Machete Kills: A Q&A Review

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Heads will roll (by the dozens) when a vengeful ex-federale turned assassin is recruited by the President of the United States to disrupt a mad revolutionary’s plan to blowup Washington in this sequel to the movie based on a mock trailer about a character from a series of kids movies.

Directed by:
Robert Rodriguez

Starring:
Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Amber Heard

BEST COMPARISON

Grindhouse (2007) meets Austin Powers (1997)

DEFINING SCENE

The fake opening Machete Kills Again…in Space trailer that stays truer to the faux grindhouse motif than the feature.

LOW POINT

The moment I realized that the opening trailer is an advertisement for the next film—maybe.

THE Q&A

All of my friends are excited about Machete Kills, but it sounds like a slasher movie from the 80s. Should I expect to see a guy in a hockey mask chopping up promiscuous teenagers at camp?

Close. It’s actually about a guy named Machete (mah-chet-ay) (Danny Trejo) who’s lost everything to a drug lord, became The Outlaw Josey Whales (first film character comparison), and somewhere between violently murdering a bunch of unscrupulous villains and being awarded his Green card gained a reputation as some sort of Mexican James Bond. Naturally America needs just such a fellow to handle the hard jobs it’s not willing to do (on-going undertone).

I don’t see the comparison, what do you mean by Mexican James Bond?

An internationally reputed assassin secretly tasked by a Government to take on a villainous megalomaniac. Is relentlessly pursued by a motley assortment of specialized super-assassins. Is armed with random, highly specific, yet timely one-off gadgets. Death knell to anything with a vagina…any of this ringing a bell yet? Swap out the posh suit and British accent for a leather vest and border Spanish? come on, man, it’s right there! For some reason Writer/Director Robert Rodriguez decided to move away from the relentlessly over the top albeit entertaining grindhouse sleaze into a more mainstream brand of exploitation—namely 70s/80s spy flicks.

I love James Bond movies! What’s the problem?

The problem is that Machete Kills has all this potential to be something new and crazy but never really gets to it. By box office law sequels are required to go bigger, louder, wetter. To me this is less of the same. It’s hardly even worth its R rating. It’s best moments happen early on with exponentially diminishing returns as it wears on.

But it has Lady Gaga.

It sure does. Lady Gaga super fans might get giddy over her less than 10 minutes of screen time as La Chameleon. But the character is just an excuse to flaunt gratuitous celebrity cameos like Cuba Gooding Jr. and Antonio Banderas, and Gaga’s sewn-in bit part is likely the part of a soundtrack/video deal. You know, a movie role credit for video director’s credit, plus lots of money-gobbling publicity for everyone. I guess that’s better than having to sleep with Lady Gaga.

That’s disappointing. Who else shows up?

Well, besides a whole bunch of people that we’ll all see again in Rodriguez’s Sin City sequel, there’s Vanessa Hudgens who always seems to play a prostitute for some reason, Spy Kids star Alexa Vega all growed up…

C’mon! Who else is in it that matters, wiseguy?

Well there’s the man himself, Danny Trejo whose dialog is limited to bite sized neanderthal quips like, “Machete happens” and, “Machete don’t Tweet.” And of course Carlos Estavez as Mr.President.

Carlos Estévez?

Charlie Sheen’s real name. He extorts Machete to stop a revolutionary named Mendez, played by Damian Bichir who is by far the standout roll here.

I just watched the trailer. It has machine gun boobies. How can this not be the best movie ever?

Because what you see in the trailer is most of what you’ll see in the movie. Sofia Vergara (A.K.A. Sofia Viagra) plays a man-hating madam who decides she and her comic-booky clan of hookers need to kill Machete. You might notice a pattern in Robert Rodriguez films where his idea of empowered female roles require them to be either strippers or prostitutes. Sure she might be fun to look at for the boys, but once the sound of her voice hits your ears you’ll be searching your seat for a mute button or a good set of noise blocking ear somethings. Imagine an air horn that makes the sound of Joan Rivers, Fran Drescher, and Howard Wolowitz’ Mother all at once.

I don’t know who any of those people are but I’ll just assume it’s a sound that’ll make my ears bleed. Any other eye candy worth mentioning?

As I said, nothing worth the R rating. This is the light beer of exploitation. Alexa Vega’s almost bare ass in her little leather getup and no male flesh. For some reason all of the lady’s are 20-somethings in a film frothing with 50+ male counterparts. The more I think about it the creepier it gets, so let’s just say this won’t be replacing your personalized, leather bound copy of 50 Shades of Gray you keep in the nightstand.

Stay out of my room. What about the sauce? Surely there’s some crazy violence. A friend wants to know.

There’s two, maybe three gags that work—one is even just a more cartoonish version of a similar gag from the first movie. Really it’s all silly, cartoonish CGI splats and decapitations. At one point a guy in a wheelchair is shot up and then hit with an RPG. It sounds mean spirited but it’s just bad comedy. We get a guy sliced in half vertically, some eye trauma, people shot, a few meltings, some stabbings, burnings, explodings, etc. Mostly it’s just random acts of violence on indistinguishable goons.

And what can we learn from watching the Machete Kills?

  • The best way to take out a person is to hit him with a helicopter. The best way to take out a helicopter is to hit it with a person.
  • After you shoot a person and throw her body out of a flying helicopter, put a couple more rounds in her on the way down. You can never be too careful.
  • When shot in the eye with a 45 caliber pistol round, dust yourself off and get ready to fight. You’ll be fine.
  • Helicopter rotors are the number two cause of death in adult male henchmen.

Would you recommend Machete Kills to anyone?

I could go over Mel Gibson’s roll and performance, that Michelle Rodriguez plays Michelle Rodriguez, or how capitalizing on celebrities riding the coattails of their current events scandals reduces the shelf life of the movie to right around three days ago, but that would be just as much of a waste of time as sitting through it. Machete Kills squanders huge potential, it’s unnecessary long and takes no risks. Where’s the shock, the awe, the thing that’ll live in infamy on YouTube? I think that if Lady Gaga got melted instead of Tom “I die in all of my movies” Savini someone somewhere would be talking about it. Save your money and wait for it to stream on your favorite platform on that day when you realize you’ve watched everything else available but aren’t willing to subject yourself to romantic comedies from the 90s just yet. The sequel, if it happens, needs to do something outside of everyone’s comfort zone or I’m afraid that Robert Rodriguez will no longer be able to single-handedly support all of his friends and relatives with movie roles.

2 Comments

  • RageMichelle says:

    I’m still probably gonna see it, though…I can’t help it. I love Danny Trejo

    • David David says:

      RAGEMICHELLE – As a Trejo lover myself I can tell you that he’s not the problem. If you look at the man’s IMDB page he has an impressive number of movies in post-production that I’ll likely watch.
      Let us know what you think of the movie. This is just my opinion.

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