Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

3.0 15
Director: Robert Rodriguez

Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp


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While most would attest that Robert Rodriguez's Once Upon a Time in Mexico wasn't quite up to his earlier entries in the Mariachi series, you can't help but think differently about the man and the movie after diving headfirst into this wonderful DVD from Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. Packed with a million stories, each and every extra on the disc…  See more details below


While most would attest that Robert Rodriguez's Once Upon a Time in Mexico wasn't quite up to his earlier entries in the Mariachi series, you can't help but think differently about the man and the movie after diving headfirst into this wonderful DVD from Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. Packed with a million stories, each and every extra on the disc paints an amazing picture of a filmmaker at the height of his creativity during an unheard-of quick shoot. Written in one weekend, with a two-week window for pre-production, and just seven weeks allowed for filming -- the making-of the picture is just as engaging as the film itself. Technically, the disc is a marvel, with a pristine digital transfer that brings out the wide color palette used, as well as a 5.1 Dolby Digital track that ricochets bullets around the room, all the while maintaining a solid sound mix of dialogue and bombastic music. As always, Rodriguez's commentary tracks are a treat, with one being a straight walk through the film while the other has him giving a lesson in sound design and scoring a film, complete with his early demo tracks for some of the more pronounced themes. His how-to approach continues to impress -- even more so when you get a glance inside his mind, as most of the bonus features he created for this disc will show you. Continuing his Ten-Minute Flick School clips, Rodriguez quickly takes you through how an understanding of special effects and working on a limited budget can help you work fast, cheap, and in control. Additionally, the "Inside Troublemaker Studios" featurette is a genius peek into the production studio that he literally created for himself in his now-expanded garage, along with the soundstage that both he and fellow director Richard Linklater own. The man's varied technical know-how is jaw dropping, as are his cooking skills, which are demonstrated in the Ten-Minute Cooking School (where he prepares Johnny Depp's favorite slow-roasted pork dish in the film, Puerco Pibil). Again, it's all made with a guiding hand for those in the audience and each featurette is a delight to watch. Extras continue with a lecture that Rodriguez gave to Sony executives in mid-2003 on the death of film during the advent of digital cinema. Creativity is the key for this Hollywood maverick, and here he explains why digital filmmaking opens up the floodgates for the on-the-fly inventiveness that's only available to you after you shed the age-old technique of shooting on film. Being that Mexico was his training ground for this guerilla-style of shooting, it's a perfect inclusion and an important piece of history that's now preserved. Moving on, "The Anti-Hero's Journey" is a well made 18-minute behind-the-scenes look at the film, with selected interviews from the cast, including Antonio Banderas and Willem Dafoe. "The Good, The Bad and the Bloody: Inside KNB Effects" is yet another look into the process, with people like Greg Nicotero taking you through the quick and dirty job they had of creating a list of makeup effects with only a few weeks prep time. Eight deleted scenes also await you, with most featuring added clips of Depp -- all with additional commentary by the director. Finally, a trailers section has been supplied, featuring trailers for all the Mariachi films (including the redband and greenband trailer for this third installment), along with others for Tim Burton's Big Fish and Guillermo Del Toro's adaptation of the Dark Horse comic Hellboy. While this DVD may not change what's essentially onscreen, it does add a contextual depth that wasn't available to audiences when most of them first saw it. The disc succeeds in not only showing how to make a film of this size, but also what you can achieve when you're innovative and know how to utilize the tools at hand. Young filmmakers should take note, for there isn't any better advice than what can be found here.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Robert Rodriguez' Once Upon a Time in Mexico is a tribute to Sergio Leone in much more than just name only. What he takes from the master is a desire to pump up genre clichés until they achieve an almost kabuki-like level of significance. There are many individual sequences that work quite well in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, but Rodriguez loses the fun after about 40 minutes. Johnny Depp's CIA agent is darkly humorous and gives the film some much needed comic relief, but much of the film is given over to Antonio Banderas brooding about his lost wife and child, and solemnly preparing to do what he has to do. This is a darker, more serious film than the two previous films in the franchise. A streak of Mexican nationalistic pride gives the film some thematic weight, but also leads to some easy audience pleasing moments that fail to replace the humor and charm of Desperado and El Mariachi. Once Upon a Time in Mexico will satisfy fans of Rodriguez distinct style and talent for action sequences, but it also feels like he used up all of his sense of fun while making three Spy Kids films in three years.
Rolling Stone - Peter Travers
You don't want to miss Depp in this movie -- he knocks it out of the park.
Entertainment Weekly - Owen Gleiberman
In its wildly overwrought, burrito-Western way, is about as close to a home movie as you're likely to see in a megaplex.
Time Magazine - Richard Schickel
It's an exercise in style by Robert Rodriguez and not to be taken any more (or less) seriously than his giddy Spy Kids movies.
Dallas Morning News
God bless Johnny Depp. For the second time this year, the man has almost single-handedly redeemed an action movie that would otherwise be indistinguishable from the pack.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Robert Rodriguez audio commentary; Ten-minute Flick School; Inside Troublemaker Studios; Deleted scenes; Ten-minute Cooking School; "The Anti-Hero's Journey"; "Film Is Dead: An Evening With Robert Rodriguez"; "The Good, the Bad, and the Bloody": A look at the special effects; DVD-ROM: Test your wits in the shooting gallery and the loteria

