Director: Robert Rodriguez
If “El Mariachi” was Robert Rodriguez’ “A Fistul of Dollars”, this is his “For a Few Dollars More”… Actually, 6 993 000 dollars more!
How do you say… Ah yes: Antonio Banderas reprises the role of El Mariachi (first played by Carlos Gallardo, who cameos as one of Banderas’ “bandmates”). Here you’ve got a guy whose whole life has been robbed from him. All he ever wanted to do is play guitar, but he was mistaken for a hitman by drug dealers and ended up with his girlfriend dead and a hand almost severed. And now he’s back, looking for revenge. He’s just this side of insanity, obsessed as he is to kill every thug that gets in his way. His goal is to get to the mysterious crime lord Bucho (Joaquim de Almeida), who he deems responsible of the street violence that ruined his existence. With the help of his wisecracking buddy (played by a wisecracking Steve Buscemi), he goes from bars to bars looking for information on Bucho’s whereabouts, leaving a trail of blood. And then he meets the sexy librarian Carolina (Salma Hayek), who’ll help him not to be blinded by his anger and face his enemy…
I’m telling you, I’m reaching here. This film has so little story that it could evaporate. You’ve got this mariachi who kills a lot of people, bangs a hot girl and plays guitar, too. No character development, no emotional involvment, no depth. This is less a sequel to “El Mariachi” than an overblown remake. That doesn’t mean that this isn’t a kick ass movie. Roberto Rodriguez is an extremely gifted action director who does marvels with his camera. The shoot-outs are inventive, fast and exciting, and the film always look gorgeous. I love the Mexican feel of it, with the dirt and the heat almost pouring out the screen and the Los Lobos score giving the movie a unique feel. Banderas is very, very cool. He’s charismatic, and man does he have attitude! Salma Hayek’s role might be not much more than the love interest, but she’s so full of energy and humor that she almost steals the film. Then there’s Buscemi who brings some comic relief, as does Quentin Tarantino, who has only one scene but hits it out of the ballpark. Cheech Marin is also a lot of fun as the bartender, and few are as effective as ruthless killers as Danny Trejo .
I love Rodriguez’ style, and his film is always fun. Too bad he didn’t bother giving his story and characters more depth.