Desperado (1995)

desperado poster 1995 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great gun battles, an acting improvement over El Mariachi

Not as much charm as El Mariachi

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Desperado

Studio:  Columbia Pictures

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  August 25, 1995

MPAA Rating:  R


The date goes off with a bang!

The mariachi (Antonio Banderas) is back and seeking vengeance against Bucho (Joaquim de Almeida). With the help of his friend Buscemi (Steve Buscemi), he’s hunting down Bucho but the mariachi is also being hunted by Navajas (Danny Trejo) and Bucho’s men. When he finds an ally in Carolina (Salma Hayek), he uncovers ties to Bucho and discovers that his ties to Bucho may be greater than he thought.

Desperado was directed by Robert Rodriguez and was a follow-up to his low-budget 1992 hit El Mariachi. Though El Mariachi was probably a little better received, Desperado had a much wider release and recognition and helped turned Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek into stars. The original title for the film (sometimes used in other countries like Mexico) was El Pistolero but the studios asked Rodriguez to change it.  The film is considered part of Rodriguez’s “Mexico Trilogy” with a third film Once Upon a Time in Mexico released in 2003.


I hate it when that happens

Desperado is a lot better looking than El Mariachi, but it loses some of El Mariachi’s charm. El Mariachi was so low-budget that I admire what Rodriguez did with it. Desperado is shiny, flash, explosive, and just so much bigger despite being pretty low budget itself. The gun fights are epic and you can see Rodriguez’s editing and shooting skill…It just doesn’t have that “I can’t believe he was able to pull this off” factor of El Mariachi.

Desperado is entertaining but rather mindless, and Antonio Banderas is great as the broody mariachi. The previous mariachi (Carlos Gallardo) does make an appearance in the movie as one of the mariachi’s friends called in to deal with Bucho’s gang which was good of Rodriguez to do since Gallardo couldn’t have carried another movie. Rodriguez’s pal Quentin Tarantino makes an appearance and Buschemi is good for the small role he plays as Buschemi (Rodriguez made the character for him. I love Salma Hayek but she pretty much feels like eye candy here (which isn’t wrong with the movie’s style).


Hey guys, lets blow some crap up!

Desperado also has a bit of an Evil Dead thing going on. The ending of El Mariachi just doesn’t quite line up with this movie though the events are similar. In the first movie the man he killed was presumably the boss but here, Bucho becomes the boss of that guy (and turns out to be his brother which is an unnecessary stretch).

Desperado is fun and quite crazy although I think the craziness gets a bit out of hand near the end. It is still a fun watch and not half as crazy as Once Upon a Time in Mexico. So check out Desperado.  It can often be found in a double pack with El Mariachi so both films can be enjoyed, contrasted, and debated.

Related Links:

El Mariachi (1992)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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