Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bandidas

Bandidas, a movie about a couple of Mexican female bandits, one a spoilt rich girl and the other an uneducated peasant, is surprisingly lots of fun, completely over the top in places, and neatly amusing in others. There are few moments when the film seems to be heading towards a wet-t-shirt-contest type of humour, but it also has better humour in it, and that keeps it from being a waste of time. It’s had a bit of a bad press, and went straight to DVD, virtually, but that was probably unfair on the movie.
Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek comport themselves with plenty of enthusiasm, and Steve Zahn joins in the fun about halfway through. Sam Shepard fills up a cameo role with ease, and the rest of the cast contribute to the general good humour.
The two women in the story decide to join forces after both their fathers are killed by the villainous Tyler Jackson (Dwight Yoakam), a baddie whose intentions are to swindle everyone in sight. He’s supposedly the agent for a banking group, so the girls begin systematically robbing those particular banks in order to support the peasants who have been robbed of their land. Zahn is the son-in-law (unbeknownst to the girls) of the bank’s chief manager and after being employed by the bank to use his detective skills to chase down the girls, he winds up joining them - after a scene in which he is tied naked to his bed and dealt to by the girls. It could have been a crude scene; somehow Zahn’s face keeps it in from being so.
Finally keep an eye out for the performances from the two horses: they’re a delight, and the scene in which one of them appears to climb a ladder onto a roof must have been done by a stunt horse - there’s no way they’d let the real horse star go through such a dangerous stunt.
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