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Overall Rating

Worth A Look37.14%
Average: 15.71%
Pretty Bad: 5.71%
Total Crap: 4.29%

3 reviews, 52 user ratings

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by Chris Parry

"Did they seriously think they'd improve it? Or was it all greed?"
3 stars

Can you imagine remaking Clerks with a big budget? would it be better or would it lose something with good lighting, a large crew, celebrity cameos and a big ass camera with a qualified operator?

Some films are fun to watch because they amaze you at how much was acheived for so little. Clerks, Six String Samurai, Chasing Amy, Love And Other Catastrophes, Cube and El Mariachi for example. But of all those movies, big box office or no, nobody would attempt to remake any of them. They just wouldn't do the original justice.

Well, all bar one. Robert Rodriguez, for some reason, decided to allow his $3700 debut feature, El Mariachi, to be remade with a bigger budget. Perhaps it escaped him that the primary reason Mariachi was so acclaimed was because it had no budget to speak of. Perhaps it was just the cash factor.

Whatever the reasoning behind it, Desperado was a flawed concept from the start. Rodriguez not directing it himself was a bad way to start. Allowing Quentin Tarantino to yammer his way through the opening scenes was an embarrassing follow up.

Fortunately, all that stinks is not shit. Desperado is not an awful film in itself. It's just an awful shame to denigrate the original in such fashion.

The story goes - a mariachi musician is travelling looking for work. He's fuck out of luck when he is mistaken for an assassin with a Mariachi case full of guns and finds himself on the run from local heavies. The local drug lord wants our boy dead, and also wants our boy's new gal as his own. Much gunplay ensues, much heroics via Banderas follows, much action and Mexican music fills it all in. It's no story of genius, it's just a decent action spray.

Antonio Banderas does play a cool Mexican hero. He has the look, he has the authority, he has the accent and he doesn't sing (well, he mimes and someone else sings, but it's not like in Evita where you're forced to listen to him sing like he has a mouth full of mashed potatoes).

The rest of the cast is a mixed bag. Salma Hayek as Banderas' love interest is amply present to fill the role provided. Steve Buscemi is just kind of there and sticks out like a sore thumb, Tarantino is posing and primping for his fifteen minutes of monthly fame, also sticking out like he's waving a "look at me" flag, however Cheech Marin (who is present any time Hollywood goes to Mexico) is fine and dandy as the ratty barman.

But it's really all about Banderas kicking freckle and fighting to clear his name.

Sadly, as always is the case with big budget remakes, they can't leave well enough alone. Where Mariachi was real and gritty, Desperado get's stupid and unreal. The ending is a major let down (or was for me, anyway) as it becomes almost superhero time.

The movie is very watchable, even enjoyable, but it hurts me to view it because of the intentions behind it.

El Mariachi will live on in my mind as a classic in indie film, proof that it can be done by anyone. But Desperado will live on in my mind as proof that everyone who touches a Hollywood dollar comes away with a black mark on their hands.

And then Rodriguez did Four Rooms. Are there no heroes left?

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originally posted: 11/15/98 23:53:55
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User Comments

