On Saturday morning, I finally got a chance to watch MACHETE, a movie I’d been waiting to see ever since it was announced. All I wanted out of the film was what I had been promised in the promotional material: some over-the-top violence and general Danny Trejo badassery. But after walking out of the theater, I decided to hold off and think about what I’d watched a bit before rushing home and firing off a review. Mainly because, well, I didn’t like the movie much. I haven’t read any in-depth thoughts on MACHETE before sitting down to type this, aside from noticing that it is sitting at 71% over at rottentomatoes. This puzzles me for a couple different reasons, the main one being that I found the second half of this movie to be a boring letdown with action scenes neutered with eye-roll-worthy political commentary and lackluster performances delivered by a couple of the cast of well-knowns. Luckily, Danny Trejo kicked ass. Check out the trailer after the break, as well as some of my thoughts on the film.
For those of you living under a rock or unable to view the trailer because of the Nazis running your IT department, MACHETE is about a Mexican federale (Danny Trejo) seeking revenge against Torrez (Jaded’s dreamboat, Steven Segal), a Mexican drug lord who killed his family and left him for dead. Now in America cutting your grass, Machete is approached by a slimy businessman who makes him an offer he can’t refuse. He wants Machete to use his skills to assassinate Senator McLaughlin (Robert DeNiro), a local politician gaining popularity with a campaign built on racism and the construction of an electric fence to keep the illegal Mexican cockroaches from scurrying across the border into the great state of Texas. But Machete is double-crossed and becomes a wanted man forced underground, hunted by the Senator’s militia of sister fuckers commanded by Lt. Stillman (Don Johnson), an I.C.E. officer (Jessica Alba), as well as his arch enemy out to kill Machete once and for all. Machete solicits his brother (Cheech Marin), a Catholic priest, for help while also receiving assistance from The Network — an underground organization that helps illegals into the country, operated by a woman who sells tacos from a truck. With their assistance, Machete hopes to clear his name, bring down the Senator and his small army of vigilantes, and finally avenge the death of his family.
MACHETE starts with a bloody bang, a rescue mission in which Machete uses his namesake to hack, slash, and decapitate a dozen bad guys in a variety of different ways. The carnage is punctuated with a very beautiful and very naked Mayra Leal and ends with a vagina phone. When this opening scene was over, I was wearing the same stupid grin I sport when I’m watching something ridiculously stupid yet entertaining, like an episode of JACKASS or some of our site’s comments. For a little while, MACHETE kept this vibe going, but sometime after the midway point, it became apparent to me that directors Ethan Maniquis and Robert Rodriquez had blown their wad early. I never felt as engaged with the latter half of the film as I was with the first, and before I knew it, the consequence of a film resting on top of a half-baked story had hit me: I was bored.
This comes mostly from the fact that MACHETE pushed no envelopes whatsoever for a film that’s supposed to be a B-movie or an homage to the ’70s exploitation film Rodriquez loves so much. There are enough “wink wink” moments in the film to suggest that’s what they were aiming for, but the last half of the film is loaded with speeches and seemingly serious commentary on the plight of illegals in a world where every white man is an evil, racist bastard. Anyone looking for material to be pissed off about will find it within the unmistakable political message dotting the movie that sympathizes with the illegal immigrant. Most who are aware of exploitation dynamics won’t take any of this too seriously (the movie has Machete using a henchman’s intestines as a rope), but there was enough of it to induce yawns from me as it detracted from watching Machete kicking ass, the only reason why I was sitting there to begin with. Throw in some absolutely useless subplots with unnecessary characters (Lindsay Lohan) and a finale that’s as messy as it is dull, and you’ve got the kind of action film that makes Morbid’s butt numb.
I wasn’t expecting much from MACHETE, just some Danny Trejo getting his revenge on in the most brutal ways possible spiced up with some gratuitous nudity. What I got was a watered-down version of that along with excessive characters, waning action, and too much preaching. Think I’ll go back and watch PIRANHA 3D. I’m giving MACHETE two-and-a-half shots of Casa Noble out of five.
Rating:Tags: Machete, movie, review