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THE FIFTH ELEMENT Gang + Salma & Penelope = BANDIDAS!! (Review)

Merrick's eyes explode like flash paper...

Salma Hayek. Penelope Cruz. Lots of guns (I mean the kind you shoot, not...oh, never mind). Luc Besson writing and producing. Robert Mark Kamen (FIFTH ELEMENT and THE TRANSPORTER) co-scripting. Thierry Arbogast (LE FEMME NIKITA, FIFTH ELEMENT, and one of the coolest names I've ever heard) photography. Eric Serra score. The Besson Gang's all here. And so are Salma, and Penelope, and guns.

Behold the absurdly hot, mind-bendingly provocative Latina majesty that is: BANDIDAS!

Mounteen has seen it. He says the plot "has more holes in it than a freshly shot Mexican", but he still kinda liked it. How could any male, who is even vaguely alive, not?

Here's Mounteen...

I just saw the new film Bandidas, starring Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek that drops in the U.S. on May 5th.

It’s a pretty decent little action / comedy / western that’s really only kept alive by the chemistry of its two leads. Cruz plays Maria Alvarez, a lowly farm girl with a lot of street smarts, who is very talented with a gun. Hayek plays the very upper class Sara Sandoval. She’s the daughter of a local politician, and much more knowledgeable than Maria. The two very different women become a bank-robbing duo in an effort to stop a ruthless enforcer (Dwight Yoakam) from stealing there land to build a railroad.

Penelope and Salma have never been sexier. It’s almost too much beauty for one film. I don’t know who decided to pair these two up but they’re a genius. There is a point in the film where they are both dressed in burlesque outfits, fondeling each other, and practicing their kissing on a naked Steve Zahn. I mean c’mon a naked Steve Zahn is worth the price of admission alone. Cruz and Hayek do play off each other nicely, it’s always fairly amusing and funny and never descends into annoying hen pecking.

The other great performance here is Dwight Yoakam. He is great at playing the villain, and while this film is no Panic Room, Yoakam does let fly a very evil bastard who is a very imposing bad guy. Steve Zahn is also good as always but he never really gets time to shine. He’s playing third fiddle to Cruz and Hayek, which suits the flow of the film just right.

The real downside to Bandidas is the plot. It’s got more holes in it than a freshly shot Mexican. We’re never really shown who Yoakam’s character is, or who he works for if anyone. His motivation is not really made clear enough to understand. We just know that he likes to kill people, and he wants land to build a railroad. The story just seems wrapped up a little too quickly at the end as well. All these girls do through the whole film is rob banks, yet at the end no one seems to really care that they stole a ton of cash. If they’d just expand the plot a little more and let us in on the big picture of what’s actually happening, than it would make the film that much more enjoyable.

With that said it’s still an enjoyable buddy action comedy. With stars that are much easier to look at than say Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. The action is top notch. Especially one scene at the end that is a slow motion almost “matrix” style gun fight that happens on a train. It’s a pretty spectacular sequence. Bandidas is a fun film that will deliver a few laughs as well, so I think it’s worth checking out.

"More holes in it than a freshly shot Mexican!" Don't blame me...I didn't write it!

Readers Talkback
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  • March 27, 2006, 4:27 p.m. CST


    by robotdevil

  • March 27, 2006, 4:29 p.m. CST

    the Review

    by robotdevil

    Your points about the plot notwithstanding, Cruz and Hayek together on screen = one ticket sold to me ;-)

  • March 27, 2006, 4:39 p.m. CST

    how to improve it

    by The Only Woj

    they should have just made an hour and a half movie of Selma vs Penelope in a dildo fight; first to climax loses. that, dear readers, would have been a box-office smash!

  • March 27, 2006, 4:42 p.m. CST

    My nuts can't take this !!!

    by teedadawg

    Salma AND Penelope??? Just reading that makes me worry I'm gonna blow baby batter like that scene from "Scary Movie 2" where Amy Smart whacks off Malcolm in the Middle's eldest brother in the freezer.

  • March 27, 2006, 4:43 p.m. CST

    Yokam as Villian?!!! Kickass

    by Big Bad Clone

    I hope he plays it like he did in Sling Blade. "I tell you what I don't like. I don't like smart mouth kids, retards and Bandidas! Go get my guitar."

  • March 27, 2006, 4:43 p.m. CST


    by hellas1g7

    fuckin awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When does it come out?

  • March 27, 2006, 4:48 p.m. CST

    the tagline still isn't working for me

    by jrbarker

  • March 27, 2006, 4:49 p.m. CST


    by Joseph Merrick

    OK. (sigh) I'll try again...

