More than anything else it is important to understand that Machete is a film made by Robert Rodriguez.
It is now 15 years since he first gained notoriety through Desperado, a film about a lone Mexican fighting against injustice and gunning for revenge against those who wronged him. He has been making the same film ever since, and I like all of them.
Since Rodriguez has found his niche and is perfectly intent in it we know certain givens going in…
There will be too many characters. On both sides, good and bad. The script will struggle at times as it tries to find time to highlight them all.
There will be a great number of “name” actors (De Niro, Alba, Michelle Rodriguez), some Robert Rodriguez specials that seem to appear in all his films (Machete himself – Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, Tom Savini), and some non-actors (His nieces, his doctor, his real estate agent, Lindsay Lohan).
The “hero” will be quiet, brooding, menacing but 112% deadly. And facing insurmountable odds.
(I’m not sure about Spy Kids, haven’t tracked that down yet.)
In this case Machete loses his wife and child and is left for dead before the opening credits even roll.
He is then hired – though forced is a more accurate descriptor – to kill a US Senator who is vehemently against illegal Mexican immigrants and has built his whole campaign around keeping them out by whatever means necessary. Only Machete is set up and gunned down, once again left for dead.
Like a horror movie slasher though it takes more than a few bullets and a little fatal stabbing to keep a good man down, and the rest of the film has Machete and various good guys gunning down and being gunned down by various bad guys.
The violence is graphic and plentiful, ditto the nudity… but too many people will focus on the fact that Lindsay Lohan finally appeared in a profitable film – for about 6 minutes.
It would have been a great drive in movie, but it’s 2010. Now Machete will gain notoriety because it has a few stars that appear prominently in tabloids, and because most film reviewers will be facing this type of film for the first time, not having previously slummed it in video stores.
Machete is quite enjoyable, entertainingly and gobsmackingly violent, especially early and eminently forgettable. Nonetheless the film did leave me knowing more about how things work in Rodriguez-World…
- Necks are made of butter.
- Hot naked chicks can still carry stuff.
- Even after decapitating a victim it is a good idea to still have a parting hack at the headless torso.
- The human intestine is incredibly strong and apparently easy to grab and hold on to.
- You can eat a burrito and fight at the same time.
- A 42 kilogram woman can not only be a cop, but work and live alone without ever being menaced.
- Minions are plentiful and faceless.
- You can kill someone with practically anything (there are more different killing weapons in machete than any other film I have ever seen).
- Steven Seagal is 50 kilos heavier than he was in the 90s – and still can’t act.
Final Rating – 7.5 / 10. Don’t construe any of the above as being negative (aside from the too many characters vying for plot attention), even though Rodriguez makes the same movie over and again – it’s a damn fun movie.