A/V Room









Once Upon A Time in Mexico - US reaction

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 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 silly movie'.

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.


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