  • March 27, 2006, 4:56 p.m. CST

    I'd only see this movie if...

    by Forestal

    ...there was a love scene between the two women. Or if Salma shows her bare knockers.

  • March 27, 2006, 4:59 p.m. CST

    How does...

    by Harry Weinstein

    ...a naked Steve Zahn make it all worthwhile? Looks watchable, though the linked trailer is kind of strange - heavily accented English narration with French subtitles? I agree that it needs truckloads of FEMALE nudity to live up to its full potential - but even without it, between this and BLUEBERRY it's good to see some new Euro-westerns jumping off. Hopefully the Italians get in on some of this action, we're overdue for a new Trinity movie.

  • March 27, 2006, 5 p.m. CST

    didn't really like Benson's "Unleashed" script

    by Tall_Boy

    Or "Danny the Dog" as it was called. (damn, that's a much better title. Stupid studios) I thought the good guys were just too dangblasted good. It was like Danny had litterally been found by Heavenly Saints. Not just nice people, just litteral Understand (and Blind!) Saints. Urgh. Too schmaltzy. Still, dude wrote The Professional, so gotta give props for that.

  • March 27, 2006, 5:09 p.m. CST

    what the hell is with Luc Besson?

    by chickychow

    Not like he was ever great, but he's really resigned himself to putting out turd after turd, huh?

  • March 27, 2006, 5:19 p.m. CST

    THE FIFTH ELEMENT turns TEN years old next year!

    by Orionsangels

    Ten years of the Diva

  • March 27, 2006, 5:41 p.m. CST


    by mocky_puppet

    "I mean c

  • March 27, 2006, 5:42 p.m. CST


    by casinoskunk

    are we going to be able to understand a single line delivered by these two?

  • March 27, 2006, 5:42 p.m. CST


    by mocky_puppet

    ...The Fifth Element was a letdown.

  • March 27, 2006, 5:43 p.m. CST

    looks a bit like BAD GIRLS

    by speed

    and that's a bad sign. Watched the trailer and I'm not sure I get the marketing. You get two of the hottest actresses in Hollywood in your movie and you go with a trailer that has more male flesh than female...mmm...

  • March 27, 2006, 5:47 p.m. CST

    I don't know

    by quadrupletree

    Looks like a rental to me. And I liked Fifth Element too. What's with the voice-over on this trailer? It sounds like a scratch track....

  • March 27, 2006, 5:48 p.m. CST

    Zzzz. Call me when they make Matilda with Portman

    by Drath

    And figure out some way to get Oldman back too. Anything else bores me. That or a Fifth Element sequel.

  • March 27, 2006, 5:56 p.m. CST

    Make that two for Mathilda.

    by Childe Roland

    I'll be there when that opens, so long as Portman hasn't reached forty yet.

  • March 27, 2006, 5:57 p.m. CST

    5th element =

    by dr.bulber

    milla smokin ina ribbon suit. thats it. the only noteworthy thing about the movie. milla!!!

  • March 27, 2006, 6 p.m. CST

    A threesome with Salma and P-Cruz would be incredible.

    by R.C. the "Wise"


  • March 27, 2006, 6:02 p.m. CST

    farm girl with street smarts

    by Avenger534

    That doesn't make much sense to me. Must be I grew up on a different kind of farm.

  • March 27, 2006, 6:10 p.m. CST

    You chumps...

    by slone13

    ...should pull your heads out of your asses. The Fifth Element is way better when you watch it that way. A cab driver saving the world from giant ball of evil headed straight for earth. Brilliant. The only premise I've ever heard that beats that is the one about the deep core oil driller saving the world from a giant asteroid headed straight for earth. You dumb fucks wouldn't know a good movie if it leapt off the screen and took a steaming shit in your lap.

  • March 27, 2006, 6:14 p.m. CST

    slone13 is mad.

    by mocky_puppet

    i'll give you armageddon--i'm there with you on that one. it sets its sights on a certain goal and hits it perfectly--great movie. but fifth element? come on. take out the singer guy, add in more action, a little more brainy intrigue, and maybe. maybe. but i doubt it.

  • March 27, 2006, 6:20 p.m. CST

    This film needs Chris Tucker and Bruce Willis!!

    by pokadoo

  • March 27, 2006, 6:28 p.m. CST

    ??Thats a 2005 movie, it played months ago.

    by Windowlicker74

    I thought this was a news site..

