Back in 1992, El Mariachi was made by then-23-year-old Robert Rodriguez in northern Mexico for $7,000, with all the intentions of being distributed across the Mexican home video market. Instead, Columbia Pictures took notice and released the film nationwide, earning international acclaim and even a spot in the national film registry for the young filmmaker.
In the 11 years that followed, Rodriguez wrote, directed, and edited two follow-up movies, Desperado in 1995, recasting unknown Carlos Gallardo with movie star Antonio Banderas (who turns 55 today), and the star-studded Once Upon A Time in Mexico in 2003. With considerably more capital to work with, Rodriguez elevated his game with each installment, creating more complex and elaborate action sequences every time. Take a look at some of the best bloody, blown-up, and bullet-ridden scenes throughout the trilogy.
Azul strolls in for a beer
Fresh from the assassination attempt that lead to his escape from jail, Azul continues his path of revenge against Moco, the boss who orchestrated the hit against him. Tense stand-off scenes like this would become a staple of the trilogy, and Rodriguez’s style — the gritty, low-budget quality punctuated by the almost deafening silence — heightens the tension.