Robert Rodriguez knows what he is doing, whether it be as director, producer, editor, or one of the many other titles he takes on in his latest and final installment of the "El Mariachi" trilogy.

The new movie, Once Upon A Time in Mexico, follows a lonely Mariachi (Antonio Banderas), being dragged back into the game by corrupt CIA agent, Sands (Johnny Depp), who is trying to keep a certain drug cartel from taking over after killing the president of Mexico.

Once Upon a Time in Mexico 4 of 5 stars Directed by: Robert Rodriguez Starring: Antonio Banderas, Johnny Depp Rated: R

Given the content of the movie and the fact that the previous movie in the trilogy, Desperado, was released quite some time ago, and the first movie, El Mariachi, is not very well-known, it may be difficult to enjoy at first. Clearly it doesn't help that Antonio Banderas delivers a lukewarm and slightly ridiculous performance. Salma Hayek fans should also be aware that her part in the movie is very small.

Adding to this, the plot is not original, the end is predictable, and Enrique Iglesias makes his acting debut (nothing more needs to be said in that department). Yet, Rodriguez still maintains credibility and give the audience their money's worth.

It is clear that casting in this movie, with a couple of exceptions, was a well thought out process and it pays off. Though Banderas and Hayek are easily replaceable, they could have done nothing better than to cast Johnny Depp, along with an amazing supporting cast, (including Willem Dafoe, Mickey Rourke, Cheech Marin, and Ruben Blades).

Though Banderas plays the main character, Depp, as always, steals the show. His character has the best lines in the movie, and he delivers all of his lines so well that even the worst writing will lure you in, including a very serious posing of the question "Are you a Mexi-can or a Mexi-can't?"

If the brilliance of the cast is not enough, the movie appeals to a more sadistic audience, without being overwhelming, with its disgusting-but-I-can't-take-my-eyes-off-of-it scenes, including many gun shots and a couple of eye-less sockets.

Even with all of that in mind, the best part of this movie has to be the hair. Yes, that's right, the hair.

Antonio Banderas's Pantene Pro-V hair makes every scene he is in and Enrique Iglesias' hair is so hilarious that words simply cannot do it justice.

It may not be an Oscar contender, and it may never be a classic must-see movie, but Once Upon A Time in Mexico works, and in the end the answer is simply that Rodriguez is, without a doubt, a Mexi-can.


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