Once Upon A Time In Mexico


Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Written by:Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp, Mickey Rourke, Eva Mendes, Enrique Iglesias, Willem Dafoe, Cheech Marin, Ruben Blades
Released: February 27, 2004
Grade: B-

I expected much better.  Once Upon A Time In Mexico is the third film in the series from writer/director Robert Rodriguez following 1992’s El Mariachi and 1995’s Desperado.  Antonio Banderas is back in the leading role but the only star of this film is Johnny Depp.  In the space of twelve months, Depp has shown that an otherwise ordinary character can be turned into something far more interesting.  I’m not the only one who agrees.  The Academy just awarded him with an Oscar nomination for Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl.

Depp plays a corrupt C.I.A. agent looking to kill a Mexican general.  There are many characters in the mix and given it’s been a few days since I’ve seen the film, it’s all become a blur.  Why couldn’t Rodriguez have made a more memorable film?  There’s a president in there somewhere and Antonio Banderas is a drifting guitar player looking to settle an old score.  Eva Mendes and Enrique Iglesias provide eye candy for the younger audience and Willem Dafoe and Mickey Rourke are in there to show that old guys still have what it takes.  That’s about that.

My point is that this film is just a glossed up muddle of action scenes lacking in story.  When you consider his first two films were made for less than $5m, Rodriguez hasn’t done enough with his $29m budget this time around.  He’s paid for some better actors and some half-decent stunt scenes but there’s no flow to the story and aside from Depp, not enough humour to appeal to me.

And that’s my two pesos.