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Once Upon A Time In Mexico (2003)

Desperado II: Once Upon a Time in Mexico

The time has come

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 102 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

As far as smart-arsed self-obsessed sequels that aren’t half as good as they think they are go, ‘Once Upon a Time in Mexico’ is right up there alongside ‘Matrix: Reloaded’.

Situated somewhere between Sergio Leone and Quentin Tarantino but nowhere near the standards of either, this (hopefully) final part of Robert Rodriguez’s ‘El Mariachi’ series sees the usual faces and a string of new ones appear for yet another shoot ‘em up, Me-hee-co style.

Antonio Banderas is once again spangled up to the nines as the swarthy geetar-strumming centre-piece, leaping around various buildings like Spiderman whilst dodging the poorly-aimed bullets of some of the worst shots this side of the Pecos. He even manages to get himself involved in a gun fight in a church which, let’s face it, just isn’t on.

So what’s it all about? Well, he’s been recruited by CIA agent Sands (Johnny Depp) to assist in the protection of El Presidente (Pedro Armendiraz). Willem Defoe’s somewhat comically made-up to look like a fellow Latino (we’re none of us buying it) who fancies a bit of a military coup, Eva Mendes is his side-switching daughter, Mickey Rourke wanders around holding a Chihuahua, and Enrique bloody Iglesias resists the temptation to either sing more than a couple of lines or wear a daft woolly hat. I suppose we should just be thankful Ricky Martin doesn’t pop up as well.

Stylish at the expense of pretty much everything else, distinguishing the various dream and flashback sequences from reality is practically impossible – predominantly because even the reality isn’t particularly realistic. Rodriguez tries so hard to make his end product cool, but what’s so impressive about that? Personally I’d choose entertainment and a good, solid story over quirky editing and trendy framing any day of the week.

It's Got: Johnny Depp picking up where he left off in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and stealing all of his scenes.

It Needs: A hefty kick in the nachos.


Gunfire and violence alone don’t equate to a good story – it’s not funny, it’s not clever, it’s not sexy, and it’s not remotely interesting. It is one thing though – complete rubbish.