Once Upon a Time in Mexico [2003]

Guns, guns, guns! And a few explosions as bodies fly through the air and crash into tables and fruit stands. Once Upon a Time in Mexico, like all Robert Rodriguez movies, is all about the kinetic kick of high-velocity action. Johnny Depp, blase and whimsical, plays a CIA agent who's drawn guitar-playing gun-slinger Antonio Banderas (long black hair flopping over his face like the ears of a Labrador puppy) into a ridiculously convoluted plot to overthrow the Mexican government. Along for the ride are a craggy-faced rogue's gallery including Willem Dafoe, Mickey Rourke, Danny Trejo, Ruben Blades, and (to balance things out) the smooth, tantalizing complexions of Eva Mendes and Salma Hayek. For sheer trashy fun, Once Upon a Time in Mexico is a step down from its predecessor, Desperado--but Desperado set the bar pretty high. For coherent storytelling, look elsewhere, but for action razzle-dazzle, this is your movie. --Bret Fetzer

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