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MACHETE (2010)

>> Monday, September 6, 2010

Machete? More like MACHETE!!!

A few years ago the Onion News Network came out with a clever little news story that the wildly popular Iron Man trailer would be made into a movie, with extensions of scenes and even "additional scenes that were not in the trailer" (you can watch the story here). It seems they may have predicted the future. That same summer a very well done 3-hour movie experience showed up in some theatres called Grindhouse (2007) - which featured 2 main attractions (Planet Terror and Death Proof). As part of that experience there were fake trailers that were shown before each film. One of which, was Machete (original trailer here).

Machete (played by the always entertaining [and scary] Danny Trejo) is an ex-Federale who has been on the run ever since crime runner Torrez (the perfectly placed Steven Seagal) killed Machete's family in front of his eyes and put a bullet in the back of his head.

Several years later and after accepting a job to assassinate Senator McLaughlin (Robert De Niro), Machete finds himself the pawn in a political game of chess set up by the Senator's adviser, Booth (Lost's Jeff Fahey - who is really good here). Now, it wouldn't be Machete if our 'hero' didn't want some revenge. It just so happens that this political web of lies leads Machete back to his original nemesis, Torrez. And boy is Machete pissed. The film is akin to a Spanish, more violent version of the Bride from Kill Bill (2003) (who just so happens to occasionally have relations with the wives and daughters of certain political advisers). Trust me, you don't want a badass like Machete (with a knack for MacGyver-ing his way down the side of a building with your intestines) on your bad side.

Those on Machete's good side, however, are glad to have him not only lead his own revenge killing spree, but one that coincides with the unfair treatment put upon Mexican immigrants entering the country (some of which are shot and killed crossing the border). Those on his team include government immigration agent, Sartana (Jessica Alba), taco stand owner and leader of the rebellion, Luz (Michelle Rodriguez) and Machete's Priest brother, Padr (the always welcome Cheech Marin). We also get some nice cameos from Lindsay Lohan (who bares it all) and Don Johnson - think of a B and C-list version of Ocean's Eleven (2001).

Even with the message of immigrants and the overzealous Texans who are pro-fenced border, Machete is not overly political. It makes an exaggerated statement, that's for sure, but really seems to be more concerned about the twenty ways Machete can use a scalpel, or a bone saw, or (and of course) a machete - which is fine, and the way it should be. Machete is as enjoyable as you would expect and occasionally, even more so. More remarkably (if you see the film and watch the original Grindhouse trailer) is how closely director Robert Rodriguez follows the original story and copies the shots frame per frame (unless they used some originals - which is possible). This just adds another level of cool to what is already a really fun film.

Machete is a good film. It does most things right and occasionally steps out of even it's comfort zone to do something unexpected - if for no other reason than because that's what the audience wants. Its fun, it's nasty, it's pointless and it works. Machete gets an open door because if I gave it a closed one, Machete himself would kick it down to make it an open door and slice my head off with a giant knife. Oh, Danny Trejo...

*Stills courtesy of Overnight Films


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