The titanic team up of Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz is really the only reason to watch this fun but otherwise forgettable western.
In pre-revolutionary Mexico, an American banking company is stealing the land of peasant farmers to build a cross-country railroad. Sara (Hayek), the daughter of a banker betrayed and murdered by company henchman Jackson (Dwight Yoakam), and Maria (Cruz), the daughter of a displaced farmer, team up to exact revenge by robbing the company’s banks. They soon join forces with the forensic investigator (Steve Zahn) hired to bring them to justice, and the trio sets out to bring down the whole operation.
Hayek and Cruz are energetic and sexy, and they have great chemistry. These two great actresses certainly have more talent than this fluff requires, but they give it their all manage to redeem an otherwise subpar film. The script by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen has all the hallmarks of the duo’s other work (“The Fifth Element,” “The Transporter”), but without the same originality and wit. The situations are cliched and predictable, many of the jokes are obvious, and the Mexican setting and characters are painting with broad, borderline stereotypical, strokes. The material perhaps could have been better served if it had been directed by Besson himself rather than newcomers Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg. Instead the direction is flat, with the action scenes rendered chaotic and ridiculous.
So is it worth a look? Definitely, if you’re a fan of either Salma Hayek or Penelope Cruz. They both bring personality to spare and have fun embracing both the underlying Girl Power message, as well as the sheer mindless escapism of it all.
“We have a microscope!”
“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969) and “The Fifth Element” (1997).
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