Bullet Points: Desperado
Welcome to another installment of Bullet Points. Today we take a look at my favorite Robert Rodriguez film Desperado. Fresh off the heels from making his breakout ultra low-budget film El Mariachi, Rodriguez gets his whole gang together for an action flick that starts hot and never lets up.
The Gist (el esencia): Our movie starts with our hero simply known as El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas) moving from town to town with his sidekick (Steve Buscemi) in search of a man called Bucho. As our hero gets closer to finding his vengeance for the death of his wife (and a bullet in his guitar-strumming hand) at the hands of Bucho’s men, he soon comes to realize that in order to achieve his goal he may have to sacrifice everyone he cares about. Oh yeah, and he carries around a guitar case filled with guns and hand grenades!
There may not be a cooler way to carry around your weapons.
The Cast (el elenco): One of the things I love about RR’s films is that he casts some real badasses. Antonia Banderas and Salma Hayek have a ton of chemistry together, not to mention they are smokin’ hot as a couple. According to Rodriguez, the entire crew showed up to the set on the day of filming their love scene. Cheech Marin and Danny Trejo play a couple of nameless henchmen and we get Buscemi and Quentin Tarantino for bit parts as well.
Danny Trejo looking badass as usual.
The Villain (el villano): I may be out of line here but I didn’t find Bucho to be very much of a bad guy in this movie. Sure, he seems to be upper-level cartel or at least a high up drug kingpin and he shot some of his own people but other than that he doesn’t seem to be all that evil. At one point in the movie he hands a wad of cash to a pair of newlyweds at their wedding. Not winning any “villain of the year” awards for that. Bucho is, however, expertly played by Joaquim de Almeida and as I said before he has surrounded himself with some really cool and colorful characters that are just cannon fodder for our hero and his smorgasbord of killing tools.
The Action (la accion): What is an action movie without kick-ass action scenes? The action in this movie is absolutely fantastic! Bullets and blood flying everywhere! The setting of the small Mexican village is perfect for the utter destruction that the gunfights between the two sides cause. You just know that when our hero’s former Mariachi buddies show up that shit is gonna get wild. During filming, many of the prop guns that they used actually fired fake blood out of the barrels but this effect was a bit too real for the censors and they had to cut most of it out. They still managed to cover most of the actors in wounds, whether they were by knife or by gunshot. Some directors just know how to film action scenes.
One of my all-time favorite cliché’s, the explosion walk away.
Take it Home:
- Favorite quote: from our hero while speaking with a priest: “Do you want confession?” “Maybe later Father, cause where I’m going, I’ll just have to come right back.” Awesome!
- Favorite kill: for me would have to be in the bar gun battle when Banderas kicked a guy 15 feet into the air and unloaded two pistols on him before he hit the ground.
- Good to know: If Cheech Marin’s beer tastes like piss, it’s cause he pissed in it.
- Wowzers: Salma Hayek may be the hottest woman on the planet.
- Budget: Rodriguez had 1000 times the budget he had with El Mariachi 3 years earlier.
This movie proves that simpler is better when it comes to the action genre. This was just your classic revenge tale. I mean, the hero doesn’t even have a name for God’s sake. A likeable hero who is determined to kill the bad guy…what more can an action fan ask for?
Yeah that dude on the right totally has a monkey on his shoulder.