The character of Machete has been swirling around in the warped mind of Robert Rodriguez for at least nine years (he made his cinematic debut in Spy Kids, of all things!). Seemingly just an interesting bit character, things changed after monstrous buzz was received from the fake movie trailer that was patched into Grindhouse. People wanted to see the machete wielding vigilante enact justice. And so three years later, those cries have been answered and the tough Mexican ex-Federale returns to the cinema, not as another addon, but in his own full featured movie, fittingly titled Machete.
It’s perfect timing too — the campy 70’s-80’s vibe appears to be making a comeback (Piranah 3D) and Machete fits right in with its over-the-top comic violence, sexy girls (many of whom are unnecessarily naked) and intentionally flaky characterizations and clichés.
Senator John McLaughlin (Robert De Niro) is a sleazebag politician running for re-election on an anti-immigration platform. To go along with McLaughlin’s stance that Mexicans are no better than parasites, campaign manager Booth (Jeff Fahey) figures a choreographed assassination (another way of saying fake) attempt on McLaughlin by a filthy immigrant will ensure a swift victory. No doubt he is right, but his mistake lies in the hiring of, now day laborer, Machete (Danny Trejo) to do the dirty deed.
Playing the role he was born to play, Trejo brings the angry, tattoo muscled, blade swathing juice as he seeks revenge against both the drug kingpin responsible for killing his family (Steven Seagal) and those politico bastards who set him up as their patsy. In absolute comic fashion he slices, stabs and eviscerates his way through hordes of bad guys with the help of two lovely brunettes — taco truck vendor Luz (Michelle Rodriguez) and ex- I.C.E. officer Sartana (Jessica Alba). The bloodshed is unequalled and brutal, but with a name like Machete, should we, could we expect anything less?
Rodriguez and first time helmer Ethan Maniquis keep the action and absurdity of Machete cranked full throttle for most of the film never miring it down with the now-hot-topic of illegal immigration — except to poke fun at those at the extreme ends of the debate. They certainly get the most out of their actors too — De Niro and Seagal are clearly up to the task at making their roles as incredulous as possible and for not taking anything seriously (Hell, De Niro hunts Mexicans with a rifle as sport!). As mentioned before Danny Trejo has been taking on these types of roles, albeit in a much smaller fashion, his entire career so he nails it (he’s been in nearly 200 movies playing this kind of badass — who says you can’t make a living off of being typecast?!?).
As for the ladies rounding out the cast, they all look damn good — wouldn’t it be a wonder if they all could act as well? The stretch is Lohan, who takes on the role of a drugged up slut, who, with her mother, does web porn. Okay, so it isn’t so much of a stretch nowadays for her — I hope her stint in the clink gets her freckled ass back on the right track.
Machete is everything it purported itself to be — a nonsensical, campy B-flick filled to the brim with blood and breasts. It has its flaws but they don’t impair it from being the perfect smash-bang movie experience to end the summer with. Sissies, however, need not apply.