Compiled by: Jack Foley
IT'S been a long time in coming, but now that it has finally
arrived, the majority of critics seem to be lapping up Once Upon
A Time in Mexico, the third film in the Desperado series.
The latest installment is designed as a homage to the Dollars
trilogy of Sergio Leone and has assembled a superb ensemble cast,
including Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe
and Mickey Rourke for the latest round of extravagant gunplay
among the drug cartels of Mexico.
The positive feedback is begun by the Los Angeles Daily News,
which asked: 'How can you resist a movie that features Willem
Dafoe sporting a tan, Mickey Rourke cradling a Chihuahua and Johnny
Depp turning in another oddball tour de force?'
And it was continued by the San Francisco Chronicle, which
wrote that 'despite the movie's dark humor, violence and the occasional
nonvoluntary facial surgery that will drive away the queasy, Once
Upon a Time in Mexico is the most crowd-pleasing film in the series'.
Entertainment Weekly opined that 'it's pop filmmaking
at its headiest, maybe because it never quite gets outside the
filmmaker's head', while the New York Post declared that
'Rodriguez pumps his film full of memorable action set pieces',
before awarding it three out of four.
Hollywood Reporter declared that it is 'affectionately
conceived, imaginatively staged and highly entertaining', while
Rolling Stone declared that 'you don't want to miss Depp
in this movie - he knocks it out of the park'.
There were those who found it a little tiresome and boyish, such
as the New York Daily News, which opined that 'paying homage
to Sergio Leone, Mexico aims too high and, in the process, becomes
more like every generic, overplotted drug-cartel- and-revenge
flick out there'.
Likewise, the New York Times, which wrote it off as 'a
noisy, unholy mess, with moments of wit and surprise that ultimately
make its brutal tedium all the more disappointing'.
The Chicago Tribune found it 'somewhat overscaled and
confused', while The Onion's AV Club felt that 'after a
spry opening, Mexico loses its sense of direction almost as quickly
as it loses its sense of humor'.
But the positives tended to outweigh the negatives, with Reel.com
noting that it 'feels like a bullfight on acid or a dish of carne
asade peppered with just the right comedic seasoning'.
The Washington Post noted that 'Depp, a mere two months
after his scene-stealing turn in Pirates
of the Caribbean, once again is the best thing about a very
And the Miami Herald sums it up brilliantly, by noting
that 'even when Mexico isn't exactly making sense, it's still
a blast to watch for its sheer chutzpah'.
The film opens in the UK on September 30 and IndieLondon will
deliver its verdict then.