Friday, September 3, 2010


While constantly entertaining, 'Machete' lacks the commitment to bad 'B' movies that made 'Grindhouse' work. Made for fans of Robert Rodriguez and the faux 'Machete' trailer that appeared in 'Grindhouse.'

Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, language, some sexual content and nudity.


In 2007, Robert Rodriguez (Sin City)
and Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious
) put out a double-feature project called Grindhouse. They each wrote and
directed their own film that poked fun at the uber-violent, cheesy and
sex-filled grindhouse films of the ’70s. Like mortar between bricks,
their double-feature was held together by trailers for other fake
grindhouse movies. Edgar Wright (Scott
Pilgrim vs. the World
), Eli Roth (Hostel), Rob Zombie (Halloween)
and Rodriguez himself wrote and directed the four faux trailers. After
audiences saw Grindhouse, fans
began demanding a feature-length version of Rodriguez’s trailer, Machete. Now we have it.

Machete starts off exactly like
you expect it to: the film print is scratched, grainy, far from
perfect; and the content of the film is trashy, corny, unbelievably
violent and filled with gratuitous nudity and vulgarity – exactly like
Rodriguez and Tarantino’s Grindhouse
films. But after these scenes, the opening credits roll and the film
snaps into perfect, modern-day high-definition mode. The unique styles
that sold Grindhouse and made
the bad films work are no longer present. All you are left with is a
good-looking bad movie. The commitment it took to make a bad Grindhouse
movie was gone. The print isn’t scratched. Reels aren’t missing. The
nude/sex scenes haven’t been removed and spliced by pervert
projectionists. Machete is
style-less. And considering it spawned from Grindhouse, it should be like Grindhouse. That is what the fans expect.

Danny Trejo (Predators) plays
the title character, Machete – a former Mexican Federale betrayed and
left wife and daughter-less by his own corrupt leaders. Years later,
is an illegal alien day-worker in Texas. After being approached
by a vague businessman (Jeff Fahey, LOST),
Machete takes a $150,000 job to assassinate Texas’ racist evil Senator
(Robert De Niro, Righteous Kill).
While looking through the scope of the rifle, about to take a shot on
the Senator, Machete himself is shot by the businessman’s henchman.
was set up to take the fall for an assassination attempt. But like
the Grindhouse‘s faux trailer
says, “They just (screwed) with the wrong Mexican.”

The story, action and violence are just what you would expect from a Grindhouse spin-off; it is too bad
that the film making styles couldn’t match. Fahey and De Niro ham it up,
along with the rest of the blockbuster cast. Jessica Alba (Fantastic Four), Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and the Furious), Lindsay
Lohan (TMZ regular), Steven
Seagal (every bad late ’80s/early ’90s action movie), Cheech Marin (Born in East L.A.) and Don Johnson (Miami Vice) also play awesomely bad
side characters.

If you can appreciate intentionally over-the-top acting and dialogue
with bloody violence and gratuitous nudity, then you will enjoy Machete – but if you are expecting
another trip down Grindhouse
Lane, prepare for disappointment.

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

3 out of 5

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