In Gore Verbinski's THE MEXICAN, Brad Pitt, as major screwup Jerry
Welbachan, has been sent on assignment to Mexico to bring back an
ancient pistol called The Mexican. A would-be ex-criminal, who was
supposed to have already done his last job, he's forced to do one more
since he botched what should have been his last.
In order to make sure that nothing "funky" happens, Jerry's employer
hires a baby sitter for his girlfriend, Samantha 'Sam' Barzel (Julia
Roberts). A psychotic hired killer named Leroy (James Gandolfini)
accompanies Sam on her preplanned trip to Vegas. Along the way, Sam, who
talks like a new age relationships author, complains about Jerry, with
whom she had broken up just before being kidnapped by Leroy. As she gets
to know Leroy better, she shifts her pop psychological analysis from
Jerry to Leroy, telling him, "I'm sensing that you have trust issues,"
after he is reluctant to let her go to the bathroom alone. Not
surprisingly, Leroy turns out to have a sensitive side, which Sam loves
Meanwhile, down in Mexico, Jerry is having a hellacious time as he tools
around in his rented El Camino pickup -- he's asked the rental car
agency for something more Mexican than the Chrysler that he was supposed
to get. He is shot at, thrown in jail, ... you name it. Accompanying him
on his travails is a mangy mutt that is part loyal dog and part Cujo.
Perhaps the best part of this quirky tale is the old, sepia-tone,
speeded-up footage showing us the history behind the gun. The
elaborately crafted gun was made long ago for the hand of a nobleman. We
learn not one version of his legendary story but many. Jerry, however,
doesn't have time to appreciate the weapon's background. He's way too
busy trying to stay alive. The actors, on the other hand, all appear to
be having a great time. And if you were worried, as I was, that the
director wouldn't be able to make the transition from his first film,
MOUSE HUNT, a dark kids' comedy, to a second one aimed squarely at a
more adult audience, don't. This film is much better than MOUSE HUNT.
And, let's face it, THE MEXICAN is an explosive movie -- exploding with
star power. Pitt, Roberts and Gandolfini prove to be a thoroughly
enjoyable, crowd pleasing combination.
THE MEXICAN runs 2:03. It is rated R for violence and language and would
be acceptable for most teenagers.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes