Movie Reviews 225 – El Mariachi (1992)

El MariachiI’ve been a fan of Robert Rodriguez for some time. Quentin Tarantino’s best buddy and partner in crime is a multi-talented director, cinematographer, musician and applies all those aptitudes in every film he makes. He’s got horror and action cred and even charms the kids (and adults) with his Spy Kids series of movies, and best of all knows how to make a film look slick even on a measly budget.  But the one thing that consistently pervades any Robert Rodriguez movie is his unabashed love for his Mexican heritage (while not his home country) and fellow Latino film talent.

El Mariachi was Rodriguez’s first feature film, a simple tale of mistaken identity which lands an aspiring traveling Mariachi player (Carlos Gallardo) in trouble when he arrives in a new town.  As he lugs his black guitar case from one establishment to another seeking work as an entertainer, a local gangsters who also happens to use a black guitar case as a weapon carrier has just escaped from the local jail. But the gangster, Azul, wants his share of the money from the heist that landed him in jail. The gang leader Moco isn’t in a sharing mood and decides that killing Azul and his loyal men is easier.

El Mariachi is caught in the middle and can’t figure out why a bunch of thugs are trying to kill him. Luckily he finds a sympathetic restaurateur willing to put him up in her place. As it so happens, Domino (Consuelo Gómez) also happens to be Moco’s old girlfriend. And things really get out of hand later when the two guitar cases get switched.

There are chase scenes, gunfights aplenty, and the occasional sweet ballad as El Mariachi slowly connects all the dots together and falls for Domino who tries to save her new beau.

El Mariachi it isn’t a fantastic movie but it has all the earmarks and charm of Rodriguez’s later films and is more than entertaining enough to warrant a watch.

¡A huevo!

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