Surprisingly, Bandidas is a cute little western that pays homage to the spaghetti westerns of the 1960s.
Bandidas stars Salma Hayek, as Maria, a rich Mexican socialite and Penelope Cruz as Sara, a desperate farmer's daughter. Maria and Sara are brought together in turn of the century Mexico when a ruthless overseer (Dwight Yoakum) begins terrorizing their small town. The overseer cheats the townspeople out of their land as he begins seizing land of the railroad.
Desperate and destitute, Maria and Sara become thieves so they can rob banks and give the swindled money back to the people. Think of them as two female "Zorros". The "bandidas" become so popular that the overseer hires a criminologist (Steve Zahn) to investigate the identities of the thieving women.
What was so much fun about the film was the relationship between Cruz and Hayek. They squabble a lot but it's just so much fun to watch. I really liked it when they get a grizzled gunfighter (Sam Shepard) to help them train to become better bank robbers. And then there is the whole kissing sequence with Zahn that is utterly hysterical and priceless.
Bandidas is a fun little film that could find an audience if given a chance. It reminded me so much of how fun the western and Zorro can be without Martin Campbell and an elaborate budget. Westerns are just more fun when they keep them simple.
Seek out Bandidas when it finally arrives at a theatre or video store near you. (3.5 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.