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Columbia/1995/103/ANA 1.85

    Give a lean and mean filmmaker a little more money and he can pull out all sorts of technical wizardry from his arsenal. Desperado, young director Robert Rodriguez’s reworking of his very fresh, on the cheap, feature debut, El Mariachi is a two edged sword. The edge honed for action is a technical tour-de-force and the edge prepped for story is overbearingly dull. It appears that Rodriguez needs a marriage between his filmmaking abilities and someone else’s complimentary writing sensitivity.
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Banderas kicks butt.İColumbia

     Much of Desperado does no more than retrace elements of that fresh and frenzied first film. It is a hybrid of remake and sequel, unfortunately lacking the innocence of the director’s first effort. This time out the Mariachi is more technically well heeled, mimicking Rodriguez’s additional production bucks. More squibs, more bullets, more machines, less genuine ingenuity.
     Director Rodriguez is also gifted with the dynamic screen presence of Antonio Banderas. Banderas acquits himself very well under the director’s guidance, filling up the movie stars shoes much more convincingly than he did in his Assassins role opposite Stallone. More the shame that Banderas hasn’t got much more to do than leap through air while firing off a ridiculous variety of weaponry. The rest of the casting is questionable at best. The usually reliable Steve Buscemi who seems to be everywhere these days fares poorly under the Rodriguez flag and Quentin Tarantino seems so out of place it is pathetic.
     The quick cuts and imaginative dissolves do instill fire in the montage process. But the mammoth holes in the story cannot be covered up the dexterous editing of Rodriguez. The photography by Guillermo Navarro is inventive and polished and the music by Los Lobos is highly enjoyable. The title sequence with Banderas blasting guitar chords instead of guns is a joy. It is down hill from there. Desperado could almost define gratuitous violence. It even lacks the ability to laugh at itself.
     Desperado is an amazing looking DVD. Rodriguez's slick visuals have all the punch of a theatrical release on this transfer. Images are immaculately transferred in sharp strokes. An aggressive sound mix produced enormous involvement in the fireworks and the Los Lobos music tracks are pure energy.. The color, a bit warm, is appealing.
     Director Robert Rodriguez an acknowledged champion of laser, enters the DVD medium full throttle with the same energy with which he directs. The accompanying second audio track commentary is a tribute to the medium. His technical explanations are interesting and once again as on the audio track of E l Mariachi, he explains how he made the most of his budgetary constraints, though this time at least he was in the big leagues. Desperado is packaged as a double feature with El Mariachi, Rodriguez's highly original and energetic debut film. Viewing these two films as a double feature is an excellent lesson in filmmaking humility. The double feature is priced at a retail of $39.95, a true bargain. Not only are you getting two feature films but a most worthy special edition. The concept of packaging remakes together is splendid. This instance is especially unusual since the films were made by the same director almost immediately after one another. Wouldn't be great to package classic and remakes together in one package at attractive pricing. Well, we can dream, can't we.

      John Wayne brings movie star gusto to Hellfighters, the fictional story of the premier oil well fire fighters. Based on the actual exploits of legendary fire man Red Adair and others, the film captures the intensity with which these characters attack their work and their personal lives.

In the thick of the actionİUniversal

     Chance Buckman’s the man. You got a fire at your oil field, Chance will blow it out for you as slick and neat as a match after lighting a cigarette. He’ll minimize the danger and damage too. Buckman’s boys are rough and ready. At a moment’s notice it’s jump out of the sack and into the field. Battling fires is their rush and the passion with which they embrace their work often means family turmoil. With a team of veterans and a cocky heir apparent, Buckman rules the roost with an iron fist and a sense of humor.