Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Bomb Rating: 

Is it any coincidence that the plot of this film makes about as much sense as NAFTA? The third movie in writer/director Robert Rodriguez's "Mariachi" trilogy, "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" is about as cohesive as Gary Busey's diary.

This movie proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that more money does not mean more quality. With more money comes more stars and more headaches. Johnny Depp is one such headache -- Rodriguez wants to provide him maximum screen time, so the camera follows Depp around like a lost puppy as his character, CIA agent Sands, tries to play one bandito against another.

El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas) tries to take revenge on the Mexican general who killed his wife, Carolina (Salma Hayek), and daughter. Barillo (Willem Dafoe) tries to overthrow the government. A retired FBI agent (Ruben Blades) tries to avenge the death of his partner. The audience tries, in vain, to make some sense of it all as Rodriguez cuts from character to character like a sugar-addled preschooler with too much construction paper.

When Rodriquez yelled "shoot" during the making of this film, he had to yell it twice. It has more gunplay than a convention of methamphetamine addicts. It's as if Rodriguez cast the extras by lining up most of the population of Mexico City and handing out blood capsules. It's been 10 years since Rodriguez broke onto the film scene with "El Mariachi." Given this and "Spy Kids 3," he might want to pick up the guitar and see if he can make a living doing that instead.

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