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DESPERADO ($30) is the kind of movie that celebrates the art of movie making, and is the kind of movie that makes movie viewing fun. DESPERADO could have turned out to be a routine action outing, but director Robert Rodriguez has turned this film into a stylish extravaganza. Rodriguez artfully composes each shot, and uses cinematic technique to keep the film visually arresting. His efforts make it impossible for the viewer to turn away. Antonio Banderas stars in this sequel to Rodriguez’s $7,000.00 wonder EL MARIACHI. Banderas portrays the film’s hero, a shadowy figure known as El Mariachi. El Mariachi is a former guitar player who carries a guitar case with an arsenal hidden inside. With guns blazing, El Mariachi takes revenge on the criminals who killed his woman and shot a hole through his playing hand. The intoxicatingly beautiful Salma Hayek portrays the new woman in El Mariachi’s life. She runs afoul of the very same criminals that El Mariachi is pursuing, and he takes her under his protective wing. The cast of DESPERADO also features Joaquim De Almeida, Steve Buscemi, Cheech Marin and Quentin Tarantino.

DESPERADO has been presented in a Letterboxed transfer, which restores the film’s proper 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio. The transfer itself is gorgeous and features a richly detailed image and nicely saturated colors. Compression artifacts were virtually undetectable on this DVD. DESPERADO features one of the best Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks that I’ve heard thus far. Sound effects come at you from every direction during the film’s numerous action sequences, giving the viewer a true "you are there" sensation. The soundtrack also has good musical mix and a sense of atmosphere during the more quiet passages. Additionally, DESPERADO features a matrixed Dolby Surround soundtrack, as well as Spanish and French language tracks. Subtitles are available in Spanish and Korean. DESPERADO is an outstanding DVD; the only flaw I can detect is the omission of Robert Rodriguez’s audio commentary, which was featured on the Laserdisc edition. Despite this rather obvious omission, I have to recommend DESPERADO quite highly.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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