Theatrical Review: MACHETE
Writers: Robert Rodriguez, Alvaro Rodriguez
Director: Robert Rodriguez, Ethan Maniquis
Cast: Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Robert De Niro, Jeff Fahey, Michelle Rodriguez
“You’ve Fucked with the wrong Mexican.” Those are some dangerous, yet accurate, words flying out of Machete’s (Danny Trejo) ragged mouth as he adds another body to the ever growing count in Robert Rodriguez’s exploitation throwback MACHETE. His weapon of choice may be a machete, but he can kill with anything. And I mean anything.
Based on the fake movie trailer MACHETE featured in the Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino cult classic GRINDHOUSE double feature, MACHETE expands on the characters introduced in the trailer. Following a botched kidnapping rescue in Mexico where he was left for dead by drug cartel lord Torrez (Steven Seagal), Ex-Federale Machete is hired by a Texas state senatorial aide, played by the deep baby blues of Jeff Fahey (Booth), to assassinate his boss Senