2004
While the original El Mariachi marks one of the greatest cinematic achievements ever, this "sequel" is certainly one of the greatest turkeys ever created. The "action scenes" are so contrived as to be laughable; I wouldn't have taken them seriously any time after finishing the third grade. Cheech Marin continues his embarrassing career as silly Hispanic sidekick-filler in the notorious tradition of African-American actors placed in demeaning roles in early Hollywood films. Antonio Banderas looks old, fat, and tired. The only reason to watch this film might be the nude shots of Salma Hayek, but even that is not worth sitting thru this utter trash; do yourself a favor and just rent a real blue-movie if you looking for a little skin.
Robert Rodriguez could only redeem himself after this utter disgrace to his heritage by creating a 3.5 hour epic on the Conquest of Mexico in Spanish and Nahuatl. Otherwise he should be completely shunned as an outcast. This film was worse than an utter waste of time. Anyone who has graduated from primary school should consider this film an insult to their intelligence.
My only regret is that "zero stars" is not an option.
on December 1, 2003
A sequel/remake of the indie classic El Mariachi, Robert Rodriguez remade his indie classic with a much bigger Hollywood budget, and a bankable then rising star in Antonio Banderas. Banderas plays the Mariachi; a revenge driven guitarist carrying a guitar case loaded with guns and weapons. On his mission to find the man behind the death of his lover, he runs across a beautiful book keeper (Salma Hayek in the role that got her well known) and plenty of action that results in quite a balet of blood, bullets, and explosions. The action scenes are over the top and they manage to reach the point of absurdity at some points, but for some reason it all manages to click, and Desperado ends up being one of the best action films of the 90's, and it made Banderas and Hayek stars and further more announced Rodriguez's directorial talent to the world. The film includes a great cast which includes Steve Buscemi, along with Rodriguez regular Danny Trejo and Cheech Marin, and a humerous extended cameo from Quentin Tarantino.