The Good

Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz. Entertaining story.

The Bad

Poor Special Features.

Bandidas stars Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz as two women on different sides of the social stratosphere who are brought together by fate. When Tyler Jackson (Dwight Yoakam), does their father's wrong, Sara (Hayak) and Maria (Cruz) team up to bring some justice to this man's life, as well as some much needed prosperity to their Mexican people. They don't go after Tyler in the traditional sense, rather they attack a man like that in the only way they can really hurt him: financially.

Aiding the Bandidas in their quest is Quentin Cooke (Steve Zahn) who is pioneering the art of forensic science, and has the good fortune of being the apple of both Maria's and Sara's eye. In the end, these two Bandidas find the justice they are looking for, while encountering many laughs and action filled moments along the way.

Features

Audio Commentary

Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz open this commentary track by speaking nothing but Spanish. After that, they proceed to laugh and have a good time discussing the making of this movie. They talk about how much they love Steve Zahn, playing games on the set, Salma worrying that her wig was going to come off during the action scenes, and how much fun they had doing the fight scenes together.

"Burning up the Set with Salma and Penelope" Featurette

This "making of" featurette chronicles how the film got made (Salma and Penelope wanted to do a movie together), the film's story, the characters, how much Penelope and Salma love Steve Zahn, and what it was like doing the action scenes and learning to throw knives. Coming in around 5 minutes, this featurette plays like little more than an electronic press kit. While it doesn't take up too much of your time, you can certainly get by without screening it.

Video

Widescreen. This film had a very familiar feel but not in a way that made it seem like it had been done before. What I mean to say is that the staging of shots, the editing, and the music (which I will talk about below), gave this movie an older, sort of 1980s Western feel. They only sent me a burned copy of this DVD, so I am not sure how this movie looks in it's normal DVD form, but I didn't see anything in the images that I thought was lacking in anyway.

Audio

English - Dolby Digital 5.1. Spanish - Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. The music and the overall general feeling of the soundtrack made this movie play like something out of the 1980s. It wasn't big but it was full and I feel that the soundtrack contributed to the believability of this film. I think that a lot of work went into making this movie look like a western, but it seems that the budget may have been lower than is usually the case for these kinds of films. I think the worldwide gross was around $11 million, but I can't see this movie costing more than $15 or even $20 million, and DVD sales and rentals should more than make that up.

Package

Penelope and Salma are decked out in cowboy outfits on this front cover which is sure to account for a lot of this movie's sales. Sadly, that is about all I can tell you because our friends at Fox sent us the movie but it wasn't in any kind of DVD case. In fact, it was simply in a white envelope and try as I might, there really isn't too much more I can tell you about it than that.

Final Word

Why didn't this movie come out bigger in theaters?

Okay, the plot might be lacking, the action scenes may be poor, and Penelope Cruz might be tad hard to understand at times, but this movie seems like it would be a lot of fun for people. It seems like women would go and see it to watch the girls kick ass, and the guys would go and see it to stare at that same part of the female anatomy. This movie felt like director's Jaochim Roenning and Epsen Sandberg had a created moderately sized western. It had a distinct pace and a real feeling of this story's time and place. In many ways I was reminded of similar western films that were released in the 1980s.

All in all, this seems like another movie that fell through the cracks. It didn't have a built in audience, or a comic book element, and thusly Fox probably didn't see much upside in bringing this movie out slowly and then opening Bandidas up should audience demand have warranted it.

Bandidas was released January 18, 2006.