  • March 27, 2006, 6:50 p.m. CST

    Penelope Cruz looks like a bird

    by BigTuna

    I never got the fuss over her. Hayek now, she is a piece of ass.

  • March 27, 2006, 7:01 p.m. CST

    So is there any...

    by Christopher3

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooodity? I must ask since Hayek whips out the puppies in every other movie, and Cruz has been known to do that on occasion as well.

  • March 27, 2006, 7:03 p.m. CST

    Right on Slone13

    by crazyhorse2099

    While certainly an acquired taste, Fifth Element is way better than most people give it credit for. Plus it's got one of the best visions of the future since Blade Runner.

  • March 27, 2006, 7:10 p.m. CST

    I'd rather have Zahn in burlesque

    by Nachokoolaid

    kissing a naked Hayek and Cruz.

  • March 27, 2006, 7:49 p.m. CST

    Fifth Element was the first movie to use what I call...

    by Orionsangels

    casual special effects. These are special effects used as casual baskdrops. Just set dressing. One profound scene for the birth of this style of special effect. Is when milla is in bruce's taxicab. in back of bruce through the window shield. you see traffic driving by. it's like an after thought. this effect would later become common thing, especially in the star wars prequels.

  • March 27, 2006, 7:51 p.m. CST

    did someone say "matrix style gun fight"?

    by TheBaxter

    count me in... the biggest thing that is missing in movies these days is matrix style gun fights. though i'd rather see matrix style strip teases or matrix style lap dances, considering the stars. hell, make it a matrix style lesbian three some and i'll see it twice.

  • March 27, 2006, 7:52 p.m. CST

    Armageddon is a good movie?

    by Lovecraftfan

    Ummm no

  • March 27, 2006, 8:37 p.m. CST

    Armageddon is a good movie

    by crazyhorse2099

    No ummmmmm about it. Half a billion dollars worldwide box office says a crapload of people agree.

  • March 27, 2006, 8:49 p.m. CST

    5th Element and Armageddon both suck.

    by chickychow

    and we all know it.

  • March 27, 2006, 8:50 p.m. CST

    and crazyhorse, thanks for bringing up the b.o. gross

    by chickychow

    Now we know your opinion isn't to be taken seriously.

  • March 27, 2006, 8:52 p.m. CST

    Better late then never...

    by TELF

    Vern just put up a brilliantly funny Transporter 2 review on his "Sight" for all those into Besson and the Besson Adjacent. 5th Element was a load of nonsense but I love it. This one looks fun too.

  • March 27, 2006, 8:58 p.m. CST

    ??half a billion dollars revenue= good movie..sigh

    by Windowlicker74

    Its not because you see a movie, that it's automatically a good movie. I thought we all agreed on that, and along comes crazyhorse..Armageddon was bad entertainment; half the budget was spent on marketing the damn picture, to make sure audences would pay.

  • March 27, 2006, 9:01 p.m. CST

    why not

    by dawsonanddowney

    I don't know. This movie doesn't look half bad. The cinematography looks great - bright, crisp summer flick. It's kinda like Brisco County Jr. tongue-in-cheek etc. Oh, and Armageddon IS bad...but I do love The Rock, seriously.

  • March 27, 2006, 9:03 p.m. CST

    5th Element...the Wonka of the 90's.

    by darth wayne

    It's a masterpiece. Feel free to disagree, but you'd be wrong.

  • March 27, 2006, 9:54 p.m. CST

    Merrick's tagline

    by EyeofPolyphemus

    Ever thought of quoting The Elephant Man? That's john Merrick instead of Joesph Merrick, but still. "I am not an animal!!" could have some mileage here.

  • March 27, 2006, 10 p.m. CST


    by EyeofPolyphemus

    Nevermind. His name actually was Joesph, not John. Darn you, Hollywood. I'll go back to my hole now.

  • March 27, 2006, 10:23 p.m. CST

    Box office gross can not be completely discounted

    by Professor Falcon

    While it can not be used to judge a film's "goodness" or lack thereof, it is an accurate measure of how many people attended it. To suggest that a movie that made over half a billion dollars owes its money simply to 'effective marketing' is preposterous. That being said, The Fifth Element did not do well at the box office, nor did it have effective marketing. That did not stop it from being a truly great movie. I concur with Darth Wayne. It is nigh a masterpiece.

  • March 28, 2006, 1:54 a.m. CST

    You know what I wanna know?

    by Doc_Strange

    How did the blue chick in 5th element possess the stones that Dallas needed? Did she eat em? An even more disturbing question is....... how was she gonna get em out if she didn't get shot? On second thought, let's not go there.......

