Desperado is a 1995 Western that introduced many to a new Latin action hero and while it was criticized for its violence, it helped trail-blaze a path for a new breed of filmmakers. A film that only improves with age, it was a huge box office hit that was critically acclaimed. And like every movie, it has one great moment.
A sequel to the Spanish-language film El Mariachi (1992), the eponymous hero (Antonio Banderas) searches for a heavily-fortified drug kingpin named Bucho (Joaquim de Almeida), who killed his girlfriend and maimed his hand. He travels to a small village where he finds help in an unexpected place, meeting a beautiful woman named Carolina (Salma Hayek) with a secret of her own. While the two begin to fall in love, the showdown with Bucho draws near and to survive, they need to work together, preferably as sexily as possible. Big guns also help.
Our One-Line Alliterative Summary
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, Desperado is a stylistic action film that gleefully embraces its cartoon violence and over-wrought dialogue, crafting one visually stunning set piece after another that paints the attractive leads like comic book characters, purposefully avoiding any depth in who these people are beyond the necessary characters traits each is required to embellish. The film never loses sight of its intent though and delivers an often fun, very brutal experience that never looses interest. A true classic.
The Great Moment
This moment is all about style and begins when El Mariachi learns that his nemesis is nearby and so heads to the local watering hole for a shootout with Bucho’s less than capable henchman. Slightly injured, he makes his way to the bookstore where Carolina tends to him and discovers his guitar case full of weapons, easily identifying him as the legendary gunslinger. He asks for her help in finding the elusive Bucho, then leaves his guns with her as he meets his American friend (Steve Buscemi), who has been working to locate the gang leader as well. He is ambushed by a rival and severely wounded. Barely making it back to Carolina, he learns that she too works for the drug-running Bucho, but when Bucho comes to the bookstore in search of El Mariachi, Carolina hides the wounded man and lies to Bucho, sending him away and convincing El Mariachi that she can be trusted.
After El Mariachi and Carolina enjoy a candle-lit moment of passionate, super-hot sex, Bucho comes back, realizing that she has betrayed him. He orders his men to burn her store to the ground and the flames force the new lovers to escape up to the building’s roof where they are met with some gunmen both on the stairs, and on the street below. With some quick thinking (and a kiss), they silently agree they must jump to the neighboring roof and once she sheds her (mixed matched) shoes, makes the leap as bullets fly around her. El Mariachi faces two more on the roof and spins around with his toes on the ledge, his back to the other other building before pushing off, firing at the bad guys with both hands as he sails over to the waiting Carolina. A fireball ensues. Cue the slo-motion walk. It’s ridiculous and awesome and helped propel Banderos and Hayek into international superstardom. This is an excessive, explosive, sexy good time.
That Moment In Desperado (1995): Roof Jumping
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Robert Rodriguez
Stars: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Joaquim de Almeida, Steve Buscemi, Quentin Tarantino