Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003) Review:

****(There's a spoiler in this review)****

Sequels to franchises fail all the time in cinema history. And there are many factors that are involved with this downfall but they all have something in common. The lack of care taken into consideration for the main character of the story. Sometimes it's less character development, and sometimes it's because the whole plot is turned upside down on the main character. But what this specific film does is almost ignore the presence of its main character completely!

Yeah,...the stuff with Salma Hayek is either backstory
or a dream sequence....which is disappointing
After having a successful run releasing El Mariachi (1992) and Desperado (1995), it was time for director Robert Rodriguez to finish his famous trilogy. And it's hard to believe that this film would do badly because it has the same director and the same actors right? But somehow, it still manages to pull off as being obnoxious. Antonio Banderas is back as "El", the once ruthless killer who swore revenge on Bucho, who had his wife murdered (Desperado (1995)). Now, he's back but this time to kill a man named General Marquez.

Why does El Mariachi need to kill another man? Didn't he get his revenge? The answer is yes to all these questions. So what's the revenge for? The vital information that the viewer is missing is quite important. I'm not one for spoiling films but this has to be addressed. El Mariachi is going to kill Marquez because the general killed Carolina, Salma Hayek's character. Now for any viewer who really likes her character better not be surprised when Hayek's character is barely in this film. It truly is a disappointment because the intro to this sequel is really exciting. Even the trailer to this film is also very deceptive,...it makes it look like Salma Hayek's character actively participates in it. Just kidding.

The problem is that Johnny Depp practically IS
the main character, not El Mariachi!
Besides this though, the real problem lies in how the story was executed. Johnny Depp also stars in this film as a C.I.A. agent who, in his eyes, is "restoring the balance to the country". It's a fine idea and all but the story becomes so focused on Depp's plan, than it is, on its anti-hero, El Mariachi. Depp does have some funny lines but it's almost like Antonio Banderas' character took a back seat in this film. It's actually quite unsettling because El Mariachi is what made the franchise what it was; not some stuck-up C.I.A. agent. Desperado was a simple story about a man looking for revenge. This is about another man needing a man to get revenge on an enemy so another man can take power. Confusing no?

Everything else is fair in this movie. The script still has its moments of comedy, bloody action and loud gunshots. The only difference is that there just doesn't seem like there's enough of it because the camera isn't focused on El Mariachi all the time. The music is also still a joy to listen to because of all the Hispanic tunes. This movie isn't a bad film,...but it definitely could have been much better.

Once Upon a Time in Mexico tries to replicate the over the top action from its predecessors but it's bogged down with too much story and not enough of "El". Plus, with the lack of vital plot points, some fans may be highly disappointed with the end result.

Points Earned --> 6:10

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