After being set-up and betrayed by the man who hired him to assassinate a Texas Senator (Robert De Niro), an ex-Federale (Danny Trejo) launches a brutal rampage of revenge against his former boss.
Brutal, ridiculous, stupid . . . but oh so fun!
The movie that was spawned from the silly parody trailers thrown in during the “intermission” of the Tarantino\Rodriguez Grindhouse double feature.
Still waiting on Thanksgiving, Mr. Roth. The crippling disappointment still hasn’t left me after the mishandling of the Grindhouse UK release.
Giving them separate releases and blaming the three hour movie length was a BIG no, no! They didn’t even show the mock trailers in the build up to either film?! (Or maybe that was just the crappy cinema I went to).
However once I was able to get my hands on said Grindhouse flick in all its bloody glory . . .
Planet Terror was everything I expected. A proper tribute. Trashy bedlam. Let’s not talk about Death Proof . . .
Okay it wasn’t that bad. Anyway . . .
Rodriguez has always been one to deliver action packed, maniacal, trashy (see where I’m going with this) tour de forces. As much as I loved Desperado and From Dusk Till Dawn, they weren’t perfect.
You knew what you were in for from the get go. The ultra-violent opening set the tone as Danny Trejo’s bad ass Machete clocked up the body count within minutes. The silly cliches, the endless bloodshed and the gratuitous nudity. Oh, the nudity.
Seriously, a naked lady pulled out a weapon from a particular hiding spot I didn’t expect.
One delightfully gruesome scene featured our murderous machismo slicing a man’s hand off with the gun still in its possession, only to then use said hand to dispose of another with nothing more than a casual shrug to sum up the encounter. Niiiccee.
Shot in the exact same style as the old Grindhouse flicks. The dated look, the cheesy score, the OTT violence. And of course, those deliberately shoddy quick cuts and badly-put-together edits for good measure. Well, at least I hope that was intentional.
I had to laugh at Steven Seagal as the smug Torrez. Considering this was supposed to be a joke, Seagal seemed to take his role a little too seriously. And was STILL surprisingly wooden.
All the Rodriguez regulars featured left, right and centre. Man, Juni from Spy Kids has grown up (Daryl Sabara. Isn’t he marrying Meghan Trainor?). Anyway, moving on. Made me feel old.
Jeff Fahey lapped it up as the two faced conspirator playing off both sides. An underrated actor that delivered much more conviction than Seagal’s whispery samurai sword wielding weirdo.
“I don’t know what you know but I’m glad I know you”. Quotable one liners and a snappy script from Rodriguez is always a bonus.
The very definition of a Grindhouse flick is a film of “poor quality or low artistic merit”. Only Rodriguez could make something so trashy work so well as Machete made demented nun chucks out of scalpel knives and some bed sheets.
A pointless reference about the human intestine delivered a deliciously revolting and unexpected punchline in a hospital shoot em up.
My main grumble (and where Machete lost points) was the pacing. It took itself a little too seriously in places and it killed a bit of the fun (and momentum). Don’t get me wrong, the themes on immigration were bang on.
Eerily so; considering this film is (at time of writing) EIGHT years old.
De Niro’s evil politician McLaughlin spoke volumes. His “Don’t get caught on the wrong side of the fence” campaign was the very definition of irony. Especially with the De Niro/Trump feud. Replace that electrified fence with a wall and the irony is even more bittersweet.
Jessica Alba’s agent role was a bit nothingy. Stalking Michelle Rodriguez’s Luz and talking in riddles to no avail. Took a good 45 minutes before her path crossed with Machete and for her character to be of any interest. Other than playing on the Wii in yoga pants
Trejo bossed it and once Alba was brought into the mix, the pair made a good duo. Another highlight involved Alba (Hang on . . . ) in hand to hand combat with a Mexican luchador using stiletto heels for knuckle dusters.
Seriously. God knows what Rodriguez was smoking BUT it worked. And of course, it wouldn’t be a proper Rodriguez flick if Cheech Marin didn’t make an appearance in another scene stealing cameo as Padre.
This wasn’t without its faults (Believe me) BUT Machete would fall happily in the “sh*t but good” folder. If you’re a RR fan or in the mood for an entertaining ridiculous bloodfest then look no further.