Desperado - Antonio Banderas in a mariachi suit



El Mariachi was a 1992 super-low-budget Mexican action movie shot by Roberto Rodriguez. It caught an unexpected amount of attention then commercial success.

This led to two other movies continuing the saga – Desperado (1995) and Once Upon A Time in Mexico (2002). These starred the far more bankable Antonio Banderas as the heroic mariachi and had a vastly larger budget, though they kept their style.

Benito the mariachi is a good example of a heroic, cinematic , kinetic gunfighter from the 1990s. Along with some Chow Yun Fat characters.

As you can see on the Amazon picture below (well, in desktop view – not on a smaller screen) the movies are occasionally known as the “Mexico Trilogy”, and the hero is presented with a shadowed face to lampshade the actor switch.



  • Real Name: Benito (last name unrevealed).
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: César (aka Bucho, brother), Carolina (wife, deceased), daughter (name unrevealed, deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Mexico.
  • Height: 6’ Weight: 170 lbs Age: Early 30’s
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black

Powers and Abilities

In addition to being a talented guitarist and singer, Benito has trained to be a highly skilled gunfighter. He’s capable of using a wide variety of firearms while deftly avoiding return fire.

He’s also a formidable hand-to-hand fighter.


The mariachi’s arsenal includes :

  • An Ingram MAC-10 .45 machine pistol, sometimes equipped with its distinctive sound suppressor. This is his signature weapon during the first movie, and a classic of 1980s and 1990s action movies.
  • His pistols during the second film are Ruger KP90s, in .45. They are modified and mounted on Taxi Driver-style sleeve ejectors, and used akimbo. Though the handle is shortened to help with fitting within his sleeves, the mariachi’s aura of machismo prevents this fact from lowering his guns’ ammunition capacity.
    Less distinctive handguns in the third movie included Beretta 92s and a Colt Python.


  • His side-by-side sawed-off shotgun was identified by  as a Rossi Overload. As a proper action movie sawed off it is enormously powerful, and can fire about three times more than it should before having to be reloaded.
  • During the second movie, he uses a scoped Wildey .475 magnum pistol with what looks like the 10” barrel as a short range sniping weapon.
  • In the scene narrated by Buscemi, the “biggest hand canon I’ve ever fucking seen” is a Stryker 12 “street sweeper”-type shotgun.
  • The sawed-off carbine with a wooden body used in the church firefight in the third film is actually a .30 M1 carbine in the so-called “enforcer” configuration – with no stock, the pistol grip of the airborne carbine version and a shortened barrel. What these conversions are meant to be “enforcing” was never quite clear.
  • What looks like a cut down AR-15 during the square shootout in the third film is pretty much that, an Olympic Arms OA-93.
  • The guitar case also holds a half-dozen very powerful grenades, brass knuckles, knives and various minor pistols. The case itself is bulletproof.


Trailer for the second movie, Desperado, with Banderas as Benito. It’s oddly slow but it shows the movie universe.


El Mariachi

Benito was a young Mariachi (a wandering guitar player, sort of like a minstrel) carrying on the family tradition. On wandering into a small Mexican town carrying his guitar case, he was mistaken for a recent jail escapee, Azul, who carried guns in a guitar case.

Azul was an enemy of local crime boss, Moco. Thus, Benito became a target for his hired guns. He found sanctuary with a barmaid, Dominó, and they fell in love. She and Azul were killed by Moco, who then shot Benito in his left hand. Benito killed Moco.


Unable to play his guitar, the wounded Benito was driven by a desire for revenge on all drug lords connected to Moco. This culminated with Moco’s boss, the man known as Bucho. The ex-mariachi became a highly skilled gunfighter, carrying around a small arsenal in his guitar case (with a false guitar as a second lid).

He travelled from town to town, preceded by his sidekick, Buscemi. Buscemi spread slightly exaggerated stories of a legendary vigilante with a guitar case. While not necessarily looking to kill anyone but his targets, the mariachi often left a number of dead scumbags in his wake.

El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas) and Carolina (Salma Hayek)

Finally locating the town where Bucho lived, Benito started looking for him in a sleazy bar Buscemi had already primed. It inevitably escalated into a gunfight. He survived, leaving everybody else dead apart from a thug who’d been in a back room. The thug followed him out and shot him in the street. Benito was wounded, but killed the thug.

