If you’re looking for a casual yet exciting action-comedy, Bandidas is a perfect choice. On the face of it, the plot and the general idea seem really tacky. I mean, you can clearly feel what they were going for with two beautiful women becoming bandits and robbing banks. However, this is such a well-crafted movie with a solid script and tastefully done eroticism that it simply works. Gorgeous cinematography helps immensely with that. We will enjoy that trademark Latin America color palette and stunning Mexican vistas.
The idea of a fun western movie is not new. We all remember The Quick and The Dead and perhaps even more Wild Wild West. While those are nineties movies, Shanghai Noon, The Legend of Zorro, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico all came before this one. I just love these types of movies. They are commercial and made on a big budget but they’re also very easy to watch. They’re perfect for those days when you’re too tired to follow complex narratives. A definition of eye candy.
Speaking of eye candies, Bandidas stars Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, and Steve Zahn. The three of them had a lot of chemistry, especially Cruz and Hayek. After all, they’ve been friends for years before signing onto this movie. Before you get any ideas, let me tell you that there’s no nudity in Bandidas. However, there will be a couple of titillating and tastefully done scenes. Zahn and Cruz also star in a similarly fun adventure movie Sahara, alongside Matthew McConaughey. So do check it out if you’re looking for more of the same.
A vicious land baron Tyler Jackson is causing a lot of death and despair in Mexico. He’s trying to get the cheapest land possible for the new railway and he’s willing to do anything to get it. However, two young women who come from different backgrounds are about to mount an effort to foil his plans. To stop them, Tyler hires a man of special talents, criminal investigator Quentin Cooke. This is where things get tricky for all parties involved.
I think that they were well aware that the main story is flimsy as fuck so they added a lot of fun gimmicks. It was so fun to watch Steve Zahn’s character Quentin CSI the shit out of some scenes. And I did check, the fingerprints were invented at the time the story is taking place. The script was written by Luc Besson who worked on such hits as The Fifth Element, Taxi, Taken, and The Transporter. So, it’s not surprising that the action sequences are very exciting and diverse.
We have one hell of a slow-motion scene with excellent special effects but that’s just a start. This is a movie that has bank and train robberies and a healthy amount of shootouts. Plus, did you ever see a horse climb a ladder? With a runtime of just ninety minutes, Bandidas features fast pacing and a very vibrant atmosphere. You will somehow feel energized after watching the movie despite its predictability.
The ending leaves the door open to a possible sequel set in Europe but this idea was never realized. Probably because of the poor box office results. Which is a shame since this is a really charming little western and I would love to see how our trio would fare in Europe. And since all of them are still active, one can hope that someone would see the potential of Bandidas 2.
Directors: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
Writers: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Cast: Penélope Cruz, Salma Hayek, Steve Zahn, Dwight Yoakam, Sam Shepard, José María Negri
Fun Facts: The two directors had very different tasks. Joachim Rønning was in charge of the technical aspects and shooting while Espen Sandberg was working with the actors. The cast said it was a thrill to work with them both.