After helping Carmen and Juni out in Spy Kids and appearing in one of the trailers in Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino‘s Grindhouse, Mexican ultra-badass Machete finally gets his very own feature film, supposedly making the fake trailer a real trailer. Since there is currently a sequel in the works as well, I might as well share with you my thoughts on the 2010 action-fest known simply as Machete.
I was excited to finally get around to watching this film since the star, Danny Trejo, is actually one of my childhood heroes thanks to his appearances in films such as Spy Kids, so of course I was happy to see that he was getting his own feature film at last. Is it a good film? Well, let’s take a look.
After being betrayed by one of his colleagues and having his family murdered by an evil drug lord played by none other than Steven Seagal, we join Machete three years after these tragic events as he roams around Texas with little to do. Times are rough for Mexicans like himself, as immigrants are dumped in the desert to be slaughtered by border vigilante Von Jackson (“introducing” Don Johnson) after entering the USA. One day, Machete is approached by businessman Michael Booth (played by the Lawnmower Man himself, Jeff Fahey), who tells him that the key to ending this is killing the corrupt senator, John McLaughlin (Robert De Niro). But when it turns out that Booth is in cahoots with the racist senator, Machete makes a run for it. Not before killing some henchmen, though.
Machete teams up with a secret illegal immigrant aid movement leader known as Shé (Michelle Rodriguez) and makes his way to the church of Padre (Cheech Marin) and as a way to get revenge on Booth, they decide to kidnap his wild daughter, April (Lindsay Lohan), who is aptly described as a “nun with a gun”. Chased by an Immigrations Officer played by Jessica Alba, Booth’s men and even an ememy from the past, Machete begins his quest to uncover the truth behind what’s really happening to Mexican immigrants at the hands of Senator McLaughlin.
As you might be able to tell, Machete really has quite the all-star cast, but unlike the first Expendables where some of the stars get nothing to do and their interaction is so-so at best, this film gives almost too many of the characters their fair share of screen-time, so much so that one might forget that Machete is even in the film. In addition to the actors I’ve already mentioned, we have the likes of Tom Savini, Daryl Sabara and Billy Blair playing side characters. It almost feels overcrowded, but it remains easy to keep track of who’s who, who does what and why.
After going through several ups and downs as the film was playing, I ultimately found myself liking it. It doesn’t quite go cheesily over-the-top enough to be on the same level of hysterical as The Expendables 2, but it still provides some lovable cheese and deliberately over-the-top action scenes. The editing of said scenes could use some work, however, unless the bad editing is another thing Rodriguez did on purpose to maintain that corny 70’s exploitation feel. I think it would’ve worked even better if he had maintained the “scratchy film reel” filter in the film’s prologue throughout the rest of the movie, but that’s just me.
While not a great film and probably not even as good as it could have been, one aspect in which Machete does not disappoint is the sex and violence. If you are wishing to see a film where the story is insginificant next to how many women get naked and how many men get their limbs blown off, then I can most certainly recommend Machete. Even if I personally was looking for a little more, I too enjoyed the movie’s graphic elements, even though there exists a risk that one might find it tiresome after a certain number of similar gore scenes.
With all that said, I will admit to looking forward to the sequel that they’re releasing this fall – Machete Kills. Apparently Vanessa Hudgens is going to play one of the new characters. If it is just as bloody and sexy as the first installment, I think we can declare that Spring Breakers was the beginning of her new career. In fact, dare say that it was “the start of something new”.
Here’s a trailer and my rating: