Machete: An Unapologetic & Bloody Fun Ride

3 09 2010

Based off a faux trailer from 2007’s Grindhouse, Machete is really a fan-inspired project. After the trailer received an overwhelmingly positive response from fans, director Robert Rodriguez decided to actually make the full-length feature. Thus Machete was born. And fans won’t be disappointed. Here’s the breakdown:

After his family is killed, Mexican Federal Agent, Machete, is forced to make a living as an illegal immigrant in Texas. Things change when Machete is framed for shooting a vehemently anti-immigration Senator. Machete must navigate a violent world, full of sexy ladies, double crosses, corrupt politicians, freedom fighters and scheming drug lords in order to clear his name and avenge his family.

The Monkey: Machete doesn’t try to hide what kind of movie it is. A violent, inventively gory, 70’s B-movie throwback, Machete is everything fans were begging for – and more. It’s this kind of embracing of the genre that makes Machete such a sweeping success. With cheesy one-liners, retro porn music, over-the-top violence and a classic, even stereotypical, plot, you’d think Machete would be all but unwatchable. But with brilliant director Robert Rodriguez at the helm, Machete makes all of this camp work to its benefit. Anything is possible in this world, and the more outrageous, the better.

Machete has an impressive cast, including Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson and Lindsay Lohan. Rodriguez utilizes large, talented casts expertly (a la Once Upon a Time in Mexico), and this movie is no exception. No one character feels overexposed and each one brings something unique to the movie. Trejo carries the movie admirably as the machete-wielding Machete. With only a few lines of dialogue, his grim, scarred face (and his swinging blade) works to tell most of the story. Alba and Rodriguez are sufficient eye-candy and De Niro and Johnson play cold-blooded villains uncomfortably well. Marin shows up just when the movie gets a bit heavy, his comedic turn as a Catholic priest a perfect addition.

Some might classify the movie as a Mexploitation film – but I would argue it’s an all around Exploitation film. No one is spared – Mexicans, whites, liberals, conservatives – Machete takes them all and hacks them to bloody shreds. With the immigration issue being such a hot topic right now, I’m sure some will view this movie in a political light. But is Rodriguez really trying to make a big political statement? Is he trying to encourage a Revolution? Or is he just trying to take audiences on a fun-as-hell, blood-and-guts adventure? I think Rodriguez would say – either. If you walk out of the theatre re-thinking political policies or civil rights issues, then the movie was a success. If you walk out of the theatre laughing at the good time you just had, then the movie was a success.

The Weasel: The movie lagged a bit towards the end. All roads led to the climactic battle scene, which ended up being a little disjointed, especially when you weren’t quite sure how the movie reached that point. The inclusion of Lindsay Lohan, while riotously funny, is funny for the wrong reasons. Her drugged-out-rebellious-daughter character is too close to the recent tabloid queen’s real-life antics to even be a caricature – it’s pathetic.

Rodriguez managed to make a movie that almost no one can complain about. “There’s too much blood!” There’s supposed to be. “It’s too cheesy!” It’s supposed to be. “It wasn’t believable!” It’s not supposed to be. In essence, if you don’t like Machete, it’s your fault. Genius.

4 Death Stars out of 5

What do you think? Was Machete trying to make a political statement? Did you find it cheesy? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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6 responses

3 09 2010

The questions is: what position does the movie take on illegal immigration? (I would like to know, for real)

3 09 2010

The Michelle Rodriguez character said it best: “The system is broken.” That’s the position the film takes. The movie vilifies bigots and racists, while upholding the fair-minded as heroes: as do most movies. I thought it was a nice touch that Robert Rodriguez included people of all ethnicities in “The Network,” a group of “freedom fighters.” It was a nice way of saying, “it’s not race vs. race, but good vs. evil.”

Does he offer a solution? No – but I don’t think he intended to.

Thanks for the comment!

9 09 2010

I laughed reading your review. You are right about all the little things in the film that make it the B-movie that it is! And Lohan…..hilarious! I love how differently people view/rate movies. Most times you and I are pretty much in alignment, but this time….I had to go to other direction! LOL. Nice review. Good writing! Have a great day!

10 09 2010

Thanks for the comment! That’s what makes movies great – everyone sees something different! 🙂

10 09 2010

Great review! I’m looking forward to watching this movie this coming friday. Will be interested in seeing how your points follow after I watch it.

10 09 2010

Yeah! Let me know what you think after seeing it! 🙂

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