By: Oberst Von Berauscht (A Toast) –
Azul, a violent criminal, escapes from his jail cell after an attempt on his life, killing several assassins in the process. Azul carries a guitar case full of guns, which he uses to strike back on the businesses of Moco, a the kingpin who hired the killers. Meanwhile a lone Mariachi enters town looking for work. Moco’s men confuse the Mariachi for Azul, forcing the Mariachi on the run. The Mariachi fights back, killing several of Moco’s men. Meanwhile, he finds himself falling in love with Dominó, Moco’s would-be girlfriend.
Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez made his big-screen debut with this exciting feature. It was shot on the near-stupidly tiny budget of $7,000.00, with the intention of selling it as a direct-to-video feature for the Mexican market. The movie caught the eye of critics for its masterful use of limited resources, and stylistic direction.
“Now excuse me, I have to ruminate on a reptile”
Regardless of the budget however, the solid script is where the film’s strength lies. With a cast of mostly non-actors, Rodriguez played to their respective strengths, allowing for believable performances which lend an aire of realism to the proceedings. Star Carlos Gallardo might not have the recognition and star power of Antonio Banderas, who replaced him in the later sequels, but his earnest demeanor and classy appearance are more than enough to carry the weight of the lead role. Actor Peter Maquardt is fantastic as the brutal gang leader Moco, providing the film with a truly unsettling character. Moco has just the right blend of arrogance and cruelty to make him a memorable villain.
Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia! (oh sorry, wrong movie…)
Rodriguez’ script provides an even blend of comedy, action and drama, all of which are managed well to provide the film with a solid and exciting pace.
A textbook example of art through adversity, El Mariachi is thoroughly entertaining with solid performances, well-shot action sequences, and a compelling script.
Take a Drink: whenever El Mariachi sings
Take a Drink: for every dream sequence
Do a Shot: for the body count.