El Mariachi Reviews
A traveling mariachi is mistaken for a murderous criminal and must hide from a gang bent on killing him.
What could easily be viewed as just a simple B-movie turns into an impressive, action-packed independent feature from director Robert Rodriguez. It's the volatile, gripping story of a wandering guitarist who arrives in a small Mexican town looking for a big break, but unfortunately a case of mistaken identity makes him the target of the town's cold-blooded boss and his vile henchmen who are bent on killing him. Shot for a remarkable $7,000, and featuring a cast of newcomers and generally unknowns, this formidable little feature still packs a punch with violent, pumped-up action scenes and credible performances. Nothing ever truly breathtaking, but a respectable showing nonetheless.
Gritty and violent with a few brief flashes of brilliance.
Unlike the sequels, this Mexican-made, so it is in Spanish with English subtitles. Don't let that scare you away. There isn't a great deal of dialog so keeping up with the subtitles is very easy.
The movie has very interesting camera closeups and angles as Rodriquez showed he was going to be a stylish director. The story is simple but effective, suspenseful and even with some humor. Unnlike his subsequent films in this trilogy, the action is not overdone here.
The length is also is a plus. At 80 minutes you can be thoroughly entertained in less than an hour-and-a half. The only disappointment to me was the print quality on th DVD, but I got an early edition. There might be better editions out since. It's not fuzzy but it's not sharp, either.
Anyway: highly recommend for actions/crime buffs who like style in their photography, or saw the sequels and would like to know the history of this particular "Mariachi."
Making a $7000 movie look really good never seemed so cool. Robert Rodriguez's breakthrough film, and the beginning of his Mariachi Trilogy.
The story is very straight forward. A man arrives in town with hopes of finding work as a Mariachi. Meanwhile, a man with a guitar case full of weapons is in the same town looking to kill a drug lord and his minions. Both the Mariachi and the Killer become mistaken for one another, and action ensues.
Everything is super low budget, at a reported $7000, but it's fun. It's a good way to show things to come from Rodriguez. He shows from the beginning that he knows how to make an action movie. Complete with speed-ups, inventive action scenes, and other ways to make a cheap and fast paced action flick.
It also helps that there are fun characters at play, along with some good music, and some Mexican authenticity.
El Mariachi: Free coconuts, I was already starting to like this town.
I wish Carlos Gallardo had reprised his role as the Mariachi in the sequel. He has a lot of charm, and Antonio Banderas has always been pretty flat to me. :\
Besides his and the leading lady's performances, the acting is pretty much the pits, especially the main villain's. Ouch.