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Condition: Very Good (Open Box/Used) - Amazon.com
Guns, guns, guns! And a few explosions as bodies fly through the air and crash into tables and fruit stands. Once Upon a Time in Mexico, like all Robert Rodriguez movies, is all about the kinetic kick of high-velocity action. Johnny Depp, blase and whimsical, plays a CIA agent who's drawn guitar-playing gun-slinger Antonio Banderas (long black hair flopping over his face like the ears of a Labrador puppy) into a ridiculously convoluted plot to overthrow the Mexican government. Along for the ride are a craggy-faced rogue's gallery including Willem Dafoe, Mickey Rourke, Danny Trejo, Ruben Blades, and (to balance things out) the smooth, tantalizing complexions of Eva Mendes and Salma Hayek. For sheer trashy fun, Once Upon a Time in Mexico is a step down from its predecessor, Desperado--but Desperado set the bar pretty high. For coherent storytelling, look elsewhere, but for action razzle-dazzle, this is your movie. --Bret Fetzer
Leaping back into action, gun-slinging, guitar-toting hero El Mariachi is back in town in ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO, as writer/director Robert Rodriguez delivers the epic final chapter of his pulp Western trilogy. Now remastered in high definition for Blu-ray? starring Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp, Mickey Rourke, Eva Mendes, Danny Trejo, Enrique Iglesias, Rub?n Blades and Willem Dafoe, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO is a full-frontal assault.
It's obvious that Robert Rodriguez has as much fun putting together a DVD as he does making a film. Start with his rapid-fire commentary track in which he spills forth everything from his overview of the Mariachi series to how he partly wanted to make the film just so he could use high-def cameras after he saw footage from Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Then listen to the score and sound effects in full bloom on the isolated track, supplemented by Rodriguez sharing stories, identifying themes, and playing demos. His comments are intermittent, but he tells you where to skip to if you just want to listen to him. His Ten Minute Flick School, continuing a feature from the first two films, is a terrific, fast-moving glance at the filmmaking process that's much more interesting than most making-of documentaries. Riffing on that theme, the Ten Minute Cooking School (OK, it's only six minutes) shows how to make the slow-roasted pork dish that Johnny Depp's character loves. Picture and sound quality are very good, though not up to the high standards set by the Superbit version of Desperado. --David HoriuchiFeatures
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