Desperado (1995)

If “Desperado” was a person, it would be the kind of person who is so hot and charismatic that you would follow them to the ends of the Earth. That’s how powerfully sexy this slice of overheated western is from the minute it begins until the end credits roll. I’m not sure why but I was under the impression that this was an American remake of director Robert Rodriguez’s “El Mariachi” but was delighted to find out that it’s actually a direct sequel with a much higher budget. Rodriguez’s camera is frenetic throughout without ever feeling out of control (the way Luc Besson’s 1990s camerawork sometimes felt overwhelming), and his camera absolutely loves leads Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek. The two are drop-dead gorgeous and share vivid chemistry, which adds an unexpected emotional nuance to their relationship because, well, not only are they smoking hot together but they also work really well as a team. The action scenes are economical in structure somewhat like the first one (although cranked up for sure), but it feels like the action is nonstop thanks to Rodriguez’s knack with framing action sequences like short music videos, and the plot chugs along relentlessly without ever losing the audience. It’s a hip, modern, tightly edited little marvel of sound, fury, sweat and bedroom eyes.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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