Category Archives: Robert Rodriguez Films

Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003): Shooting for a Bigger Point

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

     “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” would make a great min-series. As a film it doesn’t quite work as there are a ton of characters and revenge stories going on and right around the middle it gets really muddled and overindulgent but picks up a lot again at the end while finally having El Mariachi change! As the ending to the Mexico Trilogy, it wasn’t the best…that still belongs to “Desparado” but it was better than “El Mariachi” both in soundtrack and cinematography.

     The film was directed by Robert Rodriguez who also wrote, produced and composed the music for. With the other producers being Elizabeth Avellan and Carlos Gallardo.

     The story picks up where “Desparado” left off with El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas) and Carolina living their life with their daughter after they defeat the corrupt General Marquez. The general survives and gets revenge on El Mariachi killing his wife and daughter leading El Mariachi to seek revenge.  Around the same time Agent Sands (Johnny Depp) commissions him to kill the Drug Lord Armando Barillo (Willem Dafoe) leading to a final face off as all the factions come together as both Barillo and Marquez want to overthrow Mexico’s President.

The Pros: The Cinematography – The cinematography is stark and like a dream sequence making the violence beautiful in how it is presented. It’s not as beautiful as “Desperado” but it still has some very beautiful scenes and color combinations.

The Soundtrack – Soundtrack is the best it has been so far and has a reflective somber tone intermixed with high action beats to reflect the scenes going on.

Armando Barillo – Dafoe does a great job as this drug lord who the CIA is trying to take down. He is emphatic at first and later we see how smart he is when he fakes his own death and even survives past Marquez. It is only a Mexican agent who kills him in revenge after Sands gives him the prompting and opportunity. The agent wasn’t memorable at all though, versus Dafoe.

Ajedrez Barillo – Eva Mendes is wonderful as the daugther of Barillo. She is the one who captures Sands and has them drill out his eyes. She’s cruel and smart and only has a moment of stupidity when she goes to check on Sands body and Sands shoots her in revenge.

Jeffrey Sands – This is one of Depp’s more memorable characters. He is a smooth operator and speaks very calm. I enjoyed his performance as he was a character who was odd and driven and all about the job. He doesn’t let losing his eyes end his mission either and we see that even with loss he can fight and joke making him one of the better action heroes out there. He’s also crazy like most of the characters in this film.

El Mariachi – El Mariachi’s arc goes from taking out small time drug lords in the prior films to taking out Generals in this one. It is here he finds purpose beyond revenge as he gives his money to the people and with his new Band where they take on a Nationalist identity of fighting for Mexico as they protect the President from Marquez and Barillo. He gets Carolina’s locket back and we see him singing for her and fighting for his country. It’s a powerful story.

The Ending – The message is that a person can make their home better. In the first 2 films El Mariachi couldn’t see beyond revenge and himself but later he is fighting for the populace and in this the populace rises up with him against the corrupt General as now El Mariachi has become a folk hero. He embraces this role and it is in that his love for his country and the people keep him going as he is no longer driven by revenge and wishing to die.

Okay/Pros: The Action – Rodriguez has always been good at action and this is film is no exception. A con could even be that it had too much action and was really excessive at times much to the detriment of the story. Specially the hospital attack I was really bored on and it wasn’t until the final confrontation during “Day of the Dead” where I was pulled back in.

The Cons: The Writing – The writing is all over the place. I didn’t care about the Mexican agent, Barillo and his daughter needed more fleshing out and El Mariachi is just kind of there, we don’t see much of his life beyond his music and revenge up until the end. There are a lot of good ideas here they just aren’t clear because of how muddled the script is.

The Use of the Fridge – El Mariachi has now lost his girlfriend, Carolina and daughter as the motivator for each film. This is a tired trope and way overdone. I wish he’d had something more and that we could have seen some of the women in his life kick ass like Carolina did in the flashbacks. The fridge is a terrible trope largely because it is overused. Rodriguez didn’t have to do anything but repeat the plot of “Desperado” for El Mariachi’s motivation and that is just sad.

