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Desperado (1995)



Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 7

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 187,186

My Rating

Movie Info

Director Robert Rodriguez picks up where his successful independent debut El Mariachi left off with this slam-bang South of the Border action saga. Bucho (Joaquim DeAlmeida) is a wealthy but casually bloodthirsty drug kingpin who rules a seedy Mexican border town. Bucho and his men make the mistake of angering El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas), a former musician who now carries an arsenal in his guitar case. Bucho was responsible for the death of El Mariachi's girlfriend and put a bullet through


Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure

Robert Rodriguez

Jun 25, 1997

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Watch It Now


Latest News on Desperado

August 21, 2014:
Robert Rodriguez's 10 Best Movies
Since breaking into Hollywood in 1992 with his low-budget masterpiece El Mariachi, Robert Rodriguez...
May 8, 2007:
Banderas Denies "Sin City 2" Gig
Just because he's worked with Robert Rodriguez a half-dozen times already, that doesn't mean Antonio...


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All Critics (41) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (15) | DVD (28)

Rodriguez's second feature may be a rambling, derivative exercise in gratuitous violence, but its determination to proceed as if the word 'restraint' never existed makes for gleeful entertainment.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Rodriguez may be good enough to make a film about anything, but Desperado would collapse if its characters had to do anything but play with guns.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What Rodriguez has essentially done in Desperado is make a slicker, more expensive copy of what came before. And what looked promising for $7,000 looks tiresome for a whole lot more.

August 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The routine gets tiresome for the Mariachi, and for the audience, too, after about an hour.

June 18, 2002 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Desperado is best when Rodriguez lets his playful side cut through the blare of a born filmmaker indulging his first chance at high-end Hollywood fireworks.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What happens looks terrific. Now if [Rodriguez] can harness that technical facility to a screenplay that's more story than setup, he might really have something.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comment (1)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Within Rodriguez' pulp formula stories are little pockets of ingenuity.

July 30, 2007 Full Review Source:

Rodriguez's follow-up is unquestionably formulaic but mercifully free of the flat dialogue and arch one-liners that undermine so many action films.

March 13, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A slicker, more expensive version than El Mariach, except that what was promising and charming for $7,000 now looks tiresome and repetitious for $7 million

June 20, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

An incredibly violent and infinitely entertaining shoot-'em-up.

December 5, 2004 Full Review Source:

A supreme example of style vs. substance - and style wins!

February 21, 2004 Full Review Source:

Desperado has merit as a guilty pleasure, but when the violence and action grow tiresome, the film has nothing to hang its hat on.

September 26, 2003

Slick, funny and exciting, but falls apart in the end.

July 25, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

A zesty action thriller that recycles the best of the B genres and rolls them into a big-budget, pistol-packing extravaganza that in its best moments leaves you breathless with wonder.

May 14, 2003
Palo Alto Weekly

Brilliantly made, if not especially deep, actioneer with nice cast.

February 2, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

I love Rodriguez' style, and his film is always fun. Too bad he didn't bother giving his story and characters more depth.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal
Montreal Film Journal

Many characters and situations are repetitive and the film is overlong, and at times even boring.

September 9, 2002 Full Review

Banderas oozes sexual charisma and strength, and the supporting cast is strong all around, especially a wily Steve Buscemi as the Mariachi's friend.

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

A movie that was probably more fun to make than it is to watch.

April 17, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Scouts

If Rodriguez is still stumbling forward, finding his way, at least he's got panache and character. Sometimes, that is enough.

January 27, 2002 Full Review Source:

Enough blood to fill a swimming pool!

October 11, 2001 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Desperado

This is a very wild, cool, and stylish film, even if it ends up being style over substance and story (with a messy and scattershot narrative to boot).

In a way, this is more of a remake than a loose sequel or spin off. The original mariachi from El Mariachi does make an appearance, but this film is essentially the same story as the first, but with a different guy who knows the first guy. Make sense? Well, if not, don't worry. It's of no real consequence anyway.

The action and stunts are inventive, done well, and a joy to watch. Buscemi and Tarantino ham it up in some fun supporting roles, and both Banderas and Hayek (especially Hayek, *wink* *wink*) are great to watch. I have a big attachment to this movie as I saw it at a young age and it introduced me to Rodriguez's work. It also kinda made me wanna make action movies, too.

Like I said, it's got some flaws, but for solid action spectacle entertainment, this is a good film to turn to.
May 25, 2013
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Antonio Banderas takes up the mantle of the wandering mariachi hunting the drug dealer who murdered the woman he loved and ruined his life. Although Desperado continues from where El Mariachi left off, it's more a bigger budget re-invention of the original than a true sequel, in a similar vein to Evil Dead II. With more resources at his disposal, Rodriguez fulfills all the potential of the idea, with some fantastic John Woo influenced action sequences which have a kind of ultra violent dance choreography and employs his now familiar ensemble cast including Cheech Marin, Quentina Tarantino, Steve Buscemi and Danny Trejo. Banderas has never been cooler, Salma Hayek never more gorgeous and it's a sexy, stylish and hugely entertaining left-field shoot-'em up with just the right amount of tongue in cheek humour. Still one of my favourite Robert Rodriguez films.
August 14, 2012
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Desperado is probably Robert Rodriguez's greatest achievement. In many ways it combines all the concepts he's dealt with since, but this is the crown jewel in terms of delivery. It manages to make sense out of what should be a terrible idea. When you hear "guitar playing action movie with a love story", it sounds like a bad telenovela. However, with a little bit of style, excellent casting and some of the most over-the-top moments, you get the masterpiece that is Desperado. Robert Rodriguez captures a combined stylization of Spaghetti Western, exploitation and comic book. It makes you accept the utterly bizarre elements; such as a rocket launcher guitar case. Antonio Banderas is at his absolute finest as the Mariachi, making a truly unforgettable character with endlessly cool character moments and a commanding presence. Robert Rodriguez tops this all off with one of his classic Carpenter-like soundtracks that gives so much weight to the characters and story. It's hard to take this as a sequel to El Mariachi because it possesses a completely different tone, goal and overall quality. It?M)s a complete mastery of skill and original storytelling as opposed to a really excellent low budget film.
May 18, 2011

Super Reviewer

Desperado is one intense ride. Robert Rodriguez helms this film with an eye for insane action and he delivers a terrific film. The cast chosen to support the film are an interesting bunch of varied talent. Desperado is a well made action film with a truly awesome concept. If you see the film you'll understand why. A mariachi musician goes on a revenge rampage with an arsenal of weapons hidden in his guitar and his guitar case. Totally cool and off the wall. Some will love the over exaggeration, some will not. This is the type of film that you really need to shut your brain off. If you don't take it seriously, and it's hard to take it seriously; you'll see it as a fun, adrenaline pulse pounding action film that delivers a mindless plot with nonstop action. Some films can get away with offering the viewer little plot thats very ridiculous and Desperado is such a film. I loved Robert Rodriguez' choices for some of the roles. Joaquin De Almeida is great and so is Salma Hayek. Rodriguez has always delivered a solid action film that is filmed in a lavish setting (Sin City is another terrific example). One thing I admire about Rodriguez is how he's able to pull off a mindless action film so well. Also for most of his films, Rodriguez always a cast of actors who spanned different genres of film and extremely versatile in their own ways. I mean Buscemi is rarely cast in an action film, he mostly plays in dark humoured oriented comedies (Fargo). So it's nice to see a filmmaker taking advantage with such talent to create a film that is one helluva mindless adrenaline ride. A great cast of varied actors and a well written revenge idea makes this a must see film if you're in need of being entertained
May 11, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

    1. El Mariachi: But I told you already. I'm a musician. This is my guitar.
    – Submitted by Bryan O (5 months ago)
    1. El Mariachi: Carolina, did I thank you?
    2. Carolina: No.
    3. El Mariachi: I will.
    – Submitted by Nick S (2 years ago)
    1. Buscemi: So, I'm sitting there, and in walks the biggest Mexican I have ever seen.
    – Submitted by Sam B (3 years ago)
    1. Pick-up Guy: Is that goin' on right now?
    – Submitted by Alfonso E. V (3 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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