It is not often you watch a cowboy film in which the lead characters are two women. Especially two well-known Latina actresses. I was never one who liked the usual, though. Watching Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek in what is essentially a buddy movie on horses is interesting because you know that they are also very good friends off screen as well. They certainly possess good screen chemistry together. The stereotypes and gender restrictions of this particular genre of film are cast aside in "Bandidas" as these two women shoot guns, throw knives and rob banks without the help of any men. Well, Sam Shepard's character does train them and Steve Zahn's character does help with a couple of the robberies, but essentially these sisters are doing for themselves. It is more a spoof, with some fairly funny moments, than a true Western, but I enjoyed it for what it is none the less. There are some hysterical scenes of the girls dressed up like prostitutes and practicing their kissing on Steve Zahn. It is meant to be light and fun and I think it accomplishes this. Some of you might be scared away from watching it due to the fact that it stars these two mega-stars and it was released straight to DVD, as such you will be thinking it is terrible. It is the perfect film to watch on a cold winter's afternoon. While not being revolutionary filmmaking by directors Joachim Roenning (first film) and Espen Sandberg (first film), it is certainly fun!
Sara Sandoval (Salma Hayek – Frida, Dogma) and Maria Alvarez (Penelope Cruz – Volver, Sahara) couldn't be more different. Sara is an educated young woman of the upper class and Maria is the only daughter of a poor peasant farmer in Mexico. They hate each other at first glance and everything the other represents. The two are brought together by a common cause – revenge. Sara's father, Don Diego (Ismael Carlo – Wild Wild West, Patch Adams), is killed by the unscrupulous Tyler Jackson (Dwight Yoakam – Wedding Crashers, Panic Room). Maria's father, Pedro (Gary Cervantes – The Ring, Traffic) is shot and left for dead by the same dastardly dude. Jackson is working for the railroads and is trying, anyway he can, to get a hold of the land they need. The two girls decide to work together to rob banks in order to help those who are losing their land. First they go, on the advice of Padre Pablo (Jose Maria Negri – first film), to see a retired bank robber named Bill Buck (Sam Shepard – The Notebook, Stealth) to get some training on how to rob banks and then they start doing the real thing. The girls are so successful that the banks bring in Quentin (Steve Zahn – You've Got Mail, Happy, Texas), who is a scientist who investigates crimes. Worried about getting caught, the girls have to come up with a plan in order to continue their good work.
-Burning Up the Set with Salma and Penelope