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10 Quintessential Mexican Action Movies

For years, Mexico has been known to produce amazing telenovelas and intriguing drama shows, but the country churns out plenty of great films too, specifically in the action genre. The majority of these films center around crime, which is fair, considering that the country has had to deal with dangerous cartels for years.

There are a number of Hollywood projects that touch on the Mexican experience but for this list, only films that were produced in Mexico qualify. Many are made on lighter budgets hence they have limited locations and lesser-known casts, but they are still thrilling thanks to solid plots and neatly executed action set pieces. For genre fans hoping to find out what Hollywood’s neighbor has to offer, this is a great place to start.

10 Desierto (2015)

A scene from the Mexican action flick, Desierto (2015)

Cinépolis Distribución

Talk of movies released at the ideal time, and you have Jonás Cuarón’s Desierto, which came out just as Trump was running for President and making headlines because of his controversial border policies. The action thriller addresses immigration and xenophobia through the barbaric rabbit hunter, Sam. His main focus is to get a meal, but he also doesn’t like seeing Mexicans sneaking across the border, so he adopts a shoot-on-sight policy for every immigrant that he spots.
RELATED: 20 Great Foreign Films Directed by Women
The film was Mexico’s entry in the Best Foreign Language Production at the Oscars and it begins on a high note, with optimistic Mexicans shown making their way to the border on a truck. One woman can be seen reading the Bible and comparing her crew to Israelites fleeing from Egypt. Sadly, she and her friends never reach the promised land. Things turn chaotic when the truck breaks down and Sam sees them. The villain slays everyone in a brutal fashion before it all comes down to a duel between him and the hero, Moises, in a tense climax.

9 El Mariachi (1992)

A scene from Robert Rodriguez's debut feature, El Mariachi Columbia Pictures

Before Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico, there was El Mariachi — the lesser-known first installment of the Mexico trilogy. The film stars Carlos Gallardo (instead of Antonio Banderas like sequels) and was produced by Robert Rodriguez’s Los Hooligans Productions for a mere $7000. It would go on to be recognized by the Guinness World Records as the lowest-budgeted movie to gross more than $1 million.
El Mariachi centers around an unnamed local musician who gets mistaken for a violent criminal that is in conflict with a local drug lord. The crime boss’ goons thus begin hunting him down, forcing him to fight back. For a project relying on such a shoestring budget, the action sequences are mind-blowing. The movie is a confirmation that sometimes the basics are good enough and students don’t have to spend much on CGI, location-hoping, and explosions. It’s undoubtedly one of the most remarkable director debuts of the ‘90s, and Robert Rodriguez deserves all the praise for making everything tick.

8 Cruz Diablo (1934)

A scene from the Mexican swashbuckling film, Cruz Diablo (1934) Mex-Art

Fernando de Fuentes Carrau (nicknamed the “Mexican John Ford”) is regarded as one of the country’s greatest-ever filmmakers, and much of his best work came at the beginning of the sound era. Among his most cherished works is Cruz Diablo, in which he borrows the Robin Hood and Zorro concepts and sprinkles his own unique subplots and elements. Set in the 16th century, the film tracks a masked swordsman that steals from the rich and marks their foreheads with a cross sign.
For a ‘30s movie, the fight choreography is exceptional. Baddies that get cut by Diablo’s sword appear to be genuinely hurt, and not just pissed about their torn outfits as is usually the case in other films of the same kind. In addition to that, the hero is kept busy throughout the film by being granted dozens of tasks. When he is not stealing, he is busy preventing an unlawful wedding or consoling a grieving mother. Though there is the risk of running it, this is the kind of movie that should be remade in color, because the only thing letting it down is poor visuals.

7 Miss Bala (2011)

A chase scene from the original, Miss Bala Fox International Productions

The American remake of Miss Bala got plenty of attention when it was released in 2019, but its inferior, compared to the original. Events in the Mexican version center around Laura Guerrero, a young Mexican woman who dreams of becoming a beauty queen, something that initially seems hard, but gets easier when gangsters force her into a quid pro quo deal. In exchange for her doing a couple of errands for her, they will rig the competition for her. The film is loosely based on Laura Zúñiga, the 2008 Miss Sinaloa winner.
While the remake struggles to balance action set pieces and a compelling plot, the original does so effortlessly. As expected, Laura ends up regretting the decision. Her willingness to use shortcuts ends up backfiring for her. Still, the movie strings in a couple of clever subplots to ensure she remains the victim. After all, she is part of an impoverished community where everyone is desperately trying to make it.