     Minus the fridging of his girlfriend in the first film and Carolina and his daughter in this one, as well as the muddled script, this was a good film I’d recommend. It is more polished and interesting than “El Mariachi” which felt like a film made by a director just starting to direct but wasn’t as tight and polished as “Desperado” which never felt excessive in any major ways. This one did have a better message though as the vigilante finally looked beyond himself and to the people he should have been protecting all along. That is what made this film really good besides the very colorful characters.

Final Score: 8.2 / 10

Also, here are the reviews for “El Mariachi”: https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/09/20/el-mariachi-1992-a-good-but-rocky-start-to-the-mexico-trilogy/

and “Desperado”: https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/05/24/desperado/

As we complete the Mexico Trilogy.

Advertisements

El Mariachi (1992): A Good But Rocky Start to the “Mexico Trilogy”

El_Mariachi_01

Robert Rodriguez is one of the directors I’ve come to really respect. He has a unique style to his work, and he was one of the first people who’s movies I reviewed, and the first first of his “Mexico Trilogy” I reviewed, as “Desperado” is one of my earliest reviews on this blog:

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/05/24/desperado/

So it was great to go back and see the movie that started his style and made him an indie name that later made his doing “Sin City” and other larger films possible.

“El Mariachi” as said above was directed by Robert Rodriguez, who also produced and wrote the film. The other producer credit goes to Carlos Gallardo who also played El Mariachi.

The story begins with a case of mistaken identity as a wandering El Mariachi (Carlos Gallardo) tells about his arrival in a town and how he travels playing at bars to experience. In this town a drug criminal named Azul (Reinol Martínez) escaped and is dressed similar to him and is out for revenge against the mob boss Moco (Peter Marquardt) for putting him in prison in the first place. After he kills Moco’s men El Mariachi arrives in town and all believe him to be Azul. From here the story unfolds as El Mariachi tries to adapt to his new situation and survive as Azul seeks revenge.

Here is the assessment of the film:

The Pros: The Music – The music in the film is one of the best parts, though it isn’t always consistent. It does a good job of creating tension though and all the mariachi songs are really beautiful, like in “Desperado.” I think the reason it isn’t consistent is a lot of people were working on music: (Eric Guthrie, Chris Knudson, Álvaro Rodriguez, Cecilio Rodriguez
Mark Trujillo). Again, when it is good it’s really good, when it’s not it feels very raw and rocky…much like the film itself.

The Action – The action is better in “Desperado” but considering this is Rodriguez’s first movie, it still manages to have good action. There are a lot more stunts and blood splatters but most of the great action takes place in confined spaces giving a greater sense of urgency to scenes. Also the first fight El Mariachi gets in where he manages to kill 4 men in self defense is well done, he uses his guitar case as a bludgeon and the weapons of his enemies against them.

El Mariachi – Antonio Banderas is a much better El Mariachi but Gallardo still does a good job. His Mariachi is much more like a teenager who has innocence to all of his actions and the overconfidence of a guy who knows he’s good looking. Antonio’s El Mariachi is a mixture of danger and sensitivity, while Gallardo’s is all kindness and adaptability. He lives for being a musician which makes when he loses his lover Domino to Moco out of spite and loses his hand…his killing of Moco makes sense. This film is really about El Mariachi’s loss of innocence, and shattered dreams…and it’s pulled off decently.

Azul – This guy is one of the most dangerous and funniest criminals. He sleeps with three women who are all highly armed, he goes into bars to have a drink in a bottle before paying and leaving…and at his core he is kind. He points out to Moco how evil Moco is, “I would never kill an innocent, but you…” Moco says that’s why he was put in charge before killing him making his death a tragedy. He really is one of the most well rounded characters in this movie and Reinol owns this role.

Domino – Awesome protagonist! Her death means something largely because her slowly falling in love with El Mariachi feels real. She almost castrates him when she thinks he’s Azul, but comes around due to Mariachi’s kindness and talent on the guitar. She helps Azul get to Moco too in the final showdown but doesn’t make it out as Moco hates her for falling in love with El Mariachi. Conseulo Gomez does a good job. Also as great as she was Salma Hayek was better, Hayek was much more active as a character and as an actress she has more charisma in her role as Carolina.

Okay: Cinematography – The cinematography is choppy. At times it is sped up and the speeding up makes sense, other times the speeding up clashes with everything. You can tell it is Rodriguez’s first work as it does feel really raw. This isn’t bad per say, but it isn’t a pro in it’s favor either.

Con: Moco – Moco is bland. We seem him with a woman in every scene as he sits and preens and looks bored. He never shows emotion except at the end when he finds out Domino hooked up with El Mariachi and that El Mariachi killed his men. When he dies it isn’t as strong as it could have been because I was never invested in him as a villain. Bucho in “Desperado” is a much more interesting villain.

So ends the first of the “Mexico Trilogy” films. Now all I have is “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” to complete the reviews of all three. Like the space between this one and “Desperado” I’m going to wait though, before I do a look back on them all after they have all been reviewed. This is Rodriguez’s rocky stark, there is a lot here to like even if the problems in the film are obvious. It was his first time writing, directing and producing a film so I give him major credit for pulling that off. His sequel “Desperado” is better though.

Final Score: 7.8 / 10. Reason it isn’t solidly good (Score of 8) is because of how raw it is and all the scenes that clash with what really works. Also Moco as a villain really brings it down and Gallardo doesn’t quite have enough charisma to make the final scenes work.

Sin City (2005): The Struggle for Justice in a City with None

sin-city-movie-poster-01

Frank Miller’s Sin City Comic Series is one I have always been meaning to check out. His style is very distinct and he is good at capturing the feel of a dark noir. This was true in The Dark Knight Returns, and definitely true in this film which follows the style of the comics. A big reason that inspired my reviewing of this film, beyond wanting to watch it, is the fact that “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” is coming out and I want to see and review it as well.

The style the film was done in was also like a comic book, beyond the visuals. There is “The Customer is Always Right” Parts 1 and 2, “The Yellow Bastard” Parts 1 and 2, “The Hard Goodbye” and “The Big Fat Kill.” All are loosely connected as you see characters from “The Yellow Bastard” in “The Big Fat Kill” and “The Hard Goodbye” but that is the only connection, each story arc stands on it’s own and reveals a new part of the corruption that is Sin City. A city of corrupt cops, priests, politicians, serial killers and mobsters…with only the heroes of each of the stories to stand against them.

“Sin City” was written, directed and produced by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, as well as also produced by Elizabeth Avellan. For the reviews I’ll do each story individually and afterwords a final score at the end, so that all of the anthology is covered.

Also, before I get into the review, I want to say this is some of the best stylized cinematography and directing I’ve seen in a film. Robert Rodriguez did a really good job creating the comic book feel in a movie and using it fully capture the tone and feel of the world.

Here is the assessment of the film:

Colonel_&_customer

“The Customer is Always Right” Parts 1 and 2

“The Customer is Always Right” is how we kick off the anthology as a woman is looking at escaping and the Salesman is there to help. He kisses her and shoots her and talks about how he’ll never know what she was running from.

Part 2 picks up with an injured Becky (who we meet in “The Big Fat Kill”) is talking with her mom but stops when the salesman says her name and offers her a cigarette.

The Pros: I like the mystery behind it and also the stark cruelty of how it sets off the world of Sin City. We never know if the Salesman was paid to kill her or if she meant something different by escape.

Cons: I wanted to know more about the Customer and what her motivations were as well as her connection to the Salesman, since she recognized him when he says her name.

