Robert Rodriguez directs Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek and Steve Buscemi in this border town action western following a murderous mariachi.
Like Sam Raimi did with Evil Dead 2, here Rodriquez takes his $7000 home action movie El Mariachi and enthusiastically grafts on a a 7 figure budget, stars, and the sheen and energy of having more than himself as a crew member to bombastic effect. And for the first hour you get a bullet train paced down and dirty rumble pic -packed with crude jokes, sizzlingly sexy leads, snappy dialogue and cool entrances. It has the pace and funk of a trailer for a great action movie and still manages to be a great action movie. One of the amusing stories around the making of El Mariachi was Robert used all the tallest, toughest looking hombres in his hometown to play henchmen early on in the running time so that by the end it looked like the Big Bad was being guarded by mere young boys and wrinkly old men. Similarly here, the squibs and pyrotechnic frenzy runs out of muscle by the third act… slower, less certain of itself, less satisfying. That stumble holds it back from being a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ classic. But show me a director who can sprint all the way through a marathon. You get the best use of Banderas ever, great turns from Hayek, Buscemi, Danny Trejo and even…. and I’m genuinely talking about acting here… enthusiastic amateur Quentin Tarantino. What’s not to love? “LET’S PLAY!”