  • March 28, 2006, 1:55 a.m. CST

    Add Scarlett and you have a Charlie's Angels I'd watch!

    by Flim Springfield

    Repeatedly... alone... pantless...

  • March 28, 2006, 1:56 a.m. CST

    Another thing.......

    by Doc_Strange

    I believe 5th Element did extremely well at the BO. Wasn't it the second highest grossing movie that summer? I was too busy rockin out to blue chicks groovin to futuristic techno and shitting out elemental stones to notice the final tally.

  • March 28, 2006, 4:39 a.m. CST

    Sounds great - but look at the trailer

    by Stollentroll

    Gee, I really really wanted to like this. FIFTH ELEMENT was the work of a genius director, with perfect cast and bold visuals. BANDIDAS looks like BACK TO THE FUTURE III GONE WILD.

  • March 28, 2006, 6:34 a.m. CST

    via bittorrent

    by kindred420

    saw this dvd via BT,horrible movie,but the 3some scene is fun to watch

  • March 28, 2006, 6:52 a.m. CST

    Fifth Element

    by ikkyu

    is, as has been pointed out above, a masterpiece! in terms of pure, rockin' FUN i find it hard to think of another movie off the top of my head that comes close. great performances from an awesome cast, great comedy, fantastic special effects, shitloads of giant explosions, a totally OTT storyline, moments of silly but enjoyable pathos, aliens, and Milla Jovovich nekkid - what's not to like? any geek who ever enjoyed a comic book must know this film rocks. i have no shame in saying it's one of my all-time fave fun-filled, popcorn movies. if you don't agree - what a shame! imho, you're missing out - loosen up, already!

  • March 28, 2006, 7:10 a.m. CST

    Chris Tucker

    by c4andmore

    ruined The Fifth Element, I wanted to claw my eyes and ears everytime he was on the screen.

  • March 28, 2006, 7:26 a.m. CST

    About Armageddon's gross

    by FluffyUnbound

    It was a science fiction adventure with a kick-ass premise featuring a couple of "stars" at pretty much the peak of their box-office appeal, and a host of supporting actors with minor fan bases that happened to dovetail nicely with the appeal of the genre. Oh, and it was marketed featuring kick-ass effects shots from the first ten minutes of the movie. It was a can't-miss box office proposition. The fact that the film completely dropped the ball on its premise didn't kill the box office because to know it was bad, you had to see it first. Being told it was bad, when the premise was that good, wasn't going to keep me away from the theatre, and I imagine it didn't keep a lot of other people away either. And there is a pretty good 90 minute movie hidden in there, if you cut the Mir sequence, all of Liv Tyler's scenes, eliminate the Aerosmith and replace it with literally any other music including Mongolian throat singing, and touch up a few of the weaker effect shots once they're on the asteroid.

  • March 28, 2006, 12:20 p.m. CST

    Matrix Style gun fight!

    by P33KA

    Thats almost as fresh as Quints panties!

  • March 28, 2006, 1:05 p.m. CST

    Trailer is on Link

    by P33KA

    It is MP4 so download an apropreate player or use Real Player... eww

  • March 28, 2006, 1:35 p.m. CST

    there's nothing more entertaining

    by samsquanch

    than listening to trained monkeys argue that box office receipts mean a movie is "good". Millions of Elvis fans can't be wrong, huh? Who wants a banana? Is he a good monkey? Monkey wants it?

  • March 28, 2006, 2:32 p.m. CST

    5th Element President

    by Spangler

    Zeus from Friday... pretty terrible job in an otherwise perfect movie... though it was interesting to see him recently on some religious show balling his eyes out about findin Jesus.

  • March 28, 2006, 5:32 p.m. CST

    there's nothing more entertaining?

    by crazyhorse2099

    Really? You got to get out more. So we're all in agreement, right? Armageddon is a pretty awesome movie? Sweet.

  • March 28, 2006, 5:58 p.m. CST

    gimme de caasssssssshhhhhhh!

    by samsquanch

    nice hat.

  • March 29, 2006, 12:22 a.m. CST

    Bad Girls 2

    by Doc_McCoy

    So the directors are a pair of Swedes?

  • March 29, 2006, 9:39 a.m. CST


    by Ecthelion

    The directors are norwegian. Looking forward to this one! Mmmmmmm, Penelope..!

  • March 30, 2006, 11:55 a.m. CST

    Merrick - don't disclaim...

    by mbeemer

    "More holes in it than a freshly shot Mexican!" It's a GREAT line! You should've stolen it and claimed it as your own!