Once Upon a Time in Mexico [DVD] [2003]

  • SKU: 6185521
  • Release Date: 01/20/2004
  • Rating: R
  • 4.4 (29)
While most would attest that Robert Rodriguez's Once Upon a Time in Mexico wasn't quite up to his earlier entries in the Mariachi series, you can't help but think differently about the man and the movie after diving headfirst into this wonderful DVD from Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. Packed with a million stories, each and every extra on the disc paints an amazing picture of a filmmaker at the height of his creativity during an unheard-of quick shoot. Written in one weekend, with a two-week window for pre-production, and just seven weeks allowed for filming -- the making-of the picture is just as engaging as the film itself. Technically, the disc is a marvel, with a pristine digital transfer that brings out the wide color palette used, as well as a 5.1 Dolby Digital track that ricochets bullets around the room, all the while maintaining a solid sound mix of dialogue and bombastic music. As always, Rodriguez's commentary tracks are a treat, with one being a straight walk through the film while the other has him giving a lesson in sound design and scoring a film, complete with his early demo tracks for some of the more pronounced themes. His how-to approach continues to impress -- even more so when you get a glance inside his mind, as most of the bonus features he created for this disc will show you. Continuing his Ten-Minute Flick School clips, Rodriguez quickly takes you through how an understanding of special effects and working on a limited budget can help you work fast, cheap, and in control. Additionally, the "Inside Troublemaker Studios" featurette is a genius peek into the production studio that he literally created for himself in his now-expanded garage, along with the soundstage that both he and fellow director Richard Linklater own. The man's varied technical know-how is jaw dropping, as are his cooking skills, which are demonstrated in the Ten-Minute Cooking School (where he prepares Johnny Depp's favorite slow-roasted pork dish in the film, Puerco Pibil). Again, it's all made with a guiding hand for those in the audience and each featurette is a delight to watch. Extras continue with a lecture that Rodriguez gave to Sony executives in mid-2003 on the death of film during the advent of digital cinema. Creativity is the key for this Hollywood maverick, and here he explains why digital filmmaking opens up the floodgates for the on-the-fly inventiveness that's only available to you after you shed the age-old technique of shooting on film. Being that Mexico was his training ground for this guerilla-style of shooting, it's a perfect inclusion and an important piece of history that's now preserved. Moving on, "The Anti-Hero's Journey" is a well made 18-minute behind-the-scenes look at the film, with selected interviews from the cast, including Antonio Banderas and Willem Dafoe. "The Good, The Bad and the Bloody: Inside KNB Effects" is yet another look into the process, with people like Greg Nicotero taking you through the quick and dirty job they had of creating a list of makeup effects with only a few weeks prep time. Eight deleted scenes also await you, with most featuring added clips of Depp -- all with additional commentary by the director. Finally, a trailers section has been supplied, featuring trailers for all the Mariachi films (including the redband and greenband trailer for this third installment), along with others for Tim Burton's Big Fish and Guillermo Del Toro's adaptation of the Dark Horse comic Hellboy. While this DVD may not change what's essentially onscreen, it does add a contextual depth that wasn't available to audiences when most of them first saw it. The disc succeeds in not only showing how to make a film of this size, but also what you can achieve when you're innovative and know how to utilize the tools at hand. Young filmmakers should take note, for there isn't any better advice than what can be found here.
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Ratings & Reviews

Overall Customer Rating:
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (29 out of 29)

Special Features

  • Robert Rodriguez audio commentary
  • Ten-minute Flick School
  • Inside Troublemaker Studios
  • Deleted scenes
  • Ten-minute Cooking School
  • "The Anti-Hero's Journey"
  • "Film Is Dead: An Evening With Robert Rodriguez"
  • "The Good, the Bad, and the Bloody": A look at the special effects
  • DVD-ROM: Test your wits in the shooting gallery and the loteria
  • Closed Captioned


Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Director Robert Rodriguez returns to the characters of his breakthrough hits El Mariachi and Desperado in this grand scale south-of-the-border action-adventure saga. Sands (Johnny Depp) is a rogue CIA agent who is working in cahoots with Mexican officials who've caught wind of a plan by corrupt military leader General Marquez (Gerardo Vigil) and ruthless drug kingpin Barillo (Willem Dafoe) to assassinate Mexico's president (Pedro Armendáriz Jr.). Sands needs to recruit a gunman to take out Barillo's assassins before they can complete their mission, and through barman Belini (Cheech Marin), Sands learns of El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas), a fabled musician turned vigilante with a remarkable talent for violence, and a score to settle with Marquez. El Mariachi is living quietly in hiding after the death of the woman he loved, Carolina (Salma Hayek), but Sands lures him back into action through the promise of a final showdown with his nemesis Marquez, forcing El Mariachi to retrieve his guitar case (containing a mighty arsenal) and once again do battle against the lawless. Robert Rodriguez not only directed Once Upon a Time in Mexico, but he wrote the screenplay, handled the camera work, edited the film, and composed the musical score. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Antonio Banderas
    Antonio Banderas - El Mariachi
  • Salma Hayek
    Salma Hayek - Carolina
  • Johnny Depp
    Johnny Depp - Agent Sands
  • Mickey Rourke
    Mickey Rourke - Billy Chambers
  • Eva Mendes
    Eva Mendes - Special Agent Ajedrez

Overall Customer Rating

4.4 out of 54.4
29 Reviews
100%of customers recommend this product.

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