Stars: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Joaquim de Almeida, Steve Buscemi, Cheech Marin, Quentin Tarantino. Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez. Rated R for violence, nudity, sex, profanity.

"Desperado" is Robert Rodriguez's follow-up to his critically-acclaimed 1992 hit, "El Mariachi". It's about a guitar-playing gunfighter who seeks revenge on the man who killed his girlfriend and wounded his hand. The whole film has a certain style and look which is easy to buy into, but the action has more to do with bullets and blood than drama.

The film opens in seedy bar in Mexico where a white man (Steve Buscemi) proceeds to spin what sounds like a yarn about a gunfighter who wreaks holy terror on another bar. The bartender (Cheech Marin) doesn't believe him at first, but eventually confirms the story. So when a mysterious Mexican later enters the bar with a guitar case, the locals are wary. The Mariachi (Antonio Banderas) first claims to be looking for work and only when pressed does he admit that he's looking for Bucho (Joaquim de Almeida), the man who wronged him. The bartender insists that his case be opened and when he sees that it contains a mini-arsenal, instructs the bars patrons to open fire. This begins just one of many scenes of carnage in the film.

With a fondness for bullets and a penchant for blood, both splattered and smeared, "Desperado" is a very violent film. Not much plot is going on, but that doesn't prevent writer/director Rodriguez from finding ways to incorporate a fair share of sex and nudity into the production. The film's visual flair is nearly its saving grace. Nearly.

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