Best Robert Rodriguez Movies  

Hypnotic is a mind-bending thriller directed by the legendary Robert Rodriguez. Starring Academy Award winner Ben Affleck as Danny Rourke, a detective searching for his missing daughter, we see Rodriguez employ his eclectic directorial flair in the action-packed, wildly unpredictable narrative. To mark the UK cinema release of Hypnotic, we take a look at the greatest hits of one of cinema’s most daring directors…

El Mariachi

El Mariachi (1992) is the Spanish-language neo-Western that marked the feature-length debut of Robert Rodriguez as a writer and director. Made on a $7,000 budget to cater to the Spanish home video market, El Mariachi would go onto to spawn the saga known as Rodriguez's Mexico Trilogy. El Mariachi follows the titular hero, an ordinary Mexican guitarist who a local gang mistakes for a dangerous criminal. Thus, the mariachi must learn to defend himself with a gun to defeat them. El Mariachi represents a twist on the old tropes of the Western, as well as a triumph of the one-man band: Rodriguez directed and wrote the film, but also served as the cinematographer, camera operator, editor, visual effects supervisor, and composer.

From Dusk till Dawn

From Dusk till Dawn demonstrated Rodriguez was no one-trick pony. This 1996 action horror film follows two criminal brothers (George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino), who take a family as hostages so they can cross into Mexico, but then find themselves trapped in a vampires’ saloon. The film seamlessly blends the best ingredients of two genres, Western and vampire horror, to create this endlessly watchable cult flick. Campiness and gore abound, but the emphasis on good characterisation is never lost. Furthermore, Clooney and Tarantino are perfectly cast, with a young Salma Hayek also there to steal every scene she’s in.

Sin City

Sin City (2005) is based on Frank Miller's series of neo-noir comics; it is an anthology of stories all set in the violent, crime-riddled streets of Sin City. Its episodic storyline allows for a star-studded cast to each have their opportunity to shine, while the ground-breaking use of CGI allows for an experimental, otherworldly visual style. Faithful to the source material, Rodriguez deftly mirrored scenes from Miller’s illustrations, as well as keeping to a black-and-white colour palette. Released to critical and commercial acclaim, it’s considered to be one of the greatest film adaptations of a graphic novel.

Spy Kids

Refusing to allow himself to be typecast as a director, Rodriguez also dabbled in writing and directing kids’ films. This led him to create the Spy Kids franchise, iconic to many American childhoods. In Spy Kids (2001), we follow Carmen and Juni, who after discovering their parents to be spies, have to train to become spies themselves to rescue them after they’re captured. The film is ‘James Bond for kids’ executed brilliantly, with thrilling action and tongue-in-cheek humour satirising the spy genre. Decades after the first Spy Kids movie was released, the franchise still remains well-loved, even if (in true Hollywood movie form) the original is considered to be better than the sequels.

 Alita: Battle Angel

Alita: Battle Angel (2019) is a cyberpunk action film based on the manga series Gunnm (its English title ‘Battle Angel Alita’). It centres around Alita (Rosa Salazar), a cyborg who awakens in a new body without any memories of her past and sets out to uncover her true destiny. It arguably marked a return to form for Rodriguez, as he brings the sci-fi tale to life with his unique directorial flair. Rodriguez’s use of motion-capture animation allows him to skirt the uncanny valley in the best way possible, as Salazar appears alongside live-action characters, both looking realistic and yet distinctly non-human, as she retains her wide anime-esque eyes.


1h 33m

Director: Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Ben Affleck, Alice Braga, JD Pardo, Hala Finley, Dayo Okeniyi, Jeff Fahey, Jackie Earle Haley, William Fichtner

UK Release: Cinemas 26th May 2023
US Release: 12th May 2023