Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Machete (2010)
Directed by Robert Rodriguez & Ethan Maniquis
Troublemaker Studios

"There's an interesting face," says Jessica Alba, reintroducing Danny Trejo as Machete after an intense intro sequence - now there's an understatement! If Planet Terror's b-grade, Machete's about a D+ (if that). It makes Grindhouse look like The Color Purple, or Schindler's List. But that doesn't mean it doesn't kick some serious ass.

Born out of a spoof trailer for Rodriguez's 2007 Grindhouse feature Planet Terror, Machete: The Film simply fills in the blanks, turning a two-minute-and-20-second trailer into a full-length, one-hour-and-forty-minute, decapitation-heavy feature film. According to Rodriguez, he's had the screenplay shelved since 1993, when he first met Trejo on the set of Desperado and dreamed of a "Mexican Jean-Claude Van Damme or Charles Bronson."

tory-wise, as you'd expect, the script's about as thin as Jessica Alba. Lindsay Lohan plays a drugged up, sex-tape prone problem child with dreams of becoming a star (now that's a stretch). FBI agent Alba contemplates her cases naked, in the shower. Machete swings through windows on human intestines. And Steven Seagal does the worst Mexican accent since Charlton Heston in Touch of Evil.

It's all a guilty pleasure, really. A fun excuse to get stars like Robert De Niro, Steven Seagal, Jessica Alba, Don Johnson, Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez and Lindsay Lohan together for a gruesome, b-movie take on illegal immigration and the Mexican workforce silently keeping America going.
In the end, it all gets pretty ridiculous - as you'd expect. Perhaps, gloriously so...

Still, I couldn't get used to Trejo as a lead actor. It's great that his time's finally come, I just kept waiting for him to die, half expecting him to turn into a vampire or spit into a glass and serve up some dodgy whiskey. It's weird seeing his character develop, learning his (albeit superficial) back-story, seeing him use a computer and watching him hook up with Lohan, Alba and Michelle Rodriguez, just like a regular action hero. The dude's 66!

Machete's not Robert Rodriguez's best work - far from it. But for fans of Planet Terror, Danny Trejo and purposefully low budget-looking, badly scripted exploitation action flicks with a cheesy, slapstick sense of humour and stupid-as-fuck lines like, "Why do I wanna be a real person when I'm already a myth?," Machete's worth the ride. Guaranteed to kill brain cells...

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