9/16/13 Hellbilly Deluxe Shoot em ups galore, splatter fest, los lobos and a steamy sex scene make this a winner 5 stars
11/09/11 Jeff Wilder Script weak. But well directed. Rodriguez knows how to make an action film. 3 stars
3/25/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Great sequel 5 stars
5/08/09 Dane Youssef Fun contemporary homage western made by Mexicans. All style and nearly nothing else. 4 stars
10/29/07 Hester Hign energy fun pretty much sums it up 4 stars
10/15/07 fools♫gold Dandy. I won't watch it again. 4 stars
10/02/07 Double M it's no Godfather, but 5 stars for the opening, style, fun, coolness, OTT action, STYLE.. 5 stars
7/08/07 al smith fantastic film.salma hayek jesus what a fucking body 5 stars
5/26/06 William Goss A surprisingly entertaining gem. May not be great, but sure is fun. 4 stars
8/18/05 ES pretty over the top, not great 2 stars
8/12/05 Bryan a great movie then they went and fucked it up with Once upon a time in MX 5 stars
6/14/05 Agent Sands Incredibly lightweight and entertaining. This is Rodriguez at a high point. 4 stars
3/28/05 indrid cold Juicy, stylish action. But that's not enough to make a great movie. 4 stars
3/13/05 Kristina Williams When Salma causes the car crash, it still makes me smile. 5 stars
2/23/05 malcolm to reviewer Chris Parry: Desperado is a sequel to, not a remake of Mariachi 4 stars
2/21/04 Denise Duspiva Hot 5 stars
11/25/03 homer J. Simpson holy shit,it had everyhting you could ask for, ,nice guns and nice tits and some more tits 5 stars
11/08/03 Agent Sands (previously Mr. Hat) Now that I've seen Once Upon A Time In Mexico, this is Rodriguez's 2nd best. 5 stars
9/13/03 Nicole Never saw the original, but liked this well enough 4 stars
9/08/03 R.W. Welch Has some pizzaz to it but goes absurdist at times. A near miss. 3 stars
8/14/03 Mr. Hat Vladimir stop impersonating me! This is Rodriguez's best, 1 I can watch many times in a row 5 stars
5/17/03 Mr. Hat (I'm Back Mo'Fos!) HILARIOUSLY & OVERWHELMINGLY dumb, but funny and star-studded. 4 stars
1/30/03 Ingo Well, "El Mariachi" is better - but this reincarnation is also quite good. 4 stars
1/03/03 Jim Basically a big long shootout, but then I like those. 4 stars
7/12/02 KMG Buscemi is funny, Banderas is sexy, Cheech is crazy 4 stars
6/14/02 malcolm a blast!!! 4 stars
3/18/02 yankisalpeo esta peli es un asco y vosotros unos cabrones 1 stars
3/12/02 Alan Smithee Once you get past the awe and drool inspiring Salma Hayek, this movie is pretty hollow. 2 stars
10/15/01 Mr. Hat One of Quentin's most badass movies! 4 stars
8/29/01 Gary Watchable. Whenever Hayek's on, that is. 3 stars
5/05/01 Gracy Lionheart The film just wasn't that good. It was pointless, dumb, and boring. 2 stars
1/21/01 fifu bad plot, just a old action movie, more teh top some times, scense were done well though 2 stars
1/08/01 Painful Days "If you dont treat me good, I wont ask you out!" I love this movie! 5 stars
11/14/00 The EVIL Penguin good, but kinda boring 3 stars
9/20/00 paddy doyle total shit kicking madness 5 stars
3/21/00 Laura guys with hispanic accents. it's all good 5 stars
10/26/99 Karahde Khan Self-ripoff. Rodriguez's own Escape from LA. I'm still looking for the plot... 1 stars
9/23/99 Matt Blood, Guts, Guns, Naked Girl, and one Bad ass Dude. Enough Said! 5 stars
6/10/99 Homer J. Simpson this movie kicks all ass 5 stars
6/04/99 Matthew Bartley V.enjoyable but I kind of lost interest after Steve Buscemi died 4 stars
5/10/99 Ah Dooey Badass (awesome) movie. Definitely worth a look. 4 stars
4/20/99 Tim Selma Hayek is the bomb. This movie rules. You all should see this 4 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson It's cool baby. Mariachi was slow anyway. 4 stars
4/12/99 Alonzo ( a little slow at first, it picks up when salma hayek's character comes in the picture 5 stars
3/20/99 the DUDE very fucking great-I loved this movie and fuck all you who hated- motherfuckers 5 stars
1/12/99 TNT "This movie isn't just a thrill ride, its a rocket!" 5 stars
11/13/98 Lord Of The Dunce Banderas has some presence when he's not talking. A great film, but El Mariachi was better. 4 stars
10/24/98 Timmy C Salma Hayek naked. Nuff said. 5 stars
10/23/98 Negative Creep They should make movies like this every day. 5 stars
10/20/98 Johny Well directed,, high-energy fun 4 stars
10/20/98 {{{OZ}}} The beauty of the first was how they did so much for little. Here they did little for much. 3 stars
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