El Mariachi
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Filmed in two weeks on a budget of 7,000 dollars, El Mariachi was one of the singular pleasures of the 1993-1994 movie season. Kind-spirited guitarist El Mariachi (Carlos M. Gallardo) simply wants to wander through life as his father and grandfather did, with a song in his heart and a smile on his lips. He wanders into a small mob-run town, guitar case in hand. It so happens that the local criminal element is awaiting the arrival of vicious hit man Azul (Reinol Martinez), who is well known for carrying his weapons in...a guitar case. Just when you think you've got a lock on what's… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Has a verve and cheekiness that's partly a smart wedding of such influences as Sergio Leone, George Miller and south-of-the-border noir."
‑ Todd McCarthy, Variety
"It goes without saying that Mr. Rodriguez, having made such a clever and inventive debut, is prepared for a big future of his own."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Despite its age, El Mariachi holds up remarkably well. The film's low budget (roughly $7,000, allegedly) actually helps build tension in the narrative - like you're watching something that's really happening."
‑ R. L. Shaffer, IGN DVD
"An endlessly inventive and charming zero-budget action movie."
‑ Rob Thomas, Capital Times (Madison, WI)
"Inspiring but misses a few cylinders"
‑ Karina Montgomery, Cinerina
"Juicy, adroit, and likable."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"A gripping, tautly-paced action flick that outdoes most of Hollywood's similar output."
‑ James Berardinelli, ReelViews
"The unrelenting tempo is bolstered by Rodriguez's camera work and editing: nearly every frame seems to have been shot with a careening, handheld camera, and they're cut together in a skillful, fluid fashion that enhances the tension and pace."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Brilliant low-budget filmmaking. Better than most action films with ten times the budget."
‑ Widgett Walls, Needcoffee.com
"A silly adventure tale that would have failed even with a $200 million budget."
‑ Forrest Hartman, Reno Gazette-Journal
"Rodriguez goes for broke with a breakneck pace, swarms of bullets, cinematic tricks, and a tone as playful as it is knowing of genre conventions. The director's light touch is all his own; and this unpretentious offering delivers in all departments."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"An enormously entertaining movie."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"No festival is true to its name if it doesn't display at least one discovery. In 1992 that spot was occupied by Robert Rodriguez, who made a charming actioner for $7,500; never mind that Columbia later invested $1 million for its theatrical release."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Nowhere near as extravagant as its succesors, yet it remains a constant simple pleasure, best enjoyed with a shot of Patron and a cold Corona"
‑ Brian Mckay, eFilmCritic.com
"Has tons more charm than its star-studded, big-budget reprise, Desperado."
‑ Bill Chambers, Film Freak Central
More reviews for El Mariachi on Rotten Tomatoes

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