The film tells the story of María Álvarez and Sara Sandoval. María is a poor farm-girl whose father is being forced off his land by a cruel US land baron, Tyler Jackson. Sara is the wealthy daughter of the owner of the nearby properties, and has recently returned from Europe where she attended school. In one fell swoop, both María’s and Sara’s fathers fall under attack by the baron, (Sara’s father is killed, María’s is shot but survives) giving him free reign in the nearby territories. As an act of revenge, María and Sara become bank robbers, stealing and giving back to the poor Mexicans who had lost their lands.
At first the two are catty and quick to fight over the smallest matters, but under the tutelage of famed bank robber Bill Buck they learn to trust each other. María turns out to be a crack shot and, while Sara can barely hold a gun, she shows that she is an expert with throwing knives.
Angered by the recent attacks by the newly infamous ‘Bandidas’ Jackson brings in a specialist, criminal investigator, Quentin Cooke. It doesn’t take long for Sara and María to hear of this, and they quickly capture Cooke and convince him to help them. He has already figured out that Sara’s father was murdered, so realises that his employer is actually a criminal.
Now there are three robbers, each playing their part in bigger, more ambitious heists. As time goes on, the girl’s compete for Quentin’s affections, which he rebukes because he is engaged. In a move to make the money they’ve stolen useless, Jackson moves the gold that backs the money on a train up towards U.S. territories. Midway, he decides to steal the gold, betraying the Mexican government. The Bandidas manage to hunt him down, but when they get their chance to kill him, they can’t, feeling it would make them no better than him. Jackson manages to draw his gun and almost gets a shot off at María but Sara shoots first, finishing the villain off. In the end Quentin ends up with his fiancée and María and Sara ride off into the sunset, their eyes set on Europe where the banks are, according to Sara, “bigger”.
Westerns don’t tend to be the moneymakers they were at one time, but when you cast Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz as your leading ladies, you’re going to put some butts in seats.
This is the first on-screen pairing of Salma and Penelope. They couldn’t be playing two more different characters, and it works for them, especially early on in the film where they are almost constantly fighting. Yes, this film is a vehicle for them, but so what, they deliver on the expectations.
Steve Zahn normally is the comic relief guy, but here he just adds another element to the already eccentric duo of Cruz and Hayek.
Dwight Yoakem gives an outstanding performance as the villain, Tyler Jackson. He comes off as criminally insane anf sadistic, a perfect mix for a villain in the old west.
The bandidas are quite dysfunctional at first, but as the film progresses, their partnership strengthens and they quickly become a formidable force, with the help of Steve Zahn that is. I don’t know about you, but if two mega hot babes came into my bank, I would be more than happy p let them do whatever they wanted
This is more than jut a good film to see Sal Hayek all pushed up in her corset and Penelope Cruz as a farm girl, compete with pig tails. Bandidas is a film that explores the buddy comedy side of things, and it does an excellent job of doing so. This western is nowhere near the stature of others such as Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, but it is a fun filled romp that is entertaining for the audience as well as the actors that were in the film.
5 out of 5 stars