Saturday, August 12, 2017

Lady Butch and Sundance, or Thoughts on Bandidas

Luc Besson, the French action movie auteur and director of La Femme Nikita (1990), Leon: The Professional (1994) and The Fifth Element (1997) has built his career on female-centric action movies, or let’s be honest, girls who kick ass, so when you hear that he wrote and produced Bandidas (2005), starring Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek, you should have an idea where this movie is going to go before it even begins.
Penelope Cruz is Maria, a farmer’s daughter and gunslinger while Salma Hayek portrays Sara, a wealthy landowner’s daughter and knife expert (it’s a Luc Besson movie).  After Sara’s father is killed in a land grab by a railroad company the two senoritas join forces to rob banks and save all the villagers who were displaced by the evil railroad company.  Also with Steve Zahn as Quentin Cooke, a New York detective and proponent of the fancy new-fangled science of deduction and Dwight Yoakam as Tyler Jackson, the bad guy.
Like all buddy comedies the movie is built on the chemistry between the stars, and Salma and Penelope have a believable onscreen rivalry without letting it overwhelm the plot; a tricky balance that works well with the whole accidental desperado Robin Hood premise.  If watching Salma Hayak and Penelope Cruz shooting guns, riding horses and jumping into rivers is your thing (and why wouldn’t it be), this is the movie for you.

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