6 Dance with the Devil (1997)

A younger Javier Bardem in the Mexican action movie, Dance with the Devil (1997) Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía

Javier Bardem has played all kinds of characters, but his reputation mostly stems from his portrayal of violent and intimidating movie villains. Apart from No Country for Old Men’s Anton Chigurgh and Skyfall’s Raoul Silva, there is Romeo Dolorosa. The antagonist appears in Dance with the Devil, where he engages in all forms of malice, from robbing banks to selling refrigerated human fetuses to a cosmetic moisturizer manufacturer.
The film has a Romeo and Juliet type of arc where Romeo works together with a woman named Perdita Durango to carry out some of the crimes. The chemistry between them is great to watch, and so is their coordination when it comes to defending themselves and carrying out attacks. The creative nature of the crimes also enables Dance with the Devil to stand out from other standard criminal-led action movies.

5 Hell (2010)

A scene from Hell (El Infierno) - 2010 Bandidos Films

Hell (El Infierno) isn’t just a story about gang conflicts. The movie covers themes like immigration, poverty, and family through the journey of its main character, El Benny. After getting deported from America, he chooses to be a foot soldier and soon builds a reputation for being the deadliest member of the organization. However, he quickly realizes that the drug trade isn’t as lucrative as he hoped.
Director Luis Estrada uses some of Hell’s events to provide some political commentary. For example, the decision by President Felipe Calderón to tackle cartels using military force is shown to be counter-productive. Instead, it’s argued that destitution is what needs to be tackled first. For those that care less about intellectualism, there are countless violent shootouts and extreme levels of gore to make the film a worthy watch.

4 Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

A scene from Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia Optimus Films

After the failure of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was no longer willing to work with so director Sam Peckinpah went to Mexico where he struck a deal with the country’s most popular studio at the time, Estudios Churubusco. With the limited budget he was offered, Peckinpah hired a mostly Mexican cast and went on to make the critically acclaimed Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
The film’s plot is simple: a man has made the daughter of a crime boss pregnant and now the powerful underworld figure wants him dead. Known as El Jefe, the criminal places a $10,000 bounty on his daughter’s lover’s head, so the hunt begins. The close calls in which he is nearly captured or killed are the movie’s high points, and such moments come in plenty. In general, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia feels very raw, as if every single reel of the film was included in the final cut. The director even went on to publicly acknowledge the freedom he was granted. In an interview with Variety magazine, he said: “For me, Hollywood no longer exists. It’s past history. I’ve decided to stay in Mexico because I believe I can make my pictures with greater freedom from here”.

3 Lola the Truck Driver (1983)

A scene from Lola the Truck Driver (1983) Scope Films

The quantity of action movies with female leads has increased in recent years but back in the day, it was rare to find one. As the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norris were ruling the box office in the ‘80s, Rosa Gloria Chagoyán was making her mark in Mexico. The actress’ best-known film is Lola the Truck Driver in which she plays a vengeful woman that not only takes over her father’s truck when he gets killed but also goes after the cartel members that murdered him for refusing to smuggle drugs.
Lola the Truck Driver follows the standard formula where the protagonist fights her way up, starting with low-level gangsters and ending with the main boss. Furthermore, it offers more thrills than the numerous action movies of the era because it blends endless chases and gunplay. Plus, the one-man-army trope works well here because the protagonist is neither ex-military nor a martial arts maestro. She is simply an innocent woman grieving her father.

2 Car Crash (1981)

A scene from the Mexican action movie, Car Crash (1981) Cleminternazionale Cinematografica

Before the excesses of Dominic Toretto and his crew, there was Car Crash, a Mexican production starring John Travolta’s older brother, Joey Travolta. In it, race car driver Paul (Travolta) makes preparations to participate in an illegal and dangerous race in Mexico City. Unfortunately for him, figuring out how to win isn’t his only problem as there is a local mafia boss that doesn’t want him to participate.
RELATED: The Best Foreign Action Movies From the Last Decade
The race in Mexico ends up getting marred by all kinds of mayhem. In the same manner that movies like Fast & Furious and Death Race infuse action sequences into what would normally be ordinary races, Car Crash does the same, with mob boss’ men doing their best to interfere. Like the drivers, the action flick never seems to slow down. It’s all high adrenaline from start to finish, making it ideal for both action fans and gearheads.

1 Nicotina (2003)

A scene from Nicotina (2003) Arenas Group

Nicotina isn’t as popular as Hollywood movies that happen in real-time, yet it’s on the same level as them, if not better. The film blends crime and voyeurism through using the misadventures of its protagonist, Lolo. A talented Mexico City hacker, he is hired by mobsters in a short time to break into a couple of Swiss accounts. Unfortunately, he ends up delivering the wrong flash disk to them, an outcome that triggers all the action.
In another plot clearly inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, he is shown to be spying on his attractive neighbor to the point where he has installed cameras in her room. Overall, Nicotina has a lot going on, so viewer attention is required. It’s a refreshing film too, because the bulk of the action sequences stem from the minor characters rather than Lolo.

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‘I am officially off the market’: When Margot Robbie revealed she made the ‘conscious’ decision of not dating actors

Margot Robbie revealed her decision to not date actors because of the media scrutiny that came with a public relationship of two high-profile actors
Back in 2015, A-lister Margot Robbie made a declaration that she would not be dating any actors. The actress may have alluded to her fiance Tom Ackerley, who she married the following year in 2016. In an exclusive interview with Marie Claire, she revealed that being in a relationship as an actor herself came with its own set of challenges. She believed that dating someone who was popular would add on to the media scrutiny.

Margot Robbie opened up on why she made a conscious decision to not date actorsTalking to Marie Claire, she claimed, “I am officially off the market.” She then shared the reasoning behind her decision and added, “I made a conscious decision not to date actors.” She continued to explain, “But not because I hate actors. That’s a nasty generalization to make, and that’s not the case. People take such an interest in your love life when you have a profile, it puts a lot of stress on a relationship.”
The Barbie actress continued, “So two people with profiles, I figure it’s just double the amount of scrutiny, and I’d like to avoid that at all costs.” This came after reports of her locking lips with Tarzan co-star Alexander Skarsgard started making rounds. It was reported that she was caught kissing the actor during the Sundance Film Festival.

Margot Robbie revealed she opted for a minimal lifestyle even after becoming an actorIn the interview, Robbie also opened up about how she was adapting to fame. She shared, “I have a normal 24-year-old life. If I were a waitress, I’d probably have the exact same lifestyle. I’d go to the same clubs I go to already, live in the same house with the same housemates, hang out with the same people.”
However, Margot Robbie tied the knot with Tom Ackerley who is an English producer and actor. The duo met on the sets of 2013 movie Suite Francaise where Tom was working as an assistant director. Post marriage, both of them launched their production company LuckyChap Entertainment.

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Monica Bellucci and Tin Burton at lunch in the restaurant in Selci Lama

For All Saints’ Day, the Hollywood star from Tiferno returned to his native Umbria to enjoy a moment of relaxation and then visit his parentsOn the occasion of the All Saints’ Day celebrations, the Hollywood star of Tiferno origin, Monica Bellucci, returned to her native Umbria to enjoy a moment of relaxation and to visit her father Pasquale and her mother Brunella.Flanked by her current partner Tim Burton, she went to lunch, together with about twenty old friends, at the Osteria del Musicista, which has always been her favorite restaurant, in Selci Lama.Menu dedicated to typical dishes of the area, which includes an appetizer with breadsticks lined with coppa, duck in porchetta and grilled pork livers, polenta with wild boar sauce accompanied by the very typical cappelletti in broth.To conclude, a dessert based on fried “ciaccia” with Nutella and roasted chestnuts.
Having paid the bill and greeted the restaurant owner and lifelong friend, Roberto Polchi, Monica brought home cappelletti and broth for a family dinner.

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‘Rocky’ Was Quite Different In His Original Screenplay, Sylvester Stallone Claims

Sylvester Stallone took his friend’s advice on a rewrite of the original screenplay to Rocky. A few tweaks later, he was on his way to major success.
In the new Netflix documentary Sly, Stallone discussed how he initially conceived of the project, which had a much harder edge. In the early version, Rocky was depicted as a “thuggish” character, inspired by Martin Scorsese’s crime drama, Mean Streets.

But Stallone’s perspective changed when a friend read the script and thought the boxer was too cruel for audiences to actually care about him.
Stallone recalled her crying.

“She goes, ‘I hate Rocky. I hate him. He’s cruel. He hits people. He beats them up.’”
Stallone took it to heart, and asked what he could do to soften the character.

“I said, ‘what if you stop short of it?’ Like, maybe he almost did. He could have, that’s his job, but he doesn’t?’ ‘That’d be nice,’” he added. “I said, ‘What if he had a girlfriend or something?’ ‘Yeah, that’s nice.’ So I go back, start writing that: ‘Girlfriend. Nice.’”
$117 million in box office later, a franchise was born.

Stallone also revealed that actor Dolph Lundgren sent him to the hospital during one fight scene in Rocky IV.
“Dolph Lundgren… he pulverized me,” Stallone says in the documentary. “Later that night, my heart started to swell—which happens when the heart hits the chest—and then my blood pressure went up to 260, and they thought I was going to be talking to angels. Next thing I know, I’m in intensive care, where I’m surrounded by nuns, and I thought, ‘OK, that’s curtains.’”
Stallone was in the hospital for nine days following the incident, praying for “one more round.”
“For the first minute of the fight, it is going to be a free-for-all,” Stallone told Lundgren. The Swedish actor joked in a separate interview that all he did was “obey orders,” explaining, “[Stallone] was the boss. I did what he told me.”
Doctors allegedly told Stallone that he received a blow to the ribs that made his heart rattle around in his ribcage, a condition typically seen in head-on collisions. “I did hit a bus, of sorts,” Stallone joked.

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