MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -3

The film DESPERADO probably has three strikes against it from the outset: a paltry story line, mediocre and melodramatic acting, and excessive violence and carnage. A sequel to the critically acclaimed 1992 low-budget film, EL MARIACHI, this film fails despite its big budget. Here, a dashingly handsome mariachi (Antonio Banderas) wanders into a dusty Mexican border town in search of a suave drug lord named Bucho (Joaquim De Almeida). The mariachi seeks revenge for Bucho's killing of his beloved and also for injuring his guitar-strumming hand. But, unlike in EL MARIACHI, our unnamed hero really does have a guitar case loaded with weapons. However, Bucho owns everyone in town, from the sleazy bartender to the sultry bookstore owner. Thus, before reaching Bucho, the mariachi must dispatch an army of scummy henchmen and blow away several not-so-innocent bystanders. Because of its poor quality and jolting sadistic violence, it is difficult to see how this film could do well at the box office.

Although the film's violence is supposedly tongue-in-cheek and the audience roars with laughter as people are shot and killed at point-blank range, these scenes are not humorous, but extremely offensive. Once, an expert knife-thrower with knives covering his body throws knives repeatedly, each going straight to its human target. The film also contains a prolonged, graphic love-making scene, displaying upper-body nudity, although it is somewhat muted with light and shadows. It is also filled with much crude and obscene language, with a smattering of profanities. A mockery of Christianity takes place as the mariachi goes to church regularly, praying and confessing his sins. Perhaps the charismatic, charming actor, Banderas, is the only worthwhile asset in DESPERADO. He seeks revenge in the wrong way, but accomplishes it with aplomb and leaves town with the girl. Don't subject yourself to this one.

Preview Reviewer: Bonnie C. Harvey, Ph.D.;
Columbia Pictures, 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City CA 90232

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (9) times - Mild 2, Moderate 7

Obscene Language: Many (50) times - S-word 15, f-word 20, other 15

Profanity: Twice - Regular (GD, JC)

Violence: Many times - Moderate and severe (gratuitous point-blank bloody, gory shootings, killings in bars and on the street; many fist fights in bars; prolonged knife-stabbing scene of knife thrower killing many; bloody removal of bullets from wounded man)

Sex: One protracted scene with shadowy female breast nudity

Nudity: Once (shadowy breast nudity); Near nudity (low-cut, skimpy dresses)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: A few tongue-in-cheek suggestive remarks

Drugs: Several times (drinking in bars; smoking)

Other: Theme of violent revenge and overall hopelessness; live for the moment outlook

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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