ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO Add To My Top 10

Content -3
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Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: September 12, 2003

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp, Ruben Blades, Eva Mendes, Willem Dafoe, and Mickey Rourke

Genre: Action

Audience: Adults REVIEWER: Eric
Rice ONCE UPON A TIME IN
MEXICO is the final film in
the EL MARIACHI trilogy. About
15 years ago a young
Mexican-American-Texan named
Robert Rodriguez stunned
Hollywood by writing,
producing, directing, scoring,
and editing a feature length
film, shot on location in
Mexico…for $7,000. The
amazing thing was that, though
tough and bloody, it was a
good movie! Soon, he was on
his way. With the help of
Quentin Tarantino, Robert
started creating movies in
Hollywood. Some were
memorable…some not. In 1995,
he made a sequel to EL
MARIACHI, starring Antonio
Banderas, that had a real
Hollywood budget and effects.
The cost of catering the meals
for DESPERADO was more than
the entire budget of EL
MARIACHI. Though it was very
bloody and violent, DESPERADO
did fairly well at the box
office. Lately, Rodriguez has
wowed and pleased audiences
with the SPY KIDS movies. ONCE
UPON A TIME IN MEXICO is not a
children's movie. It matches
the blood letting of GANGS OF
NEW YORK. The difference being
that the viewer of ONCE UPON A
TIME IN MEXICO is supposed to
laugh at some of it! Wearing
his normal six to eight hats
(yes RR shows up eight times
in the credits), Mr. Rodriguez
seems to have intentionally
made a fairly sloppy movie.
Designed to be in the
comic-book-brought-to-film
genre that is so popular, Mr.
Rodriguez pushes the use of a
stylized red and yellow motif,
over-the-top cold killers, and
jump cuts to the limits of
taste. There are times it
appears that he is making fun
of himself or satirizing his
earlier films. The EL MARIACHI
series is based on revenge.
The lead character's wife
(Salma Hayek) and daughter are
killed (some think along with
the mariachi himself), but he
returns to wreck unimaginable
havoc upon the evildoers. In
this case, it's another drug
lord bent on taking over
Mexico with his dozens of
henchmen. Johnny Depp steals
most of the scenes playing a
rogue, psychotic CIA agent
called Sands. Sands is a
puppeteer behind the scenes.
He hires the mariachi to kill
a general that is intent on a
coup against the Mexican
President. It turns out that
the general is the same man
who killed the mariachi's wife
and daughter. He's actually
getting paid to exact his own
revenge. Bullets fly. Blood
Splatters. Bodies fall in slow
motion. Repeat for 95 minutes
adding cruelty, torture, and
humor to mix it up. The
president is saved. The bad
guys die violently. The
mariachi walks in slow motion
down the highway with a
Mexican flag draped across his
chest. Fade to
black. Rodriguez knows how to
shoot action, and the action
only slows for some brief
dialogue that, in some cases,
is fairly clever. The music
(again by RR), mostly Spanish
guitar, is very good. Marred
by graphic violence, cruelty,
and foul language, ONCE UPON A
TIME IN MEXICO is not suitable
for moral audiences. Let's
pray that Robert Rodriguez
directs his attention back to
the action/family films that
he does so well. Please
address your comments to: John
Calley, Chairman/CEO Sony
Pictures Entertainment 10202
West Washington Blvd. Culver
City, CA 90232-3195 Phone:
(310) 244-4000 Fax: (310)
244-2626 Web Page:
www.spe.sony.com/

Rating: R

Runtime: 95 minutes

Distributor: Sony

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Executive Producer:

Producer: Elizabeth Avellan, Carlos Gallardo, Tony Mark, and Robert Rodriguez

Writer: Robert Rodriguez

Address Comments To:

Content:

(PaPa, B, LLL, VV, S, N, AA, D, MM) Pagan worldview glorifying violence and the "3 G's" - gold, glory, and girls with some biblical elements with lead character asking God to forgive him; strong language with seven profanities and 30 obscenities, most of them strong; violence includes torture, death by car wreck, gunfire, fire, falling, knives, and explosives; sex includes scantily-clad women dancing in a bar; alcohol use portrayed; smoking portrayed; misc. immorality includes lying, cheating, stealing, & revenge.

