Former musician and gunslinger El Mariachi arrives at a small Mexican border town after being away for a long time. His past quickly catches up with him and he soon gets entangled with the local drug kingpin Bucho and his gang.
Joaquim de Almeida
Lucas Cano, (Machete) an ex-bodyguard for the Mexican President, tired of his life style, retires to a remote small town in Mexico, in hope of finding peace. But things do not work out for ... See full summary »
Roman Hernández Cordova
George Castle Jr.,
When Voz puts on the metal mask, it is clearly just a part that will cover the face. (He's putting it on towards his face.) But in the next second it appears to be more like a helmet that completely covers the whole head which would have been impossible to be put on the way he did before. See more »
First came "Grindhouse" (2007), a critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful ode to exploitation films of the 1970's & 1980's. Then came "Machete" (2010), an unapologetically violent spin off adapted by popular demand from one of the fake trailers that accompanied "Grindhouse".
Unlike "Grindhouse", "Machete" was a commercial success, making 2 1/2 times its money back in domestic grosses alone. Inevitably, there would be a sequel. Because of how much I enjoyed "Machete", I was looking forward to "Machete Kills" (2013).
Unfortunately, while the movie's predecessors were aware that they were both parodying and paying tribute to low budget schlock flicks, "Machete Kills" somehow forgets that fact. The over-the-top violence and sex is still there, but something still did not feel right as I was watching this film.
The movie starts out right as you get an allegedly fake trailer for "Machete Kills Again . . . In Space". In this "preview" (which may or may not actually get made in the near future), the film is grainy, scientifically unrealistic, and primarily fun to watch.
Then the movie begins, and the film is as clear as crystal, the first indication that the director, Robert Rodriguez, somehow forgot what he was parodying. Based on the casting of supporting characters, Rodriguez may have also intended "Machete Kills" more as a second chance for once-prominent actors with now-notorious reputations than a tongue-in-cheek tribute to his love for fun, low-budget cinema.
The original "Machete" was no masterpiece, but it was enjoyable to watch because Danny Trejo played an appealing bad-ass, and the narrative was solid. In "Machete Kills", Danny Trejo somehow doesn't seem to be into the character he made his own, keeping the same inexpressive face throughout as if he is already bored with playing the character.
The story in this movie is also too simplified and hackneyed to accommodate as many supporting characters as it does. There's a terrorist who is about to launch a nuclear missile from Mexico to Washington, D.C., and is one of those villains who doesn't know what he wants to do with the world once he takes it over.
While Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, and others from the original movie make welcome returns to this sequel, so many characters are added to this story that their presence actually makes the story more confusing. There's a Miss Texas beauty pageant contestant (Amber Heard) who serves as both a femme fatale and almost an Agent Q to Machete, a brothel owner (Sofia Vergara) with an uninspired bra gun which has been done in countless movies and TV shows before, and a lone assassin who assumes many identities (including Lady Gaga) who wants to kill Machete for reasons the film doesn't seem to explain.
If you're going to accommodate that many characters, write a story where every character has more of a useful goal than "Kill the hero", or even "Make a clever cameo". While I thought it was clever to have Charlie Sheen be credited as Carlos Estevez (his birth name) in the beginning sequence, he served no purpose playing the President of the United States.
It's as if the screenwriters just said, "Hey, you know what would be funny? Let's have a formerly legitimate actor whose life is a train wreck play the President!" Sure, Sheen smokes, womanizes, and swears in his role, but those actions alone don't elicit more than a chuckle.
On the other hand, I bought into Mel Gibson playing Voz, the villainous operator of a weapons manufacturer who made the nuclear missile. Does Gibson's presence here show how fall the former A-lister has fallen? Maybe, but he still sold every line he spoke, and still showed his good acting days are not behind him.
As for the gratuitous violence, I was hoping for more irony in what I was watching. Machete doesn't seem to have more creative ways to use a large knife beside slashing it from right to left. Plus, any creative ways a nemesis dies seems to be ripped right from "The Itchy & Scratchy Show" cartoon on "The Simpsons".
If Robert Rodriguez decides to go ahead and make "Machete Kills Again . . . In Space", he needs to make sure there's enough room in the story for any celebrities whose careers he wants to revitalize. Plus, he needs to embrace the graininess of fun B-movies, and remember that even schlock fails without a coherent story.
Probably foremost, he also needs to make sure Danny Trejo actually wants to reprise his role, because you got no indication of that desire here. Or, even better, give Michelle Rodriguez her own spin off as Luz, the Mexican revolutionary. Unlike Trejo, she actually seemed like she wanted to be there.
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