Film: Desperado

He came back to settle the score with someone. Anyone. EVERYONE.

Desperado (1995), a.k.a. Pistolero in Spanish, is an action thriller film starring Antonio Banderas. It is the second movie in Robert Rodriguez's Mexico or Mariachi Trilogy , following El Mariachi and followed by Once upon a Time in Mexico. Has the interesting distinction of being one of very few sequels to be in an entirely different language from the first movie.

Our No Name Given Protagonist has lost his love and killed her killer. That's just not enough for him. So he's trying to find her killer's boss and kill him, too. Unfortunately for El Mariachi, he'll have to use every gun in his guitar case against Mooks in seedy bars, thugs after his life, a knife throwing assassin, to do it. And all of this while keeping Carolina (Salma Hayek), his new love interest, friend and informant, and random bystanders alive.

Not to be confused with Desperados.

This movie contains examples of:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: El, twice.
  • Badass Spaniard: El Mariachi.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Oro Verde and Tarasco bars, both of which were hangouts for members of Bucho's gang, and both of which get a rather violent housecleaning by El Mariachi.
  • Blast Out
  • Blown Across the Room: Mariachi does this all the time, either with his shotguns or with Guns Akimbo.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: To the annoyance of all Spanish-speakers everywhere the word "desperado" is horribly mangled Spanish. The correct spelling should be "desesperado".
    • However, the word "desperado" has its own connotations in English (likely borrowed from Spanish itself) that quite befits El Mariachi. And one can hardly accuse Robert Rodriguez of not knowing Spanish — the movie's title in Spanish is the more appropriate Pistolero, or "pistoleer."
  • Cain and Abel: It is revealed when Mariachi and Bucho finally face off that they are brothers.
  • Captain Obvious / Ask a Stupid Question...: When the goons at the bar confront El Mariachi about the guitar case, he invokes this: "What is that?" "My guitar case." "What's in it?" "...My guitar...?"
    • A Call Back to the first movie, where the exchange involves a different character.
  • The Cast Showoff: That's really Antonio Banderas playing and singing with Los Lobos in the dream sequence.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Campa and Quino, the two mariachis that El calls in for backup during the final act, appear as his band in the film's opening credits. Navajas can also be seen flipping a knife in his hand in the background early on when the last guy from the Tarasco bar is stalking El down the street.
  • Confessional: Mariachi is a good Catholic, so he goes to confession after cleaning out Tarasco in the bloodiest shootout in the entire film:
    Mariachi: Bless me Father, for I have just killed quite a few men.
    Buscemi: No shit!
    • It also gets Lampshaded a bit later, when the actual priest comes up to El Mariachi.
    Priest: Would you like to come to confession, my son?
    Mariachi: Maybe later, father; because where I am going, I would just have to come right back.
  • Crippling the Competition: In the backstory shown in Desperado, the Mariachi received a hand wound that ruins him as a guitar player. However, it doesn't do anything to imapair his later Improbable Aiming Skills as a gunfighter.
  • Death by Cameo: Quentin Tarantino is executed quickly. Well, okay, he tells the long version of an old joke and does a lot of other pointless stuff, too.
  • Deus ex Machina: El kills Bucho but it's not explained how he and Carolina escape.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Seriously, the first half hour is just "Guys telling stories in bars: The movie."
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Carolina's introduction. Hey, it's Salma Hayek, they have an excuse. Judging by her reaction to the car crash, it's not the first time that's happened.
  • Drink Order: El Mariachi drinks soda. MANLY soda.
    • "All I got is piss-warm Chango."
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: A variation: He used to be a Mariachi, but now is a hitman with a guitar case full of guns.
  • Fade to White: Used in the climax.
  • Flashback with the Other Darrin: A scene from the end of the original El Mariachi is reprised at the beginning of Desperado, with Banderas in the role instead of Carlos Gallardo. It's fairly convincing.
  • Gang Initiation Fight: When Bucho's dragon says that his nephew is trying to get into the gang, Bucho throws the nephew into a savage initiation fight.
  • Godzilla Threshold: El is hesitant to call in Campa and Quino to help, because the two of them would likely destroy the whole town.
    • Then he calls them, and... RealityEnsues. Sure, they're badass and able to cause lots of damage, but the town is pretty much still there. They wreck havoc for a while, then they get dispatched rather easily. How anti-climatic.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: The movie has an extended, passionate love scene — one of the hottest in mainstream cinema — between El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas!) and Carolina (Salma Hayek!). Cut to the villain Bucho lying on his bed, smoking a cigar and looking bored while a prostitute bounces up and down on him. Then she kisses him and he blows smoke into her mouth, sending her into a coughing fit.
  • Guns Akimbo: The Mariachi uses dual Ruger K P90s to clean out the Tarasco Bar and to kill his Big Bad brother.
