After being set-up and betrayed by the man who hired him to assassinate a Texas Senator, an ex-Federale launches a brutal rampage of revenge against his former boss.After being set-up and betrayed by the man who hired him to assassinate a Texas Senator, an ex-Federale launches a brutal rampage of revenge against his former boss.After being set-up and betrayed by the man who hired him to assassinate a Texas Senator, an ex-Federale launches a brutal rampage of revenge against his former boss.
Well, I love violent action films, I think Jessica Alba is gorgeous, I am Catholic but am not easily offended, and I was one of a surprising few who saw the aforementioned ambitious tribute to B-movies of the 70's and 80's. Therefore, I enjoyed "Machete" a lot, but I imagine others would have to take it with a grain of salt.
"Machete", based on a fake trailer made exclusively for "Grindhouse" that director Robert Rodriguez decided to expand into a feature-length film, is not meant to be taken seriously. If anything, it's a clever film with a lot of great action sequences, intriguing characters, many interesting subplots, and a good story at its base. For starters, it also has an impressive roster of talented actors in it. There is an interesting mix of the usual Rodriguez players (Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, Jeff Fahey), really good actors (Robert De Niro), notoriously bad actors (Steven Seagal, Don Johnson), and talented players that have made some bad film choices over the last few years (Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan). The funny thing is that, good or bad, most of these actors seem perfect fits for this movie, and work well off each other.
Trejo may have been an action star if he came to fame in 1970's cinema. Nowadays, it's not unusual to see good looking celebrities like Tom Cruise and Ryan Reynolds headline action films. Thankfully, Rodriguez, like Quentin Tarantino (who co-produced this film, but for some reason, remained uncredited) saw something in this 66-year-old ex-convict, because Trejo makes a great lead for an action film. Just one look at him, and you may want to start running. He's rugged, doesn't take any crap from anyone, and it is what action stars should be. It's just too bad the villains in this movie are not aware of that fact, and there are many villains.
There's Torrez (Steven Seagal), a drug kingpin who betrayed Machete while he was a Federale in Mexico. There's Booth (Jeff Fahey) who hires Machete to assassinate a Republican senator (De Niro) who's staunchly against illegal immigration. There's also a corrupt border patrolman (Don Johnson) who kills illegal immigrants with no mercy. Although Jessica Alba plays an INS agent, you really can't stay mad at her for long.
Although "Death Proof" and "Planet Terror" found a separate following on DVD, "Grindhouse", which combined the two films along with fake previews, did not do well at the box office despite rave reviews. So the timing may have been bad for "Machete" had it not been for the controversial Arizona immigration law that coincidentally coincided with this film's release. Whether or not this movie can be seen as a Hispanic-American revenge fantasy is not up to me to decide, although Michelle Rodriguez's turn as Luz, who is suspected of aiding illegal immigrants, raises some interesting questions. The film does seem to forget that it's a parody of exploitation films of years past at times, but never ceases from being fun. Just as Rodriguez brought "Machete" from a coming attraction to a feature film, I hope Rob Zombie does the same for his "Werewolf Women of the SS" preview.
- Sep 27, 2010