Desperado launched many things. It launched the Hollywood career of director Robert Rodriguez – still one of the consistently fresh and original action filmmakers. It launched the short lived action career of Antonio Banderas. It launched the English language career of Salma Hayek, and with that it launched the zippers of a million young men…
Travelling musician ‘Mariachi’ (Banderas) roams the towns of Mexico looking to locate Bucho, the scurrilous man responsible for the death of his beloved and his own disfigurement.
Then, just when he is within smouldering distance of his target, things become complicated by the arrival of Carolina (Hayek) on the scene, and Bucho’s unleashing of dozens of hired killers tasked with taking down this mysterious Mariachi.
But this film isn’t about all that. It’s about Rodriguez’ film-making wit and creativity. It’s about Tarantinoesque characters – including QT himself in a cameo. Buscemi’s small role. It’s about Banderas’ hair. It’s about Bucho carving out an unlikely turn as a genuinely charismatic bad guy. It’s about gunfights with dozens of weapons, thousands of rounds and impacts that propel the victims through walls in balletic fashion. It’s about big stunts. Suitcases as weapons. The arrival of (still unnamed) Machete.
It’s about Hayek’s everything…
Robert Rodriguez proved with Planet Terror and Machete that he can make anything entertaining. He is an ideas man with flourishes and small details that elevate his material beyond the norm. He is a modern day John Carpenter, when being John Carpenter meant something.
Giving him a license for overkill in every sense of the word is almost an unfair advantage. Giving him the unbelievable Salma Hayek should have been criminal.
Final Rating – 8 / 10. Desperado is a low budget b movie with a plot squeezed as thin as the palest orange, and is nonetheless very nearly great anyway.