New Release: Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi trilogy on Blu-ray

Once Upon a Time in Mexico movie scene with Eva Mendes and Johnny Depp

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Gritty filmmaker Robert Rodriguez — co-director of the out west vampire horror From Dusk Til Dawn, the Planet Terror segment of Grindhouse and Sin City (even his tangent into kids movies with the Spy Kids series is far from Disney) — began his feature-length movie career with El Mariachi, an action film he would later revisit for two sequels, Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. On Jan. 4, 2011, the entire trilogy debuted in high-definition Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

1992 film El Mariachi tells the story of a traveling mariachi (Carlos Gallardo) who’s mistaken for a murderous criminal and must hide from a gang that wants to kill him. Rodriguez financed the film with his earnings from a month-long stay in a research hospital and shot it with borrowed equipment and a talented cast of unknowns.

Three years later, Rodriguez made Desperado with a bigger budget. In this movie, the mariachi (this time played by Antonio Banderas of The Mask of Zorro) seeks vengeance against the men who murdered his girlfriend and gets in the middle of a war with a local drug runner. Salma Hayek (Grown Ups), Cheech Marin (Hey Watch This), Steve Buscemi (Saint John of Las Vegas) and Quentin Tarantino (co-director of From Dusk Til Dawn and Grindhouse) also star.

The story wraps up in the 2003 movie Once Upon a Time in Mexico, with Banderas reprising his role as the mariachi, who gets involved in international espionage with a psychotic CIA agent and a corrupt Mexican general. Hayek again co-stars, and the cast also boasts Johnny Depp (Alice in Wonderland), Mickey Rourke (Iron Man 2), Eva Mendes (The Other Guys) and Danny Trejo, star of Rodriguez’s recent film, Machete.

As well as directing the El Mariachi trilogy, Rodriguez wrote all the films.

The first two movies in the series were released as a double-feature on a single Blu-ray, with Once upon a Time in Mexico in a separate Blu-ray. Each release was priced at $19.95.

Both Blu-ray titles contain a new special feature called “The Cutting Room,” with which fans can cut together video clips and music from the films and post them on BD-Live for others to view and rate.

The special features lists also include extras found on earlier DVD releases. On the El Mariachi/Desperado double feature:

  • commentary with Rodriguez on both movies
  • Rodriguez’s signature “10 Minute Film School”
  • Rodriguez’s student short film “Bed Head”
  • “10 More Minutes: Anatomy of a Shootout”
  • Los Lobos with Antonio Banderas “Morena De Mi Corazon”
  • Tito & Tarantula “Back to the House That Love Built”
  • and Sony’s MovieIQ BD-Live trivia feature.

The Once Upon a Time in Mexico Blu-ray includes these special features:

  • commentary with Rodriguez
  • deleted scenes with optional commentary
  • “Ten-Minute Cooking School”
  • “Film is Dead: An Evening With Robert Rodriguez”
  • “The Good, the Bad and the Bloody: Inside KNB FX”
  • “Ten-Minute Flick School”
  • “Inside Troublemaker Studios”
  • and “The Anti-Hero’s Journey.”

All three movies are rated R.


Buy or Rent El Mariachi/Desperado
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Buy or Rent Once Upon a Time in Mexico
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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.