ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO
movie trailer (apple.com - quicktime)
NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by Jennie who says..."Ok, I've only seen it once, so I can't write a full-out summary, because I'd get some things out of order and forgot a few things. This is more of a general summary. Still very long - there's a lot of plot in this movie!"
Via flashbacks, we find out that El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas) and Carolina (Salma Hayek) had gotten married and had a daughter. However, before this Carolina had been with General Marquez, only he's a bad guy and she shot him and went off with El Mariachi. So Marquez hunts them down, and shows up where they live. El Mariachi is high up on a sort of balcony thing, and can see Marquez and his men approach. He rushed down, but is too late. Marquez and his men open fire on Carolina and their daughter, killing them and wounding El Mariachi when he gets down there.
Sands (Johnny Depp) is a CIA agent. They keep calling a rogue agent, or that he's playing both sides. But it's easiest to understand that he's just on his own side. Anyways, he's in Mexico. He finds out that Marquez is going to kill the President. Sands doesn't want this to happen, and pays Belini (Cheech) to recommend a man to stop Marquez. He is told the legend of El Mariachi, and decides this is the guy for him. So he gets his men to hunt down El Mariachi, and in the process his man Cucuy (Trejo) shoots a man in El's village. So El goes to meet with Sands, and finds out the whole story - Marquez is being paid by the Barillo cartel to kill the President, who is trying very hard to diminish the power of the drug dealers in his country. Sands doesn't want the power balance to shift (which is what the President is doing) but doesn't want Marquez in charge, so he tells El to kill Marquez after the president is dead. (It is unknown how much of this was purely Sands idea, as we never find out if the CIA ia officially involved in this or not.)
Since El wants revenge for the death of his family, he agrees. We find out Sands has a relationship of sorts with Ajedrez (Eva Mendes), who works for the Mexico government (she's part of a group that tries to keep down the drug dealers) and he offers her a chance to get with him, and to get quite a bit of money as well (he's going to steal the money that Marquez was supposed to pick up after he kills the President.) He also gives her some information to help arrest Barillo, which he wants her to do to so Barillo will be out of the way during the entire mess (which is going down on El Dia de los Muertos, the day of the dead).
El gets his old guitar case, full of guns, and also picks up a couple of his friends to help him.
Cucay decides he'd be better off with Barillo (Willem Dafoe) , and switches sides. He tries to take El in, but El kicks ass and gets away. A bit later he gets captured, but he manages to escape.
Sands finds a former FBI agent, Jorge (Rubén Blades) and tries to get this man to go after Barillo and this doctor, who is Barillo's right-hand man. He reminds Jorge about his former FBI partner, who was captured by Barillo and tortured for two weeks by the doctor. It works, and Jorge gets out his old badge and gun and goes looking. He finds one of Barillo's men, Billy, (Mickey Rourke) (who keeps a little dog that he hides behind him or in his coat whenever Barillo is in the room). Billy is wanted in the US for some crimes, but he had run away to Mexico and joined up the Barillo cartel, where he did quite a few bad things. Jorge promises that if Billy helps him, he will take him back to the US, where he will be punished for the crimes committed THERE (not those in Mexico, which I'm guessing was the big ones anyway). Billy seems to sorta like this idea.
During an attempt by the Mexicam government to grab Barillo, Jorge tries to get involved and is captured. Ajedrez helps Barillo's men to nab Sands. We find out that she is Barillo's daughter, and Barillo has the doctor gouge out Sands' eyes for "seeing too much" (we assume the information that he'd passed along to Ajedrez to help her arrest Barillo).
The attempt to take over the city by force in now in progress. The citizens of Mexico are fighting Marquez's men, but they managed to get inside anyways. Turns out that the President's aide turned out on him, partly because of Sands.
Sands is put outside, and is now very very very blind. He manages to grab a kid on a bike (who is selling gum- Sands heard the bell on the bike. Turns out to be this kid that tried to sell him some gum near the beginning of the movie). He pays the kid to be his eyes and take him to the center of town, where he straps on some guns and tries to go after some of the fellows who took his eyes. The kid sets up him right in front of a couple of them, then runs for cover. Sands fires rapidly, but misses because he can't see. The two men start laughing, which tips Sands off as to where he should be firing. He takes them out, but is shot in the arm and the leg. He falls to the ground, and lays there.
Meanwhile, El and his two buddies get into the place where the President is.
El doesn't do exactly as Sands had told him, and kills Marquez but saves the President, because he thinks the President is a good man. He stays behind with the President's coat on, while his two buddies get the President to safety. Before leaving, the two of them stuff their guitar cases full of the money that was left for Marquez to pick up
El kills a lot of the bad guys. Barillo, with his daughter and Billy, enters the building and sees what happens. Ajedrez sees Sands outside, and goes out. She helps him stand up and get his sunglasses on (which he had been wearing to hide his gouged-out eyes, although blood was streaked down his face underneath them.) She says teasingly "Like what you see?"
He shoots her in the stomach and answers "No." - it turns out that his "wounded" arm was a fake arm, and his real one if just fine. She falls down dead, and he falls down as well (he's still been shot in the leg and had his eyes gouged, remember).
Billy stands by calmly while Jorge shows up. There's more happy gunfighting, with just about everyone except for Jorge and El Mariachi getting shot. El leaves, and Jorge picks up Billy's little dog and takes him out with him. He passes Sands as he goes, who had been helped up by the boy he'd been paying (who came back to help him). Sands is leaning against a wall, obviously hurting. Jorge says "see you later", and Sands flips him off and growls "F*** you." (He is obviously not amused by the joke, being blind and all). The kid askes if Sands is all right. He says no, and the kid tells him that he will be.
The president is picked up by his loyal men, obviously happy despite all of this because it showed that the people were with him, and were willing to fight to defend him.
El Mariachi goes off, as does his two (now very rich) friends.