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Once Upon a Time in Mexico
DVD disk
Oct 7, 2004 By: Indiana Sev
Once Upon a Time in Mexico order
Director:
Robert Rodriguez

Actors:
Antonio Banderas
Salma Hayek
Johnny Depp

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
El mariachi (Banderas) is back and this time hes surrounded himself with even cooler actors. Antonio plays a guitar player who moonlights as a legendary gunman and all-around nice guy. Hes the kind of guy who will fight as much for his country (Mexico) as he will for his woman (Hayek). So when Mexicos president is on the hit list of the same jerk who killed his wife, he recruits Julio Iglesias son and the other guy and starts shooting bullets
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This movie follows Rodriguezs previous mariachi films EL MARIACHI and DESPERADO; and to be completely honest, its just more of the same. Besides a couple of fancier action sequences and a kickass cast, it isnt any different or original than the previous efforts. In fact, I found myself pretty bored through most of this film. It does have one hell of a saving grace though a man who goes by the name of Johnny Depp. Johnny-boy plays a corrupt CIA agent playing all sides and hes blessed with having some hilarious one-liners that, combined with Depps great delivery, made for some pretty funny scenes. The sinfully sexy (and underused) Eva Mendes and the delicious Salma Hayek were also fun to look at on the rare occasion they showed up. Still, the king of cool and two gorgeous sexpots werent enough to stop me from yawning myself to the finish line.

Maybe I was expecting a truly original story or an epic-type experience like the other Once Upon a Time in movies, but this wasn't it. No stand out score, no stand out performances (except by the aforementioned Edward Scissorhands) and no suspenseful or memorable scenes. Still, if you want a straight-up action romp with shit blowing up, sexy ladies and not much else, than thisll surely please you. If you want a little ketchup and mustard on it though - this wont do at all. EL MARIACHI was ten times more enjoyable than this. Robert Rodriguez shoots fast, knows how to move the camera, can write some pretty nifty dialogue...and is much better than this. This is below him and as it turned out, below me as well.
THE EXTRAS
Audio Commentary by Robert Rodriguez: It doesn't get any better than Robert Rodriguez commentaries. The man is very involved in almost every aspect of his movies and it's a real treat to hear him take you through his movies. His enthusiasm for film is addictive and he talks a lot, both good things to have in an audio commentary. He drops jokes and names and the whole thing ends up being very enjoyable - more than the movie itself. There is an additional commentary track in which he discusses the music & sound for the film. That stuff doesn't interest me, but being as Robert scored the film as well, it's quite thorough.

8 Deleted Scenes: A few deleted scenes with optional commentary by Rodriguez. These are pretty short, nothing special. A few cool Depp ones though.

Ten-Minute Flick School: Here's a secret: Rodriguez is a very cool filmmaker. In this little featurette, he takes you through a few scenes and all the little tricks he used to make them work under his tight shooting schedule. This is a very entertaining ten-minute ride. Some very nice "movie-magic" moments.

Inside Troublemaker Studios: Great stuff here, boys! Robert's house is a virtual movie studio. The rebel filmmaker take you through his house/garage and every other nook and cranny and shows you how he cuts his films. You will absolutely love Rodriguez after seeing this. I want to live there - I shit you not. Plus, he sports a badass cowboy hat in this. I love you Rob! I almost wished I enjoyed the movie after seeing how cool a guy he is. But I didn't.

Ten-Minute Cooking School: Rob attaches a camera to himself and whips something up in his kitchen for you. This man is cooler than I will ever be. Very original and fun featurette.

Film is Dead: An Evening with Robert Rodriguez: In July 2003, Rodriguez sat down at the Cary Grant Theater in L.A. and spoke a bit about his movie. Rob's a charming guy with an addictive personality and this is yet another fun and informative little (13 minutes) extra in a DVD full of great ones. He speaks about the new innovative digital cameras that he's now using to shoot his movies. Thus the title -film is dead.

The Anti-Hero's Journey: An 18-minute featurette which traces Robert's journey from EL MARIACHI to DESPERADO to ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO. In the end, this ends up being a behind-the-scenes look at the film, complete with interviews with Depp, Rodriguez, Banderas et al.

The Good, The Bad and The Bloody: A Look at the Special Effect: 19 minutes of special effects magic? Yawn! This never interests me but it's as good as other features of this type, so dig in if you want to - you've been warned.

We also get DVD-ROM Features and Games, as well as Trailers.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This film wasnt what I expected. It wasnt epic, it wasnt engrossing and it wasnt particularly original either. For action fans, itll do the trick, for others, it will leave you wanting much, much more. The extras on the other hand, are some of the best and most entertaining Ive ever seen. A purchase for film school fanatics, a rental for Rodriguez junkies, but for everybody else, a suggestion to steer clear.
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