Antonio Banderas, Joaquim De Almeida, Salma Hayek, Steve
Buscemi, Cheech Marin, Quentin Tarantino
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
Date: August 26, 2003
August 22, 2003
Reviewed by Dennis Landmann
"Bless me, Father, for I have
just killed quite a few men." - El Mariachi
A gunslinger (Banderas) is
embroiled in a war with a local drug runner (De Almeida).
Desperado is an explosive, kick-ass, and highly enjoyable
film! A loose sequel to El Mariachi, Robert Rodriguez
takes a fairly simple story and turns it into a high-octane,
full-fledged action spectacle. Action and shootouts aside,
Desperado also finds time for some quiet moments. Rodriguez
knows this story and creates some very intense and fun action
sequences to balance the dramatic arc. The film focuses on
revenge after all, and the intensity of it transcends to the
screen in great form and fashion. Not all revenge plots are
interesting, and sometimes they can be boring because viewers
donít really care about the characters.
However, this is not the case with Desperado, because
Rodriguezís script is careful to establish the characters in the
most effective ways. Case in point, Antonio Banderas is terrific
as the mysterious guitar player. He can be deadly (shooting a
lot bullets), compassionate (romancing a love interest), and
friendly (talking to a young boy with his guitar). So yeah, his
character is worth following around to see what will happen to
him. His chemistry with Salma Hayek is great. Hayek makes a
pretty good impression here, showing some fine character depth
and giving off some cool sex appeal. Joaquim De Almeida turns in
a cold, but great performance as the bad guy. Cheech Marinís
bartender is priceless, as is Quentin Tarantinoís piss-beer
scene. Their exits are inevitable, but their stay is enjoyable.
But wait, letís not forget Steve Buscemi.
Thereís not much else left to say here. Desperado kicks
ass! What more do you need to know? What more can I say to make
you watch this film? Certainly, the action will please any
action fan. Sure, itís all pretty violent, but itís also
enjoyable to watch. For a $7 million budget, Rodriguezís film
sure looks double that. Pulling that off is not easy, mind you.
Well, what are you waiting for? Desperado is highly
presents Desperado in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen.
This new release features the same video quality as the previous
special edition 2-pack (including El Mariachi). The
detail is quite excellent, while colors are usually pretty
bright and well-saturated. The print image is sharp and clean
throughout most of the film. Compression artifacts or pixelation
does not occur. Black levels have depth and flesh tones are
accurate. The video transfer here is pretty damn good and suits
the film very well.
Tristar presents Desperado in English Dolby Digital 5.1
Surround Sound. This audio presentation also just about equals
the quality of the prior special edition release. On the whole
this track is pretty cool. Exchanges of gunfire and the roaring
explosions make for some nice surround activity, with the rear
speakers working very actively. Dialog remains clear and easy to
understand. Again, the quality here is excellent. On a side
note, this release does not add the DTS track from the Superbit
You can also
choose to view the film in French 5.1 Surround Sound, as well as
Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Surround.
thing about this special edition is the terrific, informative,
educational, and continuous commentary by Robert Rodriguez.
His comments never restrict to scene-specific stuff. Instead,
Rodriguez fills this track with a lot of technical information,
as well as many interesting and educational production
anecdotes. The amount of detail present here is overwhelming,
but also very rewarding. It appears he never takes a breather as
his comments just flow out one after another. This track is
highly recommended; excellent stuff!
here is the 10 More Minutes with Robert Rodriguez
documentary, entitled "Anatomy of a Shootout." This is a great
resource of information and educational value, as you see
different aspects of how Rodriguez orchestrates the film, from
the storyboards to the pre-visualization of scenes using a video
camera. Itís a pretty detailed look at the making of the film.
This is cool stuff.
Next is a
sneak peek at Once Upon a Time in
the third film in the series to conclude the El Mariachi
trilogy. The series of behind-the-scenes clips run about 4 and
half minutes, including some exciting footage and interviews
with the major cast members, including Antonio Banderas, Johnny
Depp, and Salma Hayek. But for some reason Rodriguez doesnít
appear in here.
the extras is the filmís Theatrical Trailer, plus
bonus trailers for
Once Upon a Time in
Mexico and Love and a Bullet,
as well as brief
edition DVD release is basically the same thing as the previous
one as the commentary and documentary is reproduced. This
release only exists as part of Columbiaís marketing move to give
fans of the series a brief sneak peek at the upcoming third
film. There is no reason for anyone owning the previous special
edition release to upgrade as presentations and extras are of
the same great quality. By the way, the new cover art
designed especially for this re-release looks freaking awful!
Just thought I'd lay down my two cents on that issue.
select to view the film with optional English, French, Spanish,
Portuguese, Thai, and Chinese (Mandarin) subtitles. The DVDís
menus are not animated. The 103-minute feature is organized into
it here again. This special edition re-release is nothing more
than a strategic marketing move. Anyone with the previous DVD
doesnít need to get this one. However, for those of you who
donít own the special edition, get it now! Even if you have the
Superbit, the video/audio quality is nearly the same. The extras
here are worth the purchase price alone, but first and foremost
itís Desperado as a film that makes me recommend this
DVD; generally speaking. On the other hand, this DVD comes
highly recommended to consumers new to this film or special
(not an average)
VERDICT: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED