Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 2003. Columbia Pictures, Dimension Films, Troublemaker Studios. Screenplay by Robert Rodriguez. Cinematography by Robert Rodriguez. Produced by Elizabeth Avellan, Carlos Gallardo, Robert Rodriguez. Music by Robert Rodriguez. Production Design by Robert Rodriguez. Costume Design by Graciela Mazon. Film Editing by Robert Rodriguez.
The events of Desperado have now been followed up by a grandly filmed sequel, with Antonio Banderas returning as the guitar-slinging gunman and Salma Hayek making a brief appearance as his beautiful love interest. The cast has been filled out with a whole new bevy of sidekicks and villains, from a debuting Enrique Iglesias as Banderas’s co-mariachi, Johnny Depp as a scene-stealing crooked CIA agent who wants to encourage a presidential coup d’etat but wants to get rid of the man planning on staging it, and Willem Dafoe as a drug lord for whom the political maneuver is a chance to score big dough. Also thrown into the mix are Eva Mendes as an earnest FBI agent and Rubén Blades as an ex-agent who decides to get involved in order to avenge the death of his former partner at Dafoe’s hands. Mexico’s sunburnt roofs and arid streets look terrific in Robert Rodriguez’s attempt to recreate the world of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns, but his story is too broadly plotted. Banderas is terrific but his character is not focused on enough and the story would have benefited from concentrating more on the terrific rapport between him, Iglesias and Marco Leonardi as the third player in their assassination-music troupe. Depp is easily the best reason to watch the movie, though it’s probably because his is the only role free of clichés, willing to deal his narrative hand early in the game before the unsatisfying climax. The bloody shoot-out that ends this supposed epic is a huge letdown, with the story fizzling out instead of going down in a blaze of glory.