Final Score: 8 / 10

sincitybrucewillisjessicaalba_wideweb__430x267

“The Yellow Bastard” Parts 1 and 2

Part 1 of “The Yellow Bastard” has aging police officer John Hartington (Bruce Willis) doing one last thing before he goes. The corrupt senators son who is a serial killer named Roark Junior (Nick Stahl) from killing a young girl named Nancy Callahan (Mackenzie Vega) when he shoots Roark Junior his partner turns on him (Michael Madsen). Haritagan knocks out his partner Bob and chases after Roark Junior. He manages to reach him and shoots off his ear, hand and genitals before Bob returns and shoots him in the back as sirens arrive.

Part 2 picks up with Hartigan in the hospital being framed by Hartigan for his son’s murders and being beaten until he confesses. He refuses to confess until Roark Junior tricks him by taking one of the letters that Nancy was sending him while in prison, leading him to believe that Nancy is in trouble. He confesses and is released and finds Nancy (Jessica Alba) is now working as a dancer in the bar. The mysterious yellow bastard than arrives on the scene and over the course of the chase and eventual capture of Nancy by him we discover he is Roark Junior who was mutated in the growing back of his ears, hand and genitals. It is here Nancy keeps from screaming which prevents him from killing her and Hartigan arrives and kills him. He than has Nancy leave and kills himself so the corrupt senator Roark will stop hunting Nancy.

Pros: The Acting – Alba, Stahl and Willis do a great job in this. Each of them is so open in their roles (Alba as Nancy who fell in love with the one who saved her, Willis as the bitter cop and Stahl as the serial killer). Each of them is interesting to watch as they drive the plot forward in different ways.

The Story – I liked the story in this one, it was clear and followed the dark theme of Sin City. Hartigan only is able to win by confessing to dark crimes he didn’t commit and in the end has to die anyway to protect the woman he loves. It is also realistic in how Roark Junior becomes more crazy and Nancy becomes a fighter, who is both trained to fight and helps Hartigan take out Roark Junior.

Con: Feels almost too short.

Final Score is 9 / 10

mr1

“The Hard Goodbye”

“The Hard Goodbye” follows the story of Marv (Mickey Rourke) and how Goldy the woman he had a one stand with, was killed the same night. He than goes on a killing spree to find the man who did it. This leads him to get help from his parole officer Lucille (Carla Gugino), whose drugs help stop him from seeing things. Eventually, after questioning he comes to the farm where Kevin (Elijah Wood) the cannibal has captured Lucille and has the heads of his past victims mounted on the wall. He and Lucille escape but Lucille is gunned down on orders from Cardinal Roark (Rutger Hauer). Marv escapes into Old Town and learns the mysterious woman is Wendy. The Prostitutes who run Old Town support Marv once they learn about Kevin and Cardinal Roark. It is than Wendy and Marv go to take out Kevin and finally Roark who says he and Kevin did it to eat away their sins. After he returns, Wendy says that Marv can call her Goldy and is there before the state executes him for the killing of the Cardinal.

Pros: The Tone – This one is the creepiest of them, as Lucille’s hand was eaten in front of her by Kevin and Kevin has long nails that cut. Rutger Hauer is a great baddy too and is completely mad. Marv not being able to escape at the end and Lucille being gunned down by the police when she was an officer herself.

The Story – I like the story, the twist of Wendy being the sister worked well and the depths of the darkness in Sin City where revealed slowly over time so that when Kevin and Cardinal Roark are revealed it has the needed effect.

Okay: The Acting – Not the best acting, Mickey Rourke is good but Wendy isn’t all that memorable and Lucille should have been given more to do. It was hard to gauge her talent in what little time we had with her. Elijah Wood and Rutger Hauer were fantastic as the baddies though, best ones in the film for sure.

