Combustible Celluloid
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With: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Joaquim de Almeida, Cheech Marin, Steve Buscemi, Carlos Gomez, Quentin Tarantino, Tito Larriva, Angel Aviles, Danny Trejo
Written by: Robert Rodriguez
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, a strong sex sequence and language
Running Time: 106
Date: 05/01/1995

Desperado (1995)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Return of El Mariachi

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Technically, Robert Rodriguez' new film is a sequel to his legendary El Mariachi, except that the lead role is now played by movie star Antonio Banderas instead of buddy and original mariachi Carlos Gallardo. Fortunately, Banderas is more than worthy in the role. His face moves in ways that American movie stars have long forgotten about. And for old time fans, Gallardo appears in a small role as, you guessed it, a mariachi with a loaded guitar case.

Rodriguez wore all the hats on this film. His skill at directing and editing easily beats out most American action directors, such as John McTiernan, Renny Harlin, etc. He brings on comparison instead to John Woo, Sam Peckinpah, and his old buddy Quentin Tarantino. It looks like he could use some help in the script department. The story, such as it is, falls apart under many logistical blunders right at the end. Again, fortunately, Rodriguez has so many tricks and great scenes -- such as the mariachi changing the clip on his gun while trying to be deathly quiet, the shootout in a bar run by Cheech Marin, and in all of Steve Buscemi's scenes -- that the stuff that falls apart doesn't matter much.

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