Machete is a lot of things, it is a kickback to the original Grindhouse project helmed by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, it is fan service to all of the guys who wanted more cheesy gore and flesh and it is a cynical, brown middle finger to anti-immigration laws and the people behind them.
When we saw the trailer to Machete during the introduction of Planet Terror, many of us laughed our ass off and pondered at how epic that pretend movie would have been were it real. Robert Rodriguez heard our wishes and provided Danny Trejo a platform on which to wield his masterful blade to a concert of blood. Steven Seagal delivers one of his best performances in years, playing a Mexican drug lord and samurai sword master (oh ya it’s hilarious) and Robert De Niro was brilliant as the Texas Ant-Immigration yahoo Senator McLaughlin. There were so many recognizable faces that I could go down the line listing their names and how wonderful they were but I will save you the yawns by mentioning the two hawtes that had my eye: Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez. Oh yes boys these ladies came to play and they brought Lindsay Lohan with them… it was hot.
The story will not win any awards as the trailer says it all in “they pissed off the wrong Mexican”. It is a revenge story coupled with a superhero caliber good guy and a whole lot of snide reflection on present day events dealing with illegal immigrants. Jessica Alba is hot in this movie, and if she lost you by vanishing for a bit to have a baby, you will be back onboard team Jessica after this. Michelle Rodriguez, one of our premier badass femme fatales actresses has apparently been in the gym and running a whole lot for this role. Her abs are ripped, her arms toned and her body flawless as Luz, the taco vendor/revolutionary. Cheech Marin makes a cameo as a shotgun wielding priest and Don Johnson (yup the Miami Vice guy) plays a hardened anti-immigrant redneck by the name of Lt. Stillman.
They pissed off the wrong Mexican!
Machete is a crowd-pleaser, very much like the Grindhouse double feature was but I fear that the timing (school is back in session) and niche audience will hold it to low numbers just like it’s predecessors. Still the people who showed up to see the big Mexican were in hog heaven by the time the final credits rolled. It is the kind of movie that parodies not only the genre, but the actors within it themselves and real life situations that affect everyone. Directors Ethan Maniquis and Robert Rodriguez have hit a homerun and the only thing I want to see more than the shapely ladies of this movie is more of Machete himself.
Flaws? There could have been a bit more of our main guy in the film, but balancing the amount of good guy front and center with the development of bad guys and supporting cast is not an easy challenge to meet. I can also bemoan the sacrifice of all out action in lieu of story development, even though the story wasn’t all that but that would be me taking something that isn’t meant to be taken seriously… seriously. No Machete was great, campy and an awesome follow-up to Planet Terror for Robert Rodriguez. It is the type of movie that I will buy and watch over, and over, and over again – and not for the Jessica Alba shower scene, or the girl on girl pool scene with Lindsay Lohan but for the movie itself.
If you have any misgivings on going out and watching Danny Trejo chop the bad guys down, then consider this a reassurance of its epic grandeur. Go out and see Machete.