Final Score is 9 / 10

Clive-Owen-and-Rosario-Dawson-in-Sin-City-2005-Movie-Image-2

“The Big Fat Kill”

“The Big Fat Kill” begins with Shelley (Brittany Murphey) being harrased by her ex-boyfriend Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro) until her new boyfriend Dwight (Clive Owen) water boards him in the toilet. He than sees that they are looking for trouble so follows them to Old Town. It is there they are harassing Becky (Alexis Bledel) until Gail (Rosario Dawson) and her girls arrive on the scene and execute Jackie Boy and his friends before they can hurt Becky. It is here we learn that Dwight and Gail are former lovers. It is here they learn Jackie Boy was a Detective and that this could create war between Old Town and the Police so Dwight goes to leave the body in the Tar Pits but all are attacked by Wallenquist who Becky had gone too for protection. He plans to conquer Old Town so sent his enforcer Manute (Michael Clark Duncan). A standoff happens but ends when Dwight trades Jackie Boy’s head for Gail and armed the head to explode which leads to the mob enforcers getting killed. From here we see Dwight and Gail re-establishing their love affair and love of battle.

Pros: The Acting – This one had the best acting, minus Brittany Murphey. Clive Owen was fantastic in this role, as was Alexis Bledel, Rosario Dawson, Benicio Del Toro and Michael Clark Duncan. We get to know all their characters and can understand their motivations as their is peace in Old Town but it only hangs by a thread. We see the threat of the Mob in the background now too and the Mob knows not to mess with Old Town.

The Tone – At one point Dwight has a conversation with dead Jackie Boy, which establishes the fear factor and the race against time that Dwight is up against. It is creepy and cool, as are the scenes between Manute and Gail.

The Politics – Establishes the power brokers of the Mob, Old Town and the Police and the relationship between the three groups. With the coups and Old Town Prostitutes respecting each others areas and the Mob trying to start a war between them and capture more territory.

The Story – This one had the best of the stories in my opinion, I just wish it had ended differently. It ended with a celebration of slaughter when so much of the story had been introspective. I wish the introspectiveness had not been lost.

Okay: The Ending – The final scene on the battlefield re-establishes Gail and Dwight as a couple but goes on a bit too long. I would have liked them to have some lines to end it. I guess that is why Becky meeting the Salesman happened after, it kept that tone going.

Score is 9.5 / 10

So how does “Sin City” hold up? It is a little long at times, but for exploring the world that is Sin City, it does a fantastic job. We meet the major characters, we get the rules of this world, and most of the characters have complete character arcs (though many of the female character arcs remain incomplete). The Cinematography is also some of the best I have ever seen. After seeing it I am excited for “A Dame to Kill For” as it will help us to understand this world more and re-establish old threats while introducing new. I would say this isn’t for everyone, but if you like stylized dark noirs or mystery anthologies, this is worth checking out. Definitely one of my favorite films after today.

Final Score for the film is 9 / 10. It is solidly really good.

Four Rooms (1995): The Misadventures of a Bellhop

Four Rooms

“Four Rooms,” is the story of a bellhop named Ted (played by Tim Roth) as he deals with awkward situations as he is the only one left on duty at the hotel. There are four directors and each does a short story within the events of the day…each story takes place in a different room as per the title and each director covers a room. The stories are based off some of Roald Dahl adult short stories…which make sense given how strange it is and the quirckyness of Ted.

I’ll be doing the assessment of the stories individually (judging the directors by the individual work they did) and after judging it as a whole.

The Honeymoon Suite – “The Missing Ingredient” -Director Allison Anders

The premise of “The Missing Ingredient,” is a coven of witches need semen to ressurect their Goddess Diane since she was cursed 40 years ago and turned to stone and the witch who was supposed to bring it swallowed it. She has seduces Ted to get the semen and they have sex in the cauldron after she puts a spell on him.

This is  the weakest of the stories. The only compelling character is Ted who doesn’t know what to do and Tim Roth plays being the the crazy situations really well over the course of the story. None of the witches are really memorable…the only one who really  stands out is Jezebel who pays Ted to have sex with the witch. She is is as passionate in the role and gives her all for her small role as Roth does for Ted.

Forgettable in the end though and the special effects are really bad. Also way too much telling rather than showing.

Final score for this one is 4 / 10.

Room 404 – “The Wrong Man,” -Director Alexandre Rockwell

“The Wrong Man,” kicks off when a party is calls Ted for some ice but he mishears and goes to the wrong room where a couple is doing theatre where they pull strangers into their drama. Their story is that Ted has slept with the wife and the husband is holding her hostage…from there the husband kisses Ted and has a heart attack. After trying to escape and after one of the partiers in the room nearly throws up on him he manages to get off as one of the partiers is pulled into the act again.

David Broal and Jennifer Beals own this. They make the drama so real that you can’t tell if it is an act or not till the end. They switch between actors and roles deftly…which understandably contributes into Ted’s growing madness. This is one of the best of the 4 stories and Rockwell does fantastic.

Final score for this one is 8.5 / 10

Room 309 – “The Misbehavers,” -Director Robert Rodriguez

“The Misbehavers,” involves Ted being paid by a husband (Antonia Banderas) to take care of his two kids after he goes out with his wife to party. From here things devolve as he wants to avoid taking care of the kids and they discover horrible things from the last guest (a dead prostitute, a needle and open the champagne that the husband had ordered, as well as watching porn).

This one is fun, the biggest problem is that the kids are kind of blank slates so that kind of brings it down. I wish we could have got more scenes between Banderas and Roth since they have good chemistry and the husband is fine even as his room is burning as he holds his drunk wife. Not Rodriguez’s best work…though it does have the fire, blood and Antonio Banderas who and what he likes to use in his movies…as well as the fantasy elements to how crazy the situation gets.

Final score for this one is 7 / 10. It was alright.

Penthouse – “The Man From Hollywood,” -Director Quentin Tarantino

Ted wants to leave but is told to stay on duty because Chester Rush (Tarantino) is in town with his friends and that it is important that they have a good time. Ted goes to check on them and gets pulled into a bet that Rush’s friend Norman (Paul Calderon) can’t light his lighter ten times but if he loses he has to cut off Norman’s finger. Leo (Bruce Willis) is the other friend present as the events unfold. Ted is presented with a dilemma, cut off the finger for 1000 dollars if Norman fails or to walk away and for it remain a possible regret. Norman isn’t able to light the lighter so Ted cuts off his pinky, grabs the money and leaves. It has both the Tarantino abruptness, the moral dilemmas and the violence that define his style.

This is a good but not great Tarantino short. The dilemma is good, but most of the characters aren’t all that interesting. Leo is having issues with his wife so there is that at least going for the script and Rush is a twisted guy who is all about new experiences. It also leaves us wondering if Ted will continue to be a bellboy after the events or if he has had enough.

Final Score is 8 / 10. Solidly good.

What helps elevate a story that doesn’t quite flow together all that well is the music and most of the acting. With the exception of the first room, all the stories are at least alright and the directors do a good job making each scene unique minus the first director Anders. Tim Roth is good as the guy slowly going mad and we’re left wondering after if he finally snapped or if he found peace given he has his cocky spring in his step he had at the beginning of the film.

In the end I would recommend this film, and I would not call it great…and it has moments of good…but that isn’t the reason to watch it. It is worth watching to see how each director approaches their stories and how they express themselves in the work.

Final score is 7.5 / 10

Desperado (1995): A Fantastic Revenge Drama

desperado3

“Desperado” is the second film in Robert Rodriguez’s “Mexico Trilogy.” A trilogy I plan to watch in full at some point. The movie stands strong on it’s own as a revenge flick and previews what Robert Rodriguez is good at; choosing a great cast, huge body counts, revenge and action. The story is simple which I think serves to Rodriguez’s strength.

“Desperado” was as stated above, directed by Robert Rodriguez who also wrote and produced it. The other producer credit for this film goes to Bill Borden.

The story is about a man who is avenging the death of his lover by the gang boss Bucho in the area as things get more complicated as he forms and loses relationships in his war against Bucho as he seeks to find himself and a reason beyond revenge in the bloodbath.

The Pros: The Action – Robert Rodriguez like Quentin Tarantino has an eye for how to make gore so over the top and elegant that it is an art form in how it is presented. Each action seen feels full but never overcrowded like special effects from the Star Wars Special Editions and Prequels. One of the great action scenes is when the Mariachi band reunites, one has his guitar case turned into a rocket launcher while the other wields two cases that are machine guns.

The Characters

El Mariachi – Antonio Banderas is great as the hero El Mariachi who is seeking to grow beyond his scars and finding a reason to live beyond killing. We see how the death of his lover by the mob has shaped him into the weapon he is now..and his seeking of a reason behind it and connecting to other human being again. There is a great moment where his allies arrive who are also Mariachi members who use instrument cases as weapons.

Carolina – Salma Hayek is good as the secondary protagonist Carolina who is trying to get out of a bad situation. We see her fight for herself on multiple occasions against Bucho and work with El Mariachi against the mob. She owns a bookstore that she puts on the line for El Mariachi.

Bucho – Joaquim de Almeida is a good baddie with a personal connection to El Mariachi. We see how this has influenced his actions and that in the end he is a complicated villain. Still a villain, but a complicated one. He is also dangerous too and feels like a threat the entire time, giving reason for El Mariachi to call in the band. Also his death feels like it means something which adds power to the story.

Pick-Up Guy – Quentin Tarantino plays this small comedic part that adds layers and levity to the performance as he is a guy just looking for easy money who soon finds himself out of his league. It is a great cameo on Tarantino’s part. His guest appearances are part of what make a Rodriguez film for me.

Navajas – Another great cameo on the part of Danny Trejas. Navajas is a dangerous knife wielding thug who is only there to try and kill El Mariachi. He does the role well though and it’s almost a shame he doesn’t stick around longer as he was one of the more interesting thugs hunting El Mariachi.

The Plot – It is very well paced. It has great rising action leading to the big gun fight between Bucho’s minions and the Mariachi band and coming to head with the big reveal about Bucho’s relationship to El Mariachi the main character. The ending has El Mariachi reflecting on all those he has killed as he sits at the bed of a child who was caught in the big gunfight. He also gets to move on to some degree at the end and is no longer haunted by the ghost of his former lover and what was done to him.

The Music – Is fantastic! It is a mixture of western, traditional Mariachi and classic rock. It is very Rodriguez that way. He is great at mixing his influences in the soundtracks he creates for his films. Los Lobos was fantastic in making this.

Okay: The Message – The thing about Revenge films is you can more often than not predict what the message is  going to be. It will either be “Revenge is empty and you have to move on with life,” or “Revenge is life, there will always be horrible people that need to be put down.” The ending goes at first with the first premise with his reflecting on the injured child and later after he casts away his case for Carolina but he later picks it back up again, “Just in case,” which supports the second premise. I guess that is the danger of a trilogy, especially one built on revenge. In the end can the case ever be put down? Nolan was lucky that Bruce Wayne was able to go on living after Rises in the comics he can’t live without being Batman. This is how it seems to be for the El Mariachi at this point in the trilogy. Okay and predictable message and one that opted for both…but it wasn’t bad, especially in how they executed it.

If you love action and a solid story you will enjoy this movie. It made me want to check out the rest of the “Mexico Trilogy” and gave me a great appreciation of Robert Rodriguez as a director…like Tarantino he is directing and doing what he loves.

I would give this film an 8.4 / 10.