43- “Desperado” #52PickUp

For this installment of #52PickUp, I went south of the border to a film my brother and I watched relentlessly for a couple summers:


Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado. Released in 1995, Desperado was the (little known) sequel to Robert’s first feature film, El Mariachi. To many of Americans however, this was the breakout film that began his career in Hollywood.

The film follows the Mariachi (Antonio Banderas), who after losing the woman he loved must go searching for the man who killed her. He enlists the help of “Buscemi” (Steve Buscemi), a wormy American who scouts towns spreading the tale of “the biggest Mexican he’s ever seen with a briefcase full of guns” while looking for Bucho, the suspected assailant (and current drug lord of Mexico).

When the duo receives word that Bucho is in a specific town, the Mariachi sweeps through said town asking people if they know of his whereabouts. Most of the time this instead leads to an absolute bloodbath.

Soon, the Mariachi meets up with Carolina (Salma Hayek), who has been bought off for smuggling drugs for years in her bookstore. The two come to a head, and must work together to survive.

To me, Desperado is to El Mariachi as Evil Dead II was to The Evil Dead. They technically follow the original film, but also act a sort of soft reboot in the series in order to restate its original premise.

Danny was so young then! Also; man, this was his first breakout role.

Where/ when did I first see it?

This was one of the three VHS tapes my Dad’s ex-girlfriend had at her camp, the other two being the first The Land Before Time, and Footloose. Needless to say, we watched this film quite a bit during the summers of 1996-98.

How does it hold up?

Desperado is a special kind of action film; essentially it’s an old, bloody western, and I don’t even like those. All in all, the film holds up incredibly well, especially considering there isn’t a lick of CGI in the film. In fact, their idea for gunshots (shooting a gun designed to shoot blood at the actors) worked so well, that they had to cut around it to avoid an NC-17 rating!

Calling for back up.

What did I like about it and why?

I’m always a fan of films made with little to no CGI for one, but this film was made for SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS, one thousand times less than El Mariachi! Rodriguez was always a master of economical shooting.

And of course, Salma Hayek…


There is a God.

Lessons Learned?

  1. THAT’S the way to break into Hollywood!
  2. Now, I know how to sell a blood effect better.
  3. Always pick Desperado over The Land Before Time and Footloose.


Where can you see it?

Check out Desperado on CanIStream.It?

-Jamie (@GuyOnAWire)


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