El Mariachi Trilogy

El Mariachi (1992)
Desperado (1995)
Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)

"The most drop-dead gorgeous woman you'll ever see."

That's how they describe Salma Hayek (or rather, Salma Hayek's character) in Once Upon a Time in Mexico—and it's difficult to argue.

I've just watched the three movies: El Mariachi, Desperado, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico.  Together they form a fairly loose trilogy that follows the adventures of an itinerant musician -- the role taken first by Carlos Gallardo, and then Antonio Banderas.

The first movie was made by Robert Rodriguez on a budget of approximately $3.50 and a slice of pizza. All things considered, it actually holds up remarkably well, and does a fine job of telling its tale of mistaken identity, a drug war, and the wandering Mariachi who gets caught in the middle.

The second movie, Desperado, casts Antonio Banderas in the role of the Mariachi—although it was good to see the original actor, Carlos Gallardo, as one of his, uh, "band members". This is part sequel, part remake—and has some extremely cool action sequences in it, making full use of both Antonio's smouldering intensity and Salma's gorgeous looks. This time around, El Mariachi is working his way up the food chain, taking out the bosses (and their bosses) of the guy who took away his livelihood and killed his girl at the end of the first movie. (And they did a very nice re-shoot of that scene with Antonio in the role!) All in all, Desperado is one of my favourite films.

The third movie, sadly, just doesn't measure up. It has a great cast (Antonio and Salma are rejoined by the likes of Danny Trejo and Cheech Marin, both playing roles that seem vaguely related, but not, to their Desperado characters. Added to the cast we have Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, Eva Mendes, Ruben Blades, and Mickey Rourke) and some excellent sequences—but somehow it completely fails to recapture the total cool which permeates Desperado. Perhaps it's too big, its many story threads too tangled, or perhaps it was just the fact that Salma's character is relegated to flashback status for the purposes of giving El Mariachi a totally unnecessary revenge motivation on top of everything else. Or perhaps—specific pet peeve of mine—it was the way they retconned the back story of El Mariachi and Carolina, not to mention the details they changed too. It all felt a little too forced to be enjoyable; perhaps it would work better if I wasn't such a big fan of Desperado?


Add comment

Security code

Latest Articles

20 Reading Questions

It has been far too long since I last made an update here (and, among other things, I'm pondering switching from Joomla to WordPress to see if that might motivate me) so when I saw this floating around the internet, I figured I'd answer all 20 questions here. If anyone is interested?

Favourite genre to read?

Can I say "Speculative Fiction" and thereby cover the field? My favourite genres are Science Fiction and Fantasy, but I also read quite a lot of Horror, and I always enjoy a good Thriller. Often these genres overlap -- I'd call SFFantasy setting genres, while Horror and Thriller are plot genres, so give me a good Horror Thriller in a non-mundane setting and I'm happy.

Although, that said, I don't mind Urban Fantasy either.

Basically, I've never been very good at picking favourites...


2014 Movie List

Since typing out the 2013 "Movies" list was more than a little tedious, I've written a short Perl script to do the work for me. Never underestimate the power of a short Perl script! Here, then, is the list of everything I watched in 2014. Hmm. I sure racked up the couch-time!


2014 Reading List

2014 was also a slow year for me. I think I'd almost go so far as to say that 2014 was my Annus Horribilis; certainly I didn't seem to be particularly productive with anything. My heart just wasn't in it. Neither were my kidneys.


2013 Reading List

2013 was a slow year for me, book-wise. Apparently. I only read 26 books, and there were a couple of large gaps during which I was too focused on other projects to do much reading. (And since 2014 was, uh, not a good year—for many reasons—I never finished typing this up until April 2015!)


2013 Movie List

Sometime in August 2013, I decided to add a "Date Watched" column to my movie database, thus allowing me to at least list what I have watched each year, by year.  Obviously this list only goes back as far as August... :-)

Now that I've got my script working (produced for the 2014 list) I've regenerated this list too!