This one's worth checking out.

This one’s worth checking out.

Mel Gibson goes villainous in 'Machete Kills'.

Mel Gibson goes villainous in ‘Machete Kills’.

Works as mindless fun

Works as mindless fun

Everyone’s favorite psycho Mexican is back to kill again in this sequel to Robert Rodriguez‘ charming 2010 homage to 70’s exploitation movies Machete. It was flawed but entertaining and as for this new installment to the series, well, it honestly qualifies for more or less the very same category.

Certain aspects of Machete Kills are improvements to be sure, although these improvements are held back somewhat by a new batch of flaws and overall clumsiness. I suppose I enjoyed watching it for the most part and I’m really fascinated by how Rodriguez makes a return to the spy movie genre this time around.

Early in Machete Kills, the eponymous Mexican war machine (played once more by Danny Trejo) for seemingly the first time in his life has his heart broken when his long-time vigilante partner and love interest Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba) is slaughtered by a masked mystery man during one of their missions. Left for dead and eventually arrested by the local sheriff (William Sadler), Machete is nevertheless recruited for one more important mission by U.S. President Rathcock, played by none other than Carlos Estevez (or, as you might know him, Charlie Sheen). He informs Machete of a genocidal nutcase named Marcos Mendez (Demián Bichir) who has stolen a nuclear warhead with sinister motives. Receiving spy gear and the suchwise from a beauty pageant competitor named Miss San Antonio (Amber Heard), Machete reluctantly agrees to track down and kill Mendez.

It turns out, though, that things are not as they seem when Mendez is revealed to be a pawn in the chess game of a corrupt business man and Star Wars fan Luther Voz (Mel Gibson), whose outright sci-fi-esque experiments are some of the film’s highlights. Eventually reuniting with his old friend Shé (Michelle Rodriguez) from the first film, Machete vows to find and stop Voz before his bizarre plans are set in motion. On his tail, not only does Machete have the machine gun-breasted Madame Desdemonda (Sofía Vergara), but also a shape-shifting serial killer known as El Chameleón, played at first by Walton Goggins, then by Cuba Gooding Jr., then by Lady Gaga (yes, seriously) and lastly by none other than Antonio Banderas. Everyone’s favorites, together again!

Machete Kills

In fact, here’s an interesting bit of trivia: Antonio Banderas’ character was originally rumored to be an older Gregorio Cortez from Rodriguez’ Spy Kids movies. This fact, plus the genre shift and the presence of a scantily clad Alexa Vega (Carmen in the Spy Kids series) made me further believe these films are set in the same universe. Even though this turned out not to be true, it remained a certainly amusing thought. Just as you can’t avoid seeing the young High School Musical star in Vanessa Hudgens, who’s also in this movie, no matter how many archetypical “stupid horny teen” stunts she pulls in Spring Breakers, and you cannot help but see Hannah Montana no matter how many things Miley Cyrus does to desperately try to assure everyone she’s no longer a kid, so too can you scarcely avoid seeing spy kid Carmen Cortez even though Alexa Vega’s quite evidently all grown up. Wow. How very old I suddenly feel.

But I digress. How is the movie? Well, I will state that there are annoyances a plenty when it comes to some elements of Machete Kills. There are moments when the action becomes redundant, Demián Bichir went from hilarious to annoying after a while and some of the subplots are handled pretty clunkily. In fact, the one with Desdemonda hasn’t even been resolved yet.

Either way, I admit that Machete Kills does have some interesting, fun and delightfully over-the-top, raunchy things in it to compensate for its damages. Danny Trejo, as always, is smashing as Machete, Mel Gibson as a hammy villain is a casting choice we really should have thought about years ago (to think that he will play another villain in the next Expendables sequel), Lady Gaga gets a few laughs, the action is fun for most of the time and the switch from 70’s exploitation to spy film to sci-fi is a peculiar one and judging from the previews shown in Machete Kills, there will be even more science fiction when we see Machete next time!

In fact, I must tactfully warn Machete fans right now that some of you will be infuriated by how much Machete Kills Again – In Space, the next film in the series, looks so starkly different from what Machete was from the beginning. I, on the other hand, shall remain open-minded and keep looking forward to seeing what they will do with it, if it is the finale this franchise deserves and if the preview keeps its promise of Machete Kills Again featuring a robot played by Justin Bieber that Machete promptly destroys! I do hope.

Overall, I will say that Machete Kills is a good time but that I’ll probably only see it once. Here comes the trailer and my rating:

3/5 whatever

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