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Machete – review

Machete – 9/6/10

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Grindhouse was one of my favorite films of 2007.  I loved its throwback style to gritty, hyper-violent  B films of the 1970’s.  One of the coolest parts of the film was all the trailers that were specially made and inserted in between the various segments.  One of those trailer segments, Machete, just got the full screen treatment.

Robert Rodriguez best known for film such as El Mariachi, and Desperado, made both the trailer and the full feature film along with first time director Ethan Maniquis who helped edit Grindhouse, andOnce Upon a Time in Mexico. Rodriguez does a good job of sticking to the B movie roots without doing a direct copy of Grindhouse’s scratchy purposefully bad-editing style.  It plays more like a 1980’s action flick, much to the likes of John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, big props for this as Machete turns into the Mexican version of Snake Pliskin.


Danny Trejo plays, Machete, a knife wielding vigilante who chooses the blade over bullets every time.  The film opens with him blowing shit up, and chopping heads like crazy in a race to capture and kill Torrez, a fellow assassin played by Steven Seagal in a triumphant return to the screen.  He is soon out-manned and left for dead after seeing his wife’s head chopped off and learning that his daughter was murdered by Torrez, which leaves the rest of the film ready for one thing, and one thing only…full out revenge!

The film picks up several years later as Machete has tried to leave his violent past behind in order to find a new life.  We then learn that a Senator McLaughlin, played by Robert DeNiro, and his right hand man Lt. Stillman, played by Don Johnson (nice surprise in this role), have a vendetta for keeping Hispanics out of Texas in an all out border war which involves gunning down any Mexican who attempts to enter the states. Machete soon gets caught up in, and is framed in a plot to kill Senator McLaughlin, learning that the man, behind the man, behind the man, happens to be none other than Torrez himself.

Jeff Fahey plays DeNiro’s special advisor, Cheech Marin Machete’s machine gun wielding priest hombre,  Jessica Alba is a US Border Patrol Agent, and Michelle Rodriguez plays the female vigilante version of Machete.  Lindsay Lohan makes an appearance as Fahey’s attention getting whore daughter, proving once again she has no place as an actress and should never be allowed near a movie set again.  The women in the film can’t seem to keep their pants on around Machete, and male viewers between the ages of 18 and any age should thank him for that.  There are so many characters going on in the film, which most directors would lose control of, but Rodriguez juggles them quite well giving us some great side plots.

Machete is a shitload of fun.  You’re not going to see anything groundbreaking or innovative with the film, but Rodriguez doesn’t fuck with his formula.  He knows how to make a fun, action packed, ultra-violent film.  There are some great lines, some seriously grotesque yet intricately set up kill scenes, and a ton of explosions all over the place.  It’s nice to see some return to form from a lot of actors that were forgotten long ago, and allow them to do some acting instead of just throwing them on screen for a hot second (Expendables…cough cough).  There’s no doubt the film won’t make a lot of money at the box office, and is definitely aimed at a certain demographic audience, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Grade: B