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Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Sam Sheppard



I have a short list of things that must be done in this lifetime. They include things like: kill and eat something with my bare hands, fake my own death at least once, kill a boy band member (I’m not picky, any of them will do), and of course, direct a Once Upon a Time in… film. All of the predecessors have kicked ass so I was really looking forward to seeing this one.
Sadly I was a little disappointed. This is not to say that it isn’t a great film – it’s an awesome film – but I was just expecting more. El Mariachi and Desperado were fantastic. Desperado in particular was intended to test the limits of the audience’s ability to suspend their disbelief, and it worked. The film was brilliant. By the time we get to Once Upon a Time in Mexico however, Antonio’s action sequences just seem like a rehash of the same old stuff (with the exception of a nice little chase sequence. That works).
The film also relies a lot more heavily on comedy – outrageous comedy that borders on lunacy. Drunken gunfighters jump out and try to shoot, not realising that they’ve forgotten to unholster their guns, Antonio’s guitar scene looks like an Enrique Iglesias music video, Enrique Iglesias looks like an action star and Mickey Rourke spends the entire film cradling a chihuahua.
It’s not the fact that it’s not funny, its great stuff, it’s just that most of the actors don’t have the range to pull it off. Except for Johnny Depp of course. But Johnny Depp rules. Señor Depp is the reason you MUST see this film. You will spend this time wishing these damn filler scenes without him would hurry up so that you can get back to laughing like a spastic. While everyone else is tripping over their dialogue, he turns such atrocious lines as: “Are you a Mexi-can or a Mexi-can’t?” into gold.
So see this film. It’s brilliant. I was just expecting perfection.
Directored by Robert Rodriguez
Hoyts, Reading