Stalking Bucho

He was taken in by bookstore owner, Carolina, who tended his wounds and hid him from Bucho. He was further wounded after being attacked by a thug who killed Buscemi. The murderer was an agent of the Columbians, keeping an eye on Bucho.

When Bucho realised Carolina was aiding the Mariachi, he sent his men in to kill them and burn her place down. Benito and Carolina survived, but her home was destroyed. They waited nearby, and Benito got Bucho in his crosshairs. He hesitated on recognising Bucho as his older brother, César.

Calling in his friends Campa and Quino for support, Benito got in a gunfight with Bucho’s troops. They slaughtered his toughest guys. Campa and Quino were also killed in the battle, and a local kid was seriously wounded.

Benito and Carolina confronted César at his estate, where they killed him in a gunfight. With pretty much everyone else dead, and revenge finally had, El Mariachi and Carolina drove away into the sunset together.

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Not quite escaping the vigilante life, Carolina joined Benito in the occasional fight. They ran afoul of General Márquez, who developed a fixation on Carolina, but they evaded his attention and wounded him in a gunfight. He hunted them down after they’d retired to start a family, killing Carolina and their daughter, and leaving Benito for dead.

Benito survived, retiring to a village of guitar makers where he lived a simple life. His retirement didn’t last, as thugs working for rogue CIA operative Sands found him, threatening to kill the villagers unless Benito came with them.

El Mariachi (Carlos Gallardo) with Campa and Quino

The mariachi, Campa and Quino.

Sands told Mariachi that Márquez was working for drug baron Barillo, preparing for a coup and assassination of the Mexican President. While the death would serve Sands’ interests, he didn’t want Barillo to get power, so wanted Mariachi to kill Márquez at the appropriate juncture.

Barillo was aware of Sands’ plan, and had the mariachi abducted and tortured for information. Benito escaped, and recruited Lorenzo and Fideo to help him foil the assassination.

Using Sands’ assets to get them into the palace, they used the chaos of the public resistance to the coup to rescue the President and get him clear. Benito also got to face Márquez and killed him. They got the President out of the city dressed as a mariachi, and helped him find loyalists.

They then went their separate ways, having shared out the millions with which Barillo had intended to pay off Márquez.

Benito returned to his village and the simple life.


A very good-looking Latino, with a haunted look in his eyes. He wears black mariachi clothing that fits him very well, and usually carries around a large guitar case. Which is quite heavy and emanates an air of menace. His jacket has a black scorpion on the back.


Initially carefree and self-effacing, Dominó’s death and his injury caused him to became bitter and hardened, and he devoted himself to stopping crime and drugs ruining others lives.

While he won’t kill if he can help it — despite a quick temper that could escalate things if he didn’t have it under control — he has little compunction against killing criminals who don’t give him a choice.

He’ll regret it later. The killing taking its toll on his good heart, but in the moment he’s focused on what he’s doing. Not so focused that he won’t go out of his way to protect innocents caught up in events.

Enrique Iglesias and Marco Leonardi as Fideo and Lorenzo

Fideo and Lorenzo.


“Give me the strength to be what I was, and forgive me for what I am.”

“Bless me, Father, for I have just killed quite a few men.“

El Mariachi : “Did I ever thank you for saving my life ?”
Carolina : “No.”
El Mariachi : ”I will.”

The short bartender, to a bunch of armed thugs: “¡ MATALO ! ¡ KILL HIM !”
El Mariachi: “Not yet.” (huge firefight ensues)

Short Bartender, quite nervous: “You got something in the guitar case ?”
El Mariachi : “Yeah.”
Short Bartender, even more nervous “What ?”
El Mariachi : “My guitar.”

DC Universe History

An occasional acquaintance of Hitman. They were both trying to kill the same drug lord, and were forced to join forces to get the job done.

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

El Mariachi

Dex: 06 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Seeking Justice
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 04 Occupation: Vigilante
Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 019 HP: 030

Acrobatics: 05, Artist (Musician): 05, Charisma: 05, Evasion (Ranged only): 08, Martial Artist: 04, Thief (Escape Artist): 05, Vehicles (Land): 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 07

Attractive, Language (Spanish), Iron Nerves, Schtick (Paired Firearms, Ammunition Freedom (Weaponry (Firearms)).

