Robert Rodriguez assumes his tour-de-force role, again, with the latest of his “El Mariachi” trilogy, “ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO.” 


Antonio Banderas reprises is role as “El Mariachi”, the musician/gunman.  But, it’s Johnny Depp as an unusual CIA agent, that steals the film.  Depp plays Agent Sands, a cold-hearted man wanting to hire Mariachi to kill a General working for a drug lord.  The budget for this entry has been greatly improved since is original, superior film, “EL MARIACHI”, allowing for some wonderful co-stars, including Willem Dafoe and Mickey Rourke. 

The plot’s a little above average, but the performances are what make the film entertaining. Everyone is terrific here. 


Rodriguez continues to achieve creating images that are increasingly more stunning with each film, and “ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO” is no exception.  There is one visually arresting scene after another. So, while the story’s just ok, the acting, pacing and look of the film, make it more than worthwhile.


COLUMBIA TRISTAR has preserved the film’s original aspect ratio. Shot in 1.78:1, the image was then cropped for a 2.35:1 theatrical ratio.  The image is flawless! Colors are vibrant in every scene, without over-saturation. There’s incredible detail as well. Contrast is excellent, and fleshtones appear natural.


COLUMBIA TRISTAR has presented a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.  The mix is a “mixed” bag. During the action sequences, the surrounds and discrete effects are incredible, offering a stunning 3-dimensional environment, however, during the rest of the film, there are relatively few ambient effects. The wonderful score isn’t fully complimented, being delegated to mostly only the front speakers. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion. There are some impressive bass effects.   


COLUMBIA TRISTAR has included some great extras!

A running commentary with Roberto Rodriguez offers a great perspective for aspiring filmmakers. His commentaries are always terrific, and he offers plenty of detail, explaining the filmmaking process from a groundfloor level.


An additional commentary with Rodriguez is interspersed amidst an isolated 5.1 mix. Most of this focuses on the music, which he created.

”TEN MINUTE FLICK SCHOOL” is a featurette wherein Rodriquez examines the benefits of shooting the film digitally, and makes the technical apects of filmmaking even more accessible for the mass audience.


“INSIDE TROUBLEMAKER STUDIOS” examines Rodriguez’s home, which has been turned into a “Skywalker ranch” of sorts.


“TEN MINUTE COOKING SCHOOL” has Rodriquez teach viewers the recipe for a meal that Depp’s character has in the movie.


experiences with the new digital cameras in front of an audience in an auditorium on the Sony Pictures lot. Shown digital by George Lucas (who is probably the biggest booster for the digital format), Rodriguez talks about how shooting in digital changed the experience of shooting for him and his actors.

“THE ANTI-HERO’S JOURNEY” is a featurette offering an overview of the previous films within the “Mariachi” trilogy. 

A “Deleted Scenes” segment offers some great moments. Optional commentary is offered and the scenes are entertaining.


Several trailers are included.