GENRE: Action

PaPa

B

LLL

N

AA

D

MM

S

VV

Summary:

In ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO, a mariachi hit man is hired to stop a drug lord from overthrowing the Mexican government - the same drug lord that murdered the mariachi's wife and daughter. With lots of action violence, including cruelty and torture, this third movie in the EL MARIACHI trilogy is a scary jump from Rodriguez's lighter, sweeter SPY KIDS series.

Review:

ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO is the final film in the EL MARIACHI trilogy. About 15 years ago a young Mexican-American-Texan named Robert Rodriguez stunned Hollywood by writing, producing, directing, scoring, and editing a feature length film, shot on location in Mexico…for $7,000. The amazing thing was that, though tough and bloody, it was a good movie!

Soon, he was on his way. With the help of Quentin Tarantino, Robert started creating movies in Hollywood. Some were memorable…some not. In 1995, he made a sequel to EL MARIACHI, starring Antonio Banderas, that had a real Hollywood budget and effects. The cost of catering the meals for DESPERADO was more than the entire budget of EL MARIACHI. Though it was very bloody and violent, DESPERADO did fairly well at the box office. Lately, Rodriguez has wowed and pleased audiences with the SPY KIDS movies.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO is not a children's movie. It matches the blood letting of GANGS OF NEW YORK. The difference being that the viewer of ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO is supposed to laugh at some of it! Wearing his normal six to eight hats (yes RR shows up eight times in the credits), Mr. Rodriguez seems to have intentionally made a fairly sloppy movie. Designed to be in the comic-book-brought-to-film genre that is so popular, Mr. Rodriguez pushes the use of a stylized red and yellow motif, over-the-top cold killers, and jump cuts to the limits of taste. There are times it appears that he is making fun of himself or satirizing his earlier films.

The EL MARIACHI series is based on revenge. The lead character's wife (Salma Hayek) and daughter are killed (some think along with the mariachi himself), but he returns to wreck unimaginable havoc upon the evildoers. In this case, it's another drug lord bent on taking over Mexico with his dozens of henchmen.

Johnny Depp steals most of the scenes playing a rogue, psychotic CIA agent called Sands. Sands is a puppeteer behind the scenes. He hires the mariachi to kill a general that is intent on a coup against the Mexican President. It turns out that the general is the same man who killed the mariachi's wife and daughter. He's actually getting paid to exact his own revenge.

Bullets fly. Blood Splatters. Bodies fall in slow motion. Repeat for 95 minutes adding cruelty, torture, and humor to mix it up. The president is saved. The bad guys die violently. The mariachi walks in slow motion down the highway with a Mexican flag draped across his chest. Fade to black.

Rodriguez knows how to shoot action, and the action only slows for some brief dialogue that, in some cases, is fairly clever. The music (again by RR), mostly Spanish guitar, is very good. Marred by graphic violence, cruelty, and foul language, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO is not suitable for moral audiences. Let's pray that Robert Rodriguez directs his attention back to the action/family films that he does so well.

Please address your comments to:

John Calley, Chairman/CEO

Sony Pictures Entertainment

10202 West Washington Blvd.

Culver City, CA 90232-3195

Phone: (310) 244-4000

Fax: (310) 244-2626

Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/

SUMMARY: In ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO, a mariachi hit man is hired to stop a drug lord from overthrowing the Mexican government - the same drug lord that murdered the mariachi's wife and daughter. With lots of action violence, including cruelty and torture, this third movie in the EL MARIACHI trilogy is a scary jump from Rodriguez's lighter, sweeter SPY KIDS series.

In Brief: