Thursday, April 26, 2012

#619. Desperado (1995)

Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Joaquim de Almeida

Tag line: "He came back to settle the score with someone. Anyone. EVERYONE"

Trivia:  Steve Buscemi's character's name is "Buscemi" because the part was written with him in mind

A follow-up to director Robert Rodriguez's independent hit, El Mariachi, Desperado continues the exploits of Mexico’s most notorious mariachi player (Antonio Bandaras), who is seeking revenge for the murder of his girlfriend. The man responsible for her killing, a drug kingpin named Bucho (Joaquim DeAlmeida), is very powerful, and controls an entire border town. With an impressive arsenal, and a bad-ass attitude to go with it, El Mariachi makes his presence known in this town, never hiding the fact he intends to put Bucho out of business once and for all. With the aid of a local bookstore owner (Salma Hayek), and his trusty sidekick (Steve Buscemi), El Mariachi is convinced his thirst for vengeance will finally be quenched.

Rodriguez flexes his cinematic muscles throughout Desperado, and gets the action off to a quick start with the help of an exciting pre-title sequence. In it, El Mariachi’s sidekick walks into a Mexican bar full of unsavory characters, and asks the bartender (Cheech Marin) for a beer. He then proceeds to tell the bartender, and anyone else who'll listen, about what happened in the last bar he visited, when “the biggest Mexican” he'd ever seen walked in and caused a ruckus simply by mentioning the name “Bucho”. Shown in flashback, we watch as this “big” Mexican, who's actually El Mariachi, shoots it out with every single person in that bar. It’s obvious Buscemi’s character was spinning a tall tale (or at least embellishing what really went down) in order to get a rise out of the patrons (who, it just so happens, were also Bucho’s henchmen). Keeping in tune with this elaboration, Rodriguez constructs the flashback as if it were a dream, complete with well-placed shadows and gobs of cartoon violence. From there on out, Desperado treats us to action, laughs, a cameo appearance by Quentin Tarantino (playing a pick-up man with a warped sense of humor), and some expertly choreographed shootouts that are as “high-octane” as they come.

Holding it all together is Antonio Bandaras, who brings out El Mariachi’s charm, while mixing in equal doses of strength and charisma. His tough-as-nails approach, combined with the actor's amazing physical skills, make him the perfect fit for the role, and the reason we buy all the anarchy exploding onscreen.


Robert M. Lindsey said...

You forgot to mention the music! That's what pushes Desperado from medium to well done for me.

DVD Infatuation said...

CricketsChirping: Thanks for the comment, and for stopping by the blog. I appreciate it!

Robert: Yes! The music was extraordinary, and definitely added a lot to the film. Thanks for pointing that out, and for the comment.