“Blood of Christ? Tastes like Merlot to me.” – Michael Booth in Machete
I can still remember going to watch Grindhouse in an nearly empty theater and being highly amused by the “fake trailer” that was aired before the first film of the double feature. That trailer was for a movie called Machete, and after seeing it, I was wishing to have seen that full length movie instead of the disappointing Death Proof.
It took a few years, but the fake trailer finally became a feature film when Robert Rodriguez released Machete in 2010. Staying true to the grindhouse theme, Machete features tons of violence, nudity and sleaze like exploitation films of the past, but Machete boasts an all-star cast featuring Robert De Niro, Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Cheech Marin, and Don Johnson.
Machete is about a Mexican Federale-turned-day laborer, named Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo) who is hired to assassinate a Texas Senator (Robert De Niro), that is seeking re-election by using border security as his primary platform. Machete, however, is double-crossed, which opens up a war between an illegal immigrant network and a vigilante border patrol group. This is Trejo’s first lead role in a film, and even though he doesn’t have Hollywood good looks, the role is perfect for him and he carries the film.
Although Machete features political ads during the film, it is far from being politically correct. Aside from racial stereotypes, the movie is full of offensive material, such as a pregnant woman being shot and killed, using one’s intestines as a rope, a crucifixion, and too many deaths to count. As a matter of fact, there are no less than a dozen deaths and full nudity before the opening credits roll. It is all done an over the top, tongue in cheek manner, though, that it is hard to be offended and easily to be entertained.
Machete is one of those movie that works on all levels. The acting and effects are well done, the music – as with all Rodriguez’s movies – is spectacular, and the story is great. Just think, if Sam Peckinpah had used this style of over the top violence instead of the realistic violence that he had gone for in The Wild Bunch, that movie would have been a lot easier to enjoy. Sure, Machete is not a western, but it is a highly entertaining action flick that will leave you wanting more.
Thankfully, if the what is shown before the final credits comes to fruition, Robert Rodriguez will bring Machete back in Machete Kills and Machete Kills Again. It may be hard for Rodriguez to top this one, though.
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