Once Upon a Time in Mexico is a 2003 action film written, produced, edited, cinematographied, scored, and directed by Robert Rodriguez. It is the third and final film in Rodriguez’s Mexico Trilogy, and is a sequel to El Mariachi (1992) and Desperado (1995). The film features Antonio Banderas in his second and final performance as El Mariachi.
Once Upon a Time in Mexico was not only the first film Rodriguez ever shot digitally in HD (instead of 35mm film) but was also one of the first high budget films shot in HD pre-dating Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, which laid claim to this at it’s time of release. The movie received positive reviews, but was criticized for reducing its protagonist to an almost secondary character in his own trilogy and for having a convoluted plot. In the special features of the film’s DVD, Rodriguez has explained that this was intended, as he wanted this to be The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the trilogy.
Once upon a time… it is a time of trouble is Mexico. The Mexican president has declared war on the Barillo drug cartel, who has plans to fight back by backing a coup by General Marquez to overthrow the government. Agent Sands of the CIA is in the middle of it all trying to make sure Marquez do NOT succeed… by forcing the notorious hit man-for-hire El Mariachi (Antonio Bandares) out of retirement. El Mariachi, after the death of his wife and daughter years earlier (from the previous film ‘Desperado’), no longer wishes to fight, but he may not have a choice. At Culiacan, Barillo and Marquez have set a trap for the president, and Sands want El Mariachi to take out Marquez after the coup. El Mariachi called upon his two brothers for the final showdown… To save the revolution. Who will remain standing at the end?