- Very good low-budget film, puts most "blockbusters" to shame. 8/11/2000 12:00:00 AM by TxMike
It is so well-established now in other comments, I won't repeat that Robert Rodriguez made this debut film of his for a mere $7,000. Regardless how much he did or didn't spend, this is a very well-written and photographed story of a nice young man who only wants to be a Mariachi singer, but is inadvertently caught up in a manhunt and several gunfights. The movie is not intended to be taken seriously. The crook with the guitar case full of guns is supposed to be part of the joke of the movie. Many people get shot and killed, and of course that isn't funny in real life, but this film is not intended to reflect real life. It is just an entertaining film. Sort of a cartoon come to life.
I saw this on DVD, which is real nice because the extra features contain a great insight into how Rodriguez shot and edited this movie. For example, all the filming was done "silently". Then, armed with a tape recorder and Radio Shack microphone, he had the actors re-do the scene while he recorded the dialog and other sounds. Music was done the same way. Then, when Rodriguez edited the movie, he matched the tape-recorded sound to the filmed action for the final cut. Watching the film you can notice some non-synchronization, and that's the reason why. It is certainly not distracting. He made the film with no crew, no fancy equipment, vrtally no lighting other than natural. Most of the actors were local Mexican businessmen, bartenders, or TV news men. Quite an achievement in movie-making, because it is a very entertaining movie on its own. I give it 9 of 10, partly because of the novelty of its origin.
The other side of the DVD contains Rodriguez's followup movie, "Desperado", which is actually a sequel to "El Mariachi." So, if you rent or buy this DVD, you are getting 2 movies for one price. Quite a deal!!
- This First One Still The Best In The Trilogy 12/24/2006 12:00:00 AM by ccthemovieman-1
This movie put director Robert Rodriguez "on the map." He followed up with two sequels: "Desperado" and "Once Upon A Time In Mexico." Not surprising, the best of the three was this low-budget opening film. As Rodriquez had more and more money to spend on the sequels, the stories got more and more carried away with too many explosions and special-effects, losing the charm of this first effort.
Unlike the sequels, this Mexican-made, so it is in Spanish with English subtitles. Don't let that scare you away. There isn't a great deal of dialog so keeping up with the subtitles is very easy.
The movie has very interesting camera closeups and angles as Rodriquez showed he was going to be a stylish director. The story is simple but effective, suspenseful and even with some humor. Unnlike his subsequent films in this trilogy, the action is not overdone here.
The length is also is a plus. At 80 minutes you can be thoroughly entertained in less than an hour-and-a half. The only disappointment to me was the print quality on th DVD, but I got an early edition. There might be better editions out since. It's not fuzzy but it's not sharp, either.
Anyway: highly recommend for actions/crime buffs who like style in their photography, or saw the sequels and would like to know the history of this particular "Mariachi."
- Frenetic. 11/29/1998 12:00:00 AM by Peach-2
I know the budget for this film was somewhere between 5000 and 7000 dollars, but I would like to comment more on the pacing and frenetic film style Rodriguez bestows upon us. Low budget or not,this film has energy. It never lets down for more than a few minutes and the editing is amazing. Robert Rodriguez has such a knowledge of film-making that he makes this movie look like a million bucks easy. The film isn't perfect, but on sheer energy alone it will entertain you more than most over-blown Hollywood action films.
- Robert Rodriguez's feature film debut!! 8/16/2005 12:00:00 AM by Captain_Couth
El Mariachi (1992) was a fine debut for film maker Robert Rodriguez. He makes the most of his minuscule budget and makes a very entertaining action film. The story behind the making of the film is even more interesting than the movie itself. You can tell from this movie that Robert Rodriguez had a bright future in the movie business.
The story is about a musician who's trying to find work in a Mexican border town. None of the places he visits wants to hire a guitar player for their business. Meanwhile another man comes to town carrying a guitar case, he's no musician. He's a notorious hit man for a local gangster. When their paths cross, nothing but trouble lies ahead for the El Mariachi. Can the poor dude survive the week without being killed? Who is this guitar carrying killer? Why is he in town? What are the local crime boss' motives? To find out you'll have to watch EL MARIACHI!!!
An interesting debut that showed lots of promise. The movie was followed by a pseudo-sequel/remake a few years later with a bigger budget and a cast filled with a lot of named actors.
- Dynamic debut... 2/2/2005 12:00:00 AM by poe426
Jaded, perhaps, by years of toiling in the Public Access field (and having sat through scores of first, foundering efforts by scores of foundering aspiring filmmakers), I was taken completely by surprise by the remarkable Robert Rodriguez's first film. As sure and as "polished" as any feature, EL MARIACHI belies its no-budget roots and stands as a testament to determination- and talent. If you're one of those whose attention span precludes sitting down and actually reading Rodriguez's book REBEL WITHOUT A CREW, I recommend obtaining a DVD featuring his "ten-minute film school." And pay very close attention: There'll be a quiz afterward.