One of the best bits of Grindhouse was definitely the fake trailers. And one of the best bits of the fake trailers was Machete, which promised flying motorbikes, killer priests, threesomes and Danny Trejo kicking a whole lotta ass. Three years later, we finally got the promised feature.
Better late than never, I say.
Shame Sin City 2 took decades...
Robert Rodriguez excels at mimicking 70's exploitation films, whether it be horror movies (From Dusk Till Dawn, Planet Terror) or Mexploitation action flicks (Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Desperado) so Machete was always going to be a shoe-in. That it took so long to make is therefore surprising but as long as it exists, I'm not about to complain.
So does Machete get the job done?
Perfectly capturing the sleaze and silliness of Grindhouse action B-movies, Machete is about as badass, random and fun as it gets. Rodriguez's film certainly shows weak efforts like A-Team and The Expendables (out the same year) how an old-school action flick should be done. Danny Trejo excels in his first lead role and looks more intimidating than the entire cast of both aforementioned blockbusters put together. The supporting cast also contains some gems with Steven Seagal and Jeff Fahey as the villains, Robert DeNiro as a crooked politician, Cheech Marin as Machete's priest brother ("God has mercy: I don't!") and Michelle Rodriguez as some kind of taco saleswoman/revolutionary.
The plot is actually way more complex than it needed to be, something Rodriguez tends to do sometimes, but it does well in keeping us drawn into this whole affair. The action is nothing short of genius with Machete hacking people to pieces in a heartbeat, using guts as rope while bursting through and out of windows and pulverising everyone and everything with his awesome custom bike which would make the Ghost Rider soil his pants with envy. Needless to say he has sex with every gal in the film gloriously accompanied by stock porn movie music.
Machete can rest proudly alongside Rodriguez's previous Mexploitation efforts so why am I not giving the film full marks? Two reasons: Jessica Alba and Lindsay Lohan. Both are about as irritating as they always tend to be and neither of them seems to get the joke quite as well as Michelle Rodriguez, who clearly just has a ball throughout. Their characters have some fun moments but had they been replaced by the likes of, say, Salma Hayek and Amber Heard respectively (other Rodriguez regulars), we could have had a near perfect movie here.
No matter, Machete still hits the spot and does the trailer it was based on justice. One can only hope that the joke "coming soon" titles at the end of the film Machete Kills and Machete Kills Again are not just puns but hint at a legitimate franchise.
Great, silly, gory, ridiculous, hilarious stuff.
Sorry, couldn't help myself.