Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bandidas (2006) [PG-13] ***

Salma Hayek and Penélope Cruz star in Bandidas, a female version of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, written and produced by talented and prolific Luc Besson.

Two young Mexican women - wealthy Sara (Hayek) and farm girl Maria (Cruz) - join forces to battle a ruthless gang of hired gunmen. The gang is employed by a predatory New York bank as part of a scheme to get control of Mexican banks, gold and land, to finance the building of a railroad from the Texas border all the way south to Mexico City. After the gang kills Sara's father during the takeover of his Mexican bank, and then forecloses on Maria's father's farm, nearly killing him, Sara and Maria decide to retaliate by robbing the appropriated Mexican banks and giving the money in the vaults back to the poor Mexicans who have been victimized. To learn the finer points of bank robbery, Sara and Maria take lessons from a retired professional (Sam Shepard). Later the two bandidas gain an ally in a forensic scientist (Steve Zahn) who had been hired by the New York bank to learn their identities, but who becomes sympathetic to their cause. 

Labels: action, comedy, crime, western    
Internet Movie Database    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=54, viewers=60)

Bandidas had a limited theatrical release in the U.S., at least partly because the film is a thinly-disguised indictment of the disastrous effects of U.S. globalization policy on the third world, and 20th Century Fox didn't want to risk the negative publicity. Although the film is set a century ago, the tragic effects of globalization on the third world are quite real. To learn more about the global impact of the World Trade Organization and its controversial Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs), as well as the World Bank, I suggest Stuart Townsend's film  Battle in Seattle  and Antonia Juhasz' book:  

The Bu$h Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time.

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