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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 Brian McKay

"A supreme example of style vs. substance - and style wins"
5 stars

Billed as a sequel but essentially just a big-budget retelling of EL MARIACHI, DESPERADO has all the Hollywood earmarks missing in the previous film - pretty big-budget stars, high production values, and an even higher body count. But while EL MARIACHI purists may scream about Hollywood corrupting everything it touches, sometimes the big-money makeover isn't an evil thing.

If there's one element that truly sets Desperado apart from its predecessor, it's the addition of Antonio Banderas. While I am generally not a big fan of Banderas and his usual strutting rico-suave motif - that man was born for the role of El Mariachi. And while I feel bad for the replaced Carlos Gallardo, who played El previously and only shows up for a brief appearance in this film, Banderas brings a crucial larger-than-life persona to El Mariachi that Gallardo never could. His every move, word, and glance exudes coolness and bad-assity. Give him a guitar case full of guns under one arm, and Latina goddess Salma Hayek under the other, and you have yourself one bad motherfuckin' hombre.

Which isn't to say that the film doesn't have plenty of things in the negative column. The plot is a threadbare recycling of the previous film with a really lame twist near the end, the action sequences at times become a bit too cartoonish, and the appearances of Steve Buscemi and Rodriguez's buddy Tarantino, while amusing, are incongruous with the rest of the film.

But when you're peddling style over substance, things like plot mechanics and character incongruities don't matter too much - as long as you can deliver the style. Luckily, Desperado has style coming out of its ass, courtesy of Banderas' swaggering machismo and Rodriguez's eye for the camera. Despite its shortcomings, you are ultimately willing to overlook them because the film, and everything Banderas does in it, just look so damn cool. Another big plus in its favor is the charismatic lead villain, Bucho, played by Juaquim de Almeida. Always-dependable in the role of the Latino heavy (in fact, he's playing damn near the exact same character in the current season of 24), the manner in which he berates and torments his inept band of thugs is a constant source of amusement.

Although its a far cry from a perfect remake/sequel/whatever, it's just so damn fun to watch that I can't be too harsh on it. Substance is nice, but sometimes style is more than enough on its own.

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originally posted: 12/22/03 08:38:45
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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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  25-Aug-1995 (R)
  DVD: 26-Aug-2003

  09-Feb-1996 (18)
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  09-Nov-1995 (R)

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