Lorenzo and Fideo (High).


None at this point.

Bulletproof Guitar Case [BODY 06], which includes :

  • Ingram MAC-10 Machine Pistol [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 06, R#03, Advantage : Autofire], occasionally with a sound suppressor [BODY 01, Thief (Stealth): 01, Limitation: Thief only to muffle the shots].
  • Paired Ruger KP90 pistols [BODY 03, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 07, R#02], occasionally with SLEEVE EJECTORS [BODY 01, Schtick (Fast Draw)].
  • Wildey .475 scoped pistol [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 05, Stagger: 06, Telescopic vision: 01, Ammo: 07, Rec. STR 03, R#02, Bonuses & Limitations: Projectile and Stagger are Combined, but Stagger is limited to Projectile Weapons’ Range.].
  • Sawed Off Shotgun [BODY 04, Shotgun Blast (Range 02): 07, Ammo: 06, R#02, Recommended STR: 03 Drawback: Long Reload, Note : EV can be raised to 08 Diminishing by shooting both barrels at once, expending two Ammo and increasing Recommended STR to 04].
  • Street sweeper shotgun [BODY 04, Shotgun Blast (Range 03): 06, Ammo: 12, R#03, Recommended STR: 02, Drawback: Very Long Reload].
  • Defensive Grenade (x5) [BODY 01, Bomb: 08, R#03, Grenade drawback].
  • Enforcer-modified M1 [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 15].
  • OA-93 conversion [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 07, R#02, Advantage : Autofire].
  • His case also contains a cock gun, which we never see him use. Cock Gun [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 06, Bonus: Gun is concealed in El Mariachi’s crotch until he needs it, which often results in a surprise attack, R#2].

Previous stats

During El Mariachi his Physical Stats were all 1AP lower, his Mental Stats were 04/04/04, and his Mystical Stats were 03/04/04. He didn’t have Iron Nerves, Reputation, Paired Firearms. His only Skills were Artist and Weaponry, the latter at 4 AP. His only equipment was his guitar.

During Desperado, he started off with the Buddy Advantage for Buscemi, until he was killed. Buscemi travelled ahead of him, spreading rumours (to promote his Reputation) while reconnoitring.

During the time El Mariachi also had a MPR (Shot in left hand – wound prevents him from playing music, among other minor effects), but this appears to have recovered sufficiently to not bother him by the third film.

He also had Campa and Quino (see below) as High Level Connections during this time, until they were killed. He had Guilt during this period.

Mas musicos del Infierno

El Mariachi has connections with a number of other highly armed mariachis, who’ll come to his aid when faced with large numbers of foes. Campa and Quino were fairly trigger-happy, but a bit too reliant of their specialised guitar case weapons, which eventually got them killed.

Lorenzo and Fideo are more careful, and while they use specialised weapons they also carry regular firearms – which is probably why they survived.

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Seeking Justice
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Vigilantes
Inf: 04 Aur: 04 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 015 HP: 015

Artist (Musician): 04, Martial Artist: 04, Weaponry (Exotic): 06

Language (Spanish), Iron Nerves. Campa has Schtick (paired firearms) and both Campa and Quino have Schtick (Mighty Thews (Heavy Weapons)). Lorenzo had Attractive.

Each other (High), El Mariachi (High).


  • Campa: A pair of guitar cases with an built-in machine gun (presumably Minimis) [BODY 05, Projectile weapons: 07, Ammo: 10, R#02, Advantage : Autofire].
  • Quino: A guitar case with built-in rocket launcher (presumably a ‘Super Bazooka’) [BODY 05, EV 08 (Area of Effect, 2 APs), Ammo: 01, Range: 05, R#2. Campa carries several rockets inside the case, but it takes a ’pump action’ to reload it after each shot.).
  • Fideo: a guitar case with a built in remote-controlled car and explosives [BODY 05, Bomb: 07, Running: 02, Grenade Drawback, R# 02].
  • Lorenzo: a guitar case with a built in flamethrower [BODY 05, Flame Project: 06, R# 02].

By Gareth Lewis and Sébastien Andrivet.

Helper(s): Peter Piispanen, Phil Dixon, Brian Patrick Young, .

Source of Character: El Mariachi trilogy, character played by Carlos Gallardo in El Mariachi, and by Antonio Banderas in Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico.