For some strange reason I was really looking forward to the DVD release of Bandidas... oh yea, it probably had something to do with the fact that the two stars are the gorgeous Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek, and the fact that the film basically consists of them beating the crap out of people and fighting each other. Yes this film contains some girl fights and quite a few make-out scenes unfortunately not with each other, sorry, but with Steve Zahn who has to be the luckiest guy in the world.
Bandidas is your typical western story where the American bad guy comes to a small Mexican village and throws all the villagers off their land. Dwight Yoakam plays the villain in the story, Tyler Jackson. Jackson has an association with the railroad who has plans to route track through Mexico. Jackson has setup stakes in a small Mexican village and taken over everything by killing the mayor of the city Don Diego. He now controls the town, the bank and all the surrounding banks which are protected by US Federal law. Ultimately it's his plan to screw over as many people as he can and steal the gold meant for the construction of the railroad.
The bandidas arise from the devastation of their small village; Sara (Salma Hayek) is the privileged daughter of Don Diego who is killed by Tyler Jackson after he signs his over his land. Maria (Penelope Cruz) is a poor farm girl whose father is almost murdered when he refuses to sign his land over to Jackson. These incidents hit both women hard and they decide to fight back and seek retribution for the wrongs done to their people; the only problem is they can't get along with each other. Once they are finally able to put their differences aside they begin their crime spree on all the banks under the management of Jackson and his men. Their goal is to steal back what Jackson unlawfully stole from their people.
While Bandidas is quite corny, and poorly written, it harkens back to the style of western that made The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. and Shanghai Noon quite popular. If you’re a fan of either one of those it's more than likely you'll see past the immaturity of this film and enjoy the adventure, and it's only an hour and a half which moves surprising fast. For a film that really saw no theater release (at least not in the US), and probably had quite a small budget, its not that bad compared to most straight to DVD or very limited releases.
My only real complaint about the movie was Dwight Yoakam; his performance in this film should be a clear example of why musicians should not act. He had the villain look down, or maybe just the greasy look, but his character was about as corny as a villain could possibly get. If I had to compare his performance it would be quite similar to that of John Travolta in Battlefield Earth mixed with Dr. Loveless from the horrible film ripoff of a great television show entitled The Wild Wild West. To make matters worse he even looked quite similar to Travolta.
Overall, Bandidas is quite an enjoyable film and doesn't attempt to take itself seriously nor do the actors, but it's not completely campy to the point that it's stupid. With that said if I had the opportunity to choose one role in any film, it would be Steve Zahn's role in this one, because I have never seen someone get kissed more often by two beautiful women than this guy, and let me say I would have stuck with these two girls at the end and not parted ways! In the end, what's not to love about this film other than the bad John Travolta type villain, I'm more than open for a sequel or even a television series... why not!