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Mike Shea 10-23-2003 08:20 PM

Review: Desperado - 5 of 5 stars
Desperado has been a home theater staple of mine for almost ten years.
With each viewing the movie seems to get better and better. Over these
ten years I've owned five different copies of Desperado on three
different formats. Desperado is the definitive action movie. All other
action movies, except perhaps John Woo's The Killer, are held to this
standard, a movie of pure action. As the Hollywood movie machine plops
out tired formula-based films running often over $100 million dollars,
Desperado stands the test of time. A seven million dollar perfect action

"If he can't beat Cristos, I'm not interested." The muscled but graceful
tattooed warrior climbs the split tie fence and drops into "the ring of
death". He starts the fight with a left jab almost taking out his
opponent in a single hit. A furious battle takes place, ending when the
opponents leg splinters under Cristos's low jump kick. The opponent
jumps up, kicking Cristos with his broken leg. Blood pours from Cristo's
mouth and he falls dead in the Mexican dust. No words are shared and
Cristos never has a single line in the movie. Desperado's perfection
comes from four things; excellent minimal writing, surrealistic action
scenes, and perfect characters who act instead of speak. Half of the
characters in Desperado including our hero and the villain don't even
have names. They come on screen with fury in their eyes and soon fury in
their hands. People fly through the air landing against walls full of
animal horns. The Mariachi, Antonio Banderas dances on a bar top firing
behind his back as swarms of drug cartel fodder fall in piles on the
floor. A knife wielding foe jumps onto our hero who kicks him into the
air and fires no less than 30 shots into him before he hits a table in a
pile of blood flannel. Only the bare minimum of dialog is used. The most
interesting characters, Cristos, Kampa, Qino, the Colombian knife
thrower, don't have any lines at all. When our main character meets
Carolina, played by an unknown Salma Hayek, her beauty is so great a car
wreck happens right behind her, the drivers never stopping their cat
calls as their cars crumple together. No words are shared as he pushes
her out of the way, takes a bullet in the arm and blows the head off of
the gangster who stalks him.

Not a single scene loses this focus. An excellent commentary by Robert
Rodregez describes how he cares little for continuity problems. He uses
the same two stunt men over and over again, putting different hats on
them. He shoots fast and powerful. He paints a wall and shoots it before
the paint is dry. He does things on the cheap and it ends up being a
better movie. Like Clerks and Pulp Fiction, Desperado cost a tenth of
what most Hollywood blockbusters cost and it is ten times the movie they
are. Movies like Lethal Weapon 4, The Rock, Bad Boys, and Collateral
Damage fail tremendously to hold even the smallest bit of what makes
Desperado such a great movie.

There are a few different DVD versions of Desperado available. The most
recent "special edition" Desperado / El Mariachi pack is the best one to
get. While the Superbit version contains a DTS soundtrack, there is no
other advantage to it and it lacks the all-important director's
commentary. Both the double-pack and the Superbit cuts are 16x9 enhanced
1.85 to 1 pictures with a great Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. After
listening to this movie about fifty times, I cannot tell a difference
between the Superbit DTS and Dolby Digital versions. Get the most recent
version with the director's commentary and don't be afraid to buy it. It
is a perfect movie for any collection.

I am writing this review after having just seen "Once Upon A Time In
Mexico", the third in the Rodregez Mariachi trilogy. While I will pass
on any review of that movie until I can decide how I really feel about
it, I can say that it proved what a great movie Desperado is. Compared
to every action movie before or since, Desperado is perfect. It is a
movie all directors, especially action directors, should use when making
a movie. It is a perfect diamond in a sea of glass. Buy it and proudly
show it off in your collection.

Mike Shea
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Sydney Assbasket 10-23-2003 10:26 PM

Re: Review: Desperado - 5 of 5 stars
Do you give 5 out of 5 stars to everything? :-)

Remove "moc" to reply.

Whoever says "Nothing is impossible" has never tried to slam a
revolving door.
- Willy Walker

Mike Shea 10-23-2003 11:14 PM

Re: Review: Desperado - 5 of 5 stars
Sydney Assbasket wrote:

> Do you give 5 out of 5 stars to everything? :-)

your response gets five out of five stars! well done!

Mike =D

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