September 12, 2010

Movie Review: Machete

machete1_largeBack in 2007 buddies Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez got together with the intention of bringing back the grindhouse experience to the big screen. They each created a feature film and then brought in some friends to make some fake exploitation movie trailers. They brought in guys like Eli Roth, Rob Zombie, and Edgar Wright to do the honors. However, Rodriguez also provided a trailer in addition to his half of the double feature, Planet Terror. The trailer he provided was for Machete, an exploitation picture about a pissed off Mexican that promised over the top violence and a traditional revenge driven plot. After the theatrical run of Grindhouse there was talk of one or more phony trailers getting the full feature length treatment. Well, the first one is here in.

This is one of those projects that I sort of refused to believe was real until I sat down in the theater to see it with my own two eyes. It did not matter what trailers, clips, or posters I saw, it is the sort of project that I had a hard time believing that it actually got the backing to go into production. Am I happy it did? Most definitely. Even if the movie was awful, which it is not, I am happy it got made. As for the quality, I just intimated it is not awful, and it isn't, in fact it s pretty darn amazing. It knows what it is and goes for the gusto.


Now, if there is any flaws with Machete it is that it is not the pure exploitation-style film it seems to be. Robert Rodriguez is a solid filmmaker and he is not shy about letting his influences shine through in his work. Where that hurts (just a little) here is the material is handled a bit too knowingly. It knows that it is a throwback exploitation picture and it let's you know that too. Rodriguez plays up the violence, humor, and thin plot to the point it makes the audience aware it is watching a film that is more homage than recreation. It is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does take away from the authenticity if not the fun.

Machete opens with Machete (Danny Trejo) and his partner heading in to take out a drug lord. Of course, things do not go as planned, his family is killed and he is left for dead. Jump ahead and we pick up with Machete living north of the border taking work as a day laborer while plotting his revenge on the drug lord Torrez (Steven Seagal as a Mexican!).

Machete is approached by a man named Booth (Jeff Fahey) with a job. Booth wants the incumbent Senator, named McLaughlin (Robert Deniro), assassinated. He wants a Mexican to do it because of McLaughlin's tough stance on illegal immigrants.

He takes the job, is double crossed and is left for dead, again. Machete, upon seeing the players involved, sets out to have his revenge on everyone who has crossed him. In his wake are dismembered bodies and broken hearts.


To be sure, this is not a great movie, but it is one that is immensely entertaining, completely over the top and features a lead character that is a total bad ass who can refer to himself in the third person and get away with it.

The cast is studded with big stars and recognizable faces. In addition to Danny Trejo, Jeff Fahey, Steven Seagal, and Robert Deniro, you also have Don Johnson as a racist vigilante picking off Mexicans as thy cross the border, Jessica Alba as an INS agent, Michelle Rodriguez as a taco truck operator, Cheech Marin as shotgun toting priest, and Lindsay Lohan as an uninhibited senator's daughter. Sounds like a party right? Sure does.

The plot moves on rails and does not offer up any real surprises. What makes this so much fun are the performances, the style, the look, the overall execution that Robert Rodriguez brings. He takes everything to the Nth degree. Everything about this is gratuitous, the violence, the bloodshed, the nudity, the sheer insanity of it all. This is the kind of movie that is sure to put a smile on the faces of action and exploitation fans all over. Rodriguez knows just what buttons to push, how to move his characters around to maximum effect.


What can I say? I love Machete. The revenge storyline worked perfectly and I could not get enough of the overblown violence. It is done with so much style, each element looks the way it does for a reason. Will this movie be remembered by the ages? I definitely do not believe so. I don't care. This works great for the moment and it works great for me, sometimes that is ll that matters.

Highly Recommended.

Related Posts with Thumbnails


Post a Comment