  • The Gunslinger: El Mariachi is Type C, with undertones of Type A.
  • Harbinger of Impending Doom: Subverted: Buscemi trolls the same story of El's massacre of a Bad-Guy Bar to shady bars in different towns, and gauges the patrons' reactions. Annoyed disinterest in an annoying stranger's rambling? Move on to the next one. Mass "Oh, Crap!" from legitimately bad guys? Call in El.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Subverted. It helps if your silencer is made to go with the gun you're using.
  • Hot Librarian: Carolina, though she, like everyone in the town, was a mule for the Big Bad's money.
  • I Found You Like This: Carolina nurses El Mariachi back to health after the Tarasco shootout.
  • Improbable Weapon User: The musicians wield guitar cases that double as rocket launchers and machine guns.
    • During the dream-sequence in the film's opening credits, El Mariachi gives a bad guy a Tap on the Head with his guitar. Without having to stop playing to do so.
  • In a World: From the trailer.
    In a town where greed rules, money talks, revenge kills and passion burns; Antonio rules.
  • Knife Nut: The knife throwing assassin Navajas, played by Danny Trejo.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Once El gets his old crew together.
    El: "Let's play."
  • Ms. Fanservice: Who do you think?
  • No Name Given: El Mariachi, the Short Bartender, the guy played by Quentin Tarantino, and many of the other characters don't have names.
  • Nothing Up My Sleeve: El Mariachi keeps dual Ruger KP90s up his sleeves. The KP90 is a large pistol, so the prop guns had their grips cut off to fit up his sleeves, which you can briefly see when he draws them.
  • Pillow Pistol: Mariachi does this with one of his Rugers, which concerns Buscemi:
    Buscemi: One day, you're gonna lay down too hard on that thing and blow your brains out.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Mariachi with Quino and Campa
  • Quick Draw: Mariachi does this with two full-sized .45s from his sleeves.
  • Remake Cameo: The star of El Mariachi, Carlo Gallardo, has a minor role in Desperado.
  • Retcon: At the end of El Mariachi, the Mariachi said his injury would pretty much certainly doom his career as a musician. Uh, maybe not...
    • On the other hand, the screenplay does acknowledge this: when showing a child some guitar tricks, The Desperado says, "ignore the left hand. The left hand is not important." The only time he plays more with more flexibility is in a dream sequence.
    • He also starts to sweat when playing with the guitar and stops abruptly, as if the pain has become too much.
    • The movie also suggests that the pain is in his head and the only thing injured is his confidence.
  • Right Hand Versus Left Hand: The bad guys engaging in this saves the Mariachi's life. Danny Trejo's master knife-thrower is seconds away from killing him when a bunch of gunmen drive up, mistake Trejo for the Mariachi, and shoot him full of holes. When they get back to base, their boss is on the phone to his bosses, who are telling him about their master knife-thrower whom they've sent to town.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: His name is El Mariachi. You killed his girlfriend. Prepare to die.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: El Mariachi uses this in the first major bar shootout, before switching to the Rugers for the rest of the movie.
  • Senseless Violins: Multiple variations.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Deconstructed. El Mariachi has a buddy go ahead of him to towns and spread tales about him.
  • Slipknot Ponytail: Mariachi often keeps his hair in a ponytail, and it unravels into a Badass look during the shootouts that he gets into.
  • South of the Border
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Bucho.
  • Suspect Is Hatless
  • A Tankard of Moose Urine: The Bad-Guy Bar has terrible beer, to keep casual customers away (it's a front for the drug smuggling operation). After one of the customers says that the beer tastes like piss, Tavo makes a crack about pissing in the beer, and based on some of the reactions people have when drinking it, it's very possible he wasn't joking.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In the first movie, "El" was an Action Survivor who spent most of the time on the run and only made a single kill. By the time this movie starts, he is clearing out bars and making a name for himself.
  • Two Shots from Behind the Bar: The opening shootout ends with the bartender pulling a shotgun to try to take out the Mariachi as he was walking away. As for how it turned out...
    Buscemi: ...No, man. The bartender got it worse than anybody.
  • The Unfavorite: Bucho (Cesar) hated the fact that their father loved Mariachi (Juanito) more than him.
  • Unflinching Walk: Mariachi and Carolina do this after tossing a grenade off a roof. It makes a much larger explosion than it should.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Buscemi. Justified, as in he's intentionally trying to get the bar patrons torqued up to see how they'll react.
    • Although, going by the shootout that happens after he tells the story (to say nothing of the rest of the movie), he doesn't seem to have exaggerated much.
  • Wham Line: Mariachi and Bucho's confrontation.
    Bucho: "I thought I was looking for the devil himself, when really it was just my kid brother".
  • World of Badass
  • You Have Failed Me: Bucho does this to one of his underlings.