Machete

26 Sep

Title: Machete
Year: 2010
Directors: Robert Rodriguez and Ethan Maniquis
Writers: Robert Rodriguez and Álvaro Rodriguez
Starring: Danny Trejo, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin, Lindsay Lohan, Daryl Sabara, Tom Savini, Shea Whigham, Don Johnson, Jessica Alba, Robert De Niro
MPAA Rating: R, strong bloody violence throughout, language, some sexual content and nudity
Runtime: 105 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 7.7
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%

When I grade movies there are two factors that come into play, obviously the first one is how I personally liked that movie, if it played to my individual taste in films, but the second decisive factor is how I thought any one particular film performed in regards to the film it presented itself as and it aspired to be. And, because of the latter decisive factor, I think Machete was a success, because it was exactly the sort of film it wanted to be, and that’s something that can really be said about pretty much every Robert Rodriguez film out there, like it or not. And that’s because Machete was just completely shallow in a cool B-movie sort of way. This is just one weird and violent ride, that’s enjoyable in the most ludicrous sort of way, the definition of a film that doesn’t take itself seriously, and a film that never wants you to do that, either.

Though the gore and nakedness is all there (and in rather large quantities, at that), I guess I understand why some people have started calling out the race card, because this film is obviously incredibly pro-immigrants and anti-americana, but honestly, you have to be dumb to take that out of a film like this. Yes, there are political messages thrown around in all their glory in this film, and yes they’re probably the very exact feelings of Mr. Rodriguez, but this is a film for people to go and enjoy and laugh at it’s excess-everything approach, and not to start taking aim at it from a political stance.

With the politics off my review now, I can focus on the film. As some of you may remember, the concept for Machete came from one of those really nifty fake trailers that were made for Grindhouse some three years ago, that one being the double-feature exploitation film made by Mr. Rodriguez in collaboration with Quentin Tarantino. If you liked the style of Grindhouse, and liked how the fake trailer for Machete looked, then you’re in for a treat, because this is just essentially an elongated version of that, highly stylized gory stuff with body parts flying around and a fun screenplay that will deliver some solid laughs out of its one-liners.

Danny Trejo is a fixture of Mr. Rodriguez’s films, but it’s just now, at 66 years of age, that he’s the lead actor in a film, and his performance is exactly the sort of performance it had to be, just plain out fun, it’s not good, but it’s good for what this film wanted to be, and, really, so is every other performance in it. Mr. Trejo stars as the titular character who flees to Texas after a Mexican druglord wants him dead, and in Texas he clashes with a senator owned by said druglord, that senator being played by Robert De Niro in a performance that, while fun to watch, takes direct aim at those in politics who support the dumb new immigration laws, but seriously, it’s just awesome to see a guy like Mr. De Niro just play a role full of exaggeration.

I repeat, however, that Machete wasn’t made as a satire of any kind, there are political elements by the dozens, but that wasn’t the aim of this movie at all, and you have to be a very close-minded person to think that that’s what it’s all about. Because Machete is just simply a very fun film, with Mr. Trejo being pitch perfect as the titular character who looks at everything, whether its the massive killings sprees he goes into or the women who lust after him, with the same expression full of indifference, this was just a B-movie made for audiences to have fun, and as such it’s a tremendous success.

And it’s a success because everyone involved was game for it, from Mr. Trejo to Mr. De Niro to Lindsay Lohan, who appears as the slutty daughter of Mr. De Niro’s character’s right-hand-man (who lusts after his own daughter) and who’s seen in a nun’s attire, underneath which she conceals a fully loaded machine gun. And yes, that’s the sort of ridiculously awesome things you will see aplenty in Machete, appreciate it as such.

So yes, to recap, Machete is a film done with the style of an exploitation film, complete with a laughably cool plot, a script full of ludicrous one-liners, and actors doing their exaggerated best, completely going along with all of the cartoonish mess that’s revolving around them. If you don’t like the sort of film that just concentrates in getting the most amount of bloody and gory stuff out of a gun fight then don’t go see Machete, but you really should love that, especially because the actors are all so good at making this fun, and just completely letting loose and being ridiculous, and as such, you should get a kick out of seeing this one. And please don’t make a huge deal out of the political commentary in this one, yes, it’s there in full force, but there’s a helluva lot of other stuff going around as well, and that stuff’s even louder and bigger.

Grade: B

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