Saturday, December 13, 2014

Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)

Robert Rodriguez' Mariachi Trilogy wraps up with this fun, though in some ways disappointing epic that sees Antonio Banderas returning as an even more mythic version of the lead character.  This time, he's brought in by FBI agent Sands (Johnny Depp) to kill an old rival who has ties to a drug runner trying to gain control of Mexico.  As tends to be the case, things get complicated and Rodriguez leaves no stops un-pulled in this twist-laden action flick.

As one would expect, the film is full of style and good action but what really makes it fun is the cast.  Banderas is cool as usual as the hero but Depp is the real star of the show.  Sands is just hilarious, slimy and conniving but also viciously competent when it comes to killing.  It's a real enjoyable turn and I'd say it's even better than Depp's other 2003 action role in Pirates of the Caribbean.

The rest of the cast is fun too with good turns from Willem DaFoe as the drug runner Barillo (for me, it's always a good sign when the man keeps his damn clothes on as he does here); Mickey Rourke as an associate of his, Danny Trejo as a nasty piece of work named Cucuy and Ruben Blades as a retired federal officer with a grudge against Barillo.  Eva Mendes is also on hand as a treacherous cop who turns out to be Barillo's daughter as is Cheech Marin as an informant for Sands.

Really, the only huge disappointment for me with this film is the criminal lack of Salma Hayek for most of the movie.  Scheduling conflicts led to her role sadly being a cameo in flashback but she does get one or two nice moments.

This all comes together fairly well, though the plot is probably a little too intricate for its own good.  Still, Rodriguez keeps things moving and the film is over the top enough to be entertaining as hell.  It's not as good as the first two but is does offer enough bang for one's buck.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.