The Mambo Kings (2005) A.k.a. The Last Stand of Armand Assante. Seriously, where has this guy been? ( Judge Dredd ?) The film (based on Oscar Hijuelos' Pulitzer Prize-winning…
DVD Review

The Mambo Kings (2005)

EW's GRADE
B-

Details Release Date: Aug 16, 2005; DVD Release Date: Aug 16, 2005; Movie Rated: R; Genres: Drama, Musical; With: Armand Assante and Antonio Banderas; Distributor: Warner Bros.

A.k.a. The Last Stand of Armand Assante. Seriously, where has this guy been? (Judge Dredd?) The film (based on Oscar Hijuelos' Pulitzer Prize-winning novel), about musician brothers who leave Cuba to become mambo stars in 1950s Manhattan, was Assante's last major film work. And what a performance he gives — it's smoldering, it's sexy, it's...Latin (in actuality, he's Irish-Italian). Alongside the over-the-top Assante is a baby-faced Banderas, giving his first performance in English (speaking his lines phonetically!). EXTRAS A dated making-of featurette, a lone restored scene that explains what happened to Cathy Moriarty's character, and director Arne Glimcher's saliva-encumbered commentary — from which we do learn that the studio, originally hesitant to release a Latin film, wanted to cast Jeremy Irons and Ray Liotta in the leads. ¡Qué no!

Originally posted Aug 12, 2005 Published in issue #834-835 Aug 19, 2005 Order article reprints