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Antonio Banderas El Mariachi
Salma Hayek Carolina
Johnny Depp Agent Sands
Mickey Rourke Billy Chambers
Eva Mendes Special Agent Ajedrez
Danny Trejo Cucuy
Enrique Iglesias Lorenzo
Marco Leonardi Fideo
Cheech Marin Belini
Rubén Blades Jorge FBI
Willem Dafoe Barillo
Gerardo Vigil General Marquez
Pedro Armendariz El Presidente

Technical Credits
Robert Rodriguez Director,Score Composer,Cinematographer,Editor,Producer,Screenwriter
Elizabeth Avellan Producer
Brian Bettwy Asst. Director
Carlos Gallardo Producer
Meno Hinjosa Art Director
Sue Jett Co-producer
Tony Mark Co-producer
Graciela Mazon Costumes/Costume Designer
Ed Novick Sound/Sound Designer
Luz Maria Rojas Co-producer
Mary Vernieu Casting

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. El Mariachi
2. The Man With Three Arms
3. Guitar Town
4. Barillo
5. Shoot the Cook
6. Agent Ajedrez
7. El Presidente
8. Hotel and a Bus
9. Church Shootout
10. Chicle Boy
11. Jorge Ramirez
12. Club Mariachi
13. Bullfight
14. Wedding
15. The Man With One Eye
16. Sands and Ajedrez
17. Presidential Fortress
18. Billy Chambers
19. Pistolero
20. Killing
21. Shooting
22. Flaying
23. Day of the Dead
24. The Man With No Eyes
25. Coup D'etat
26. Taxi Cab
27. Sons of Mexico
28. Shooting Blind
29. Mariachi vs. Marquez
30. Sands vs. AJ
31. Payback
32. Adios
33. Credits


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Once Upon a Time in Mexico 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SAMSLANDING More than 1 year ago
Who is this hombre --- Robert Rodriguez --- and --- why was he allowed to so thoroughly waste such immense on-screen talent?!? For almost every conceivable reason, this movie is an utter disaster that should have been relegated to the guano heap before being foisted on the public --- any public. Writing, acting, photography, direction, editing --- each sets a substandard that --- hopefully --- will never be equalled or --- dios help us and save us --- underpassed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sands saves this weird movie. Sands is Johnny Depp. He comes in shoots people and says the funniest things. Thank you Johnny for saving this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once upon a time in mexico is acutally a pretty good action flick. Unlike some other action films today, the movie has sensible action scenes. The movie also pulls off humor with it. The acting is good. The story is good. The action scenes are cool. And the movie is funny. But one of the things I like most is the musical score. The score is great. The movie has a low budget for a action movie, but is an achievement considering its budget. My only problem, and I feel it is perhaps a big one, the film ends with many questions in my mind even though you can see that they tried to resolve the loose ends. The film is still pretty good though.
Guest More than 1 year ago
a waste of Willem Dafoe. many slow scenes. Thin script and dialogue, and not a single scene with a scorpion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robert Rodriguez's sequel to 'Desperado' and 'El Mariachi' starring Johnny Depp, Antonio Banderas, Willem Dafoe, Mickey Rourke, Danny Trejo, Ruben Blades, Eva Mendes and Salma Hayek. This contrived film consists of nothing more than a shallow plot to float over-the-top action scenes that would make Rambo III look as sober as Platoon. If there's any definition for senseless gratuitous violence, this movie is it; it elevates films such as 'Last Man Standing' to high drama status. Not only are the shooting scenes overdone, they're unrealistic to the point of being comically absurd; descending to a moronic level. Given the overwhelming stupidity of this film and his obvious ignorance as to firearms, Robert Rodriguez needs to go back to the basics of film making and consult with reality to give his audience an at least plausible, if not meaningful, story before releasing more of this infantile garbage.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this movie was hilarious...whether it was supposed to be or not. I liked it for the most part. However...I am a huge fan of Johnny Depp and expected more from one of his performances.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was sooo disappointed with this movie. Desperado was such a good film. This movie stinks. It's boring, uninteresting and a complete waste of time. Johnny Depp is mildly amusing but that's it.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
BANG! There goes your money as you sit down in front of this western epic and the third (or fourth depending on whether or not you've heard the director commentary) movie in the 'El Mariachi' trilogy. BANG! There goes your attention as it is fixated on the screen as the image of Johnny Depp sitting at a table smoking a cigarette catches your attention immediately. BANG! There goes your sense of caring what goes on in the film as long as you get to see these great actors have a great time being directed by Robert Rodriguez in the fantastically mythic beauty of Mexico. The soundtrack as has been said many times before is simply breathtaking, completely badass and fitting in tone for the most badass of trilogies. In the same vein as Tarantino's 'silly movies' like Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction, 'Mexico' is a film where you shouldn't care whether the film is real or not but simply care whether its interesting or not. And by Golly it is, with Banderas firing off shots from his sawn off shotgun staring into the camera and looking unbelievably cool, this guy will go down in the history books as the spanish Clint Eastwood character, the 'man with no name' from the Sergio Leone movies. The direction is brilliant with Rodriguez proving once again his skills as a director who can pull them out of the hat as good as those who spend billions on whatever rubbish they want to pollute the silver screen with. This is Rodriguez getting back to his roots, the same Rodriguez that started out making 'El Mariachi' for the mexican movie market simply for the action, and in this film, explosions, stunts, salma hayek, man this is one movie thatll keep you interesting never mind the plot that doesn't make sense or the characters getting unequal screen time. BANG! This is the movie you need to brighten up those rainy days, and if you get the DVD you'll be inspired by the add ons that Rodriguez has filmed especially for the DVD. BANG! Bang indeed, celebrate another triumphant Rodriguez flick!