I watched it last night while enjoying a nice big bowl of chili (I decided against tacos and tequila). Throwing another handful of fuel onto the ol’ coal burning computer, I sat down in my wingback armchair for a nice night of blood and mayhem.
This particular ‘Exploitation Evening’ took place, of course, less than a month after watching and reviewing the movie Hobo With a Shotgun.
I was worried that I would be let down. I need not have troubled myself. Machete failed to disappoint.
Like Hobo With a Shotgun, Machete is filmed in the 70’s and 80’s B-movie grindhouse style of exploitation films and, as such, shares many of the same qualities as other modern grindhouse movies. In other words, it is über-violent, bloody, funny, sexy, cheesy, action-packed and riotously entertaining. Also, like Hobo With a Shotgun, Machete started out as a ‘fake trailer.’
Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez (of Planet Terror fame), the film stars Danny Trejo. If only awards could be given for faces, Trejo would clean up! This guy has bad-ass written all over his mug.
Machete also features a pretty high voltage supporting cast: Robert DeNiro, Jessica Alba, Steven Segal, Lindsay Lohan, Don Johnson, Cheech Marin.
OK, here’s the deal… as set out in the Rotten Tomatoes site which, by the way, gives it a very respectable 73% freshness (i.e. approval) rating…
“Machete (Danny Trejo) is a former Mexican Federale who plays by his own rules, and doesn’t answer to anybody. In the wake of a harrowing encounter with feared drug lord Torrez (Steven Seagal), Machete finds himself in Texas, where the shadowy Booth (Jeff Fahey) offers him the opportunity to make some quick cash by assassinating the unscrupulous Senator McLaughlin (Robert De Niro). When the job goes awry and Machete realizes he’s been set up, he turns to fierce taco queen Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), heavily armed holy man Padre (Cheech Marin), and trigger-happy socialite April (Lindsay Lohan) to show Booth that he just messed with the wrong Mexican. But before they can get to Booth, Machete’s gang will have to contend with blade-wielding ICE agent Sartana (Jessica Alba), who never met an adversary she couldn’t flay.”
In classic grindhouse style, Machete brings ‘over-the-top’ up front and centre. Blood, gore, sex and gratuitous violence are practically characters in this revenge flick. But this is exactly the whole point of these kinds of exploitation films. You get to revel in the whole “more is more” excess of it all!
And for those who insist on something other than just plain old fun, Rodriguez sets all of this redder-than-blood action against a background of hot-button political issues – illegal Mexican immigration and border vigilantes. I have to admit that I kept imagining a middle-aged white bread and mayonnaise Tea Party couple watching this movie in a theatre filled with Mexican-Americans!
There are parts of Machete that had me laughing out loud. A fleet of low-riders driving into battle followed by a taco cart… and Lindsay Lohan in a nun’s habit carrying a pistol that looks more like a bazooka than anything else.
Another real treat was watching famous Hollywood actors in supporting roles while Danny Trejo, who has spent his entire career in tough-guy bit-part supporting roles, take centre stage. I liked that a lot!
I had such a good time watching Machete and while it isn’t as good as the double-feature Grindhouse (i.e. Rodriguez-directed Planet Terror and Tarantino-directed Death Proof), it delivers exactly what it says it will… a thoroughly enjoyable good time in front of the old TV (or in my case, the trusty old coal-burning computer).
One and a half taco-loving thumbs up!