Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Review: Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Top of the head rating: 1/5

I hired Once Upon a Time in Mexico last night. Blah ... it was one of the most boring action movies I have seen in ages.

Good bits: Individually many of these scenes are fine, and some of the fun and pathos of the previous films is retained here.

Bad bits: The girl dies, the editing is nightmarish and makes little sense, there is no dramatic tension built between scenes and the action and plot are so over the top that it is completely unbelievable (and that is from a fan of Desperado).


  1. I have noticed in the past few years that the Women always dies. The Male hero left standing all alone... sniff.

    Why is this? I think that tragedy has become an integral part of a store line. No one wants to see another happy ending.

    Perhaps it is a kick off or all this reality television.

    In the real world, the girl dies and the hero does not win. I guess thats why i like movies so much. I like to escape reality, not wallow in the tragedy.

  2. Antony,

    Thanks for the comment, tragedy has its place in storytelling (see below), but it is poorly handled in this movie. The death of Salma Hayek's character is telegraphed way in advance of when it actually occurs (it is in fact a historical item, a done deed) and it has no value, other than tidying up some strings for Antonio Banderas' character.

    As a result ALL of her action scenes are useless because we KNOW that she does not manage to survive them ... and we are given no reason to expect that her death achieved some higher purpose.

    Tragedy is traditionally supposed to play a therapeutic role, allowing us to experience the feelings it evokes without actually being destroyed by the experience. It can create a shared cathartic moment that brings the audience closer together, just by sharing the tragic event. Unfortunately, this movie doesn't do this.

  3. Anonymous10:18 am

    Damn - was sort of looking forward to watching this movie - not that I'm a huge fan of Banderas. Oh well - guess I can just wait for Chronicles of Riddick/Hellboy/AVP

  4. The title should have given it away. Anyone who has even seen a picture of Mexico City or watched the hundreds of thousands of Mexicans trying to jump the boarder should have realised that no fairy tale let alone a decent adventure story is going come to any good from there.

    Had it been titled Simbiotic Canivours - you could have felt a little more confident. Ah well I wont tell if you wont.

    Can someone please pass the remote?

  5. Anonymous8:41 pm

    Tragedy it is.Happy ending is for church goers.How in china can you expect a heroface to smile his way though amovie worth its salt without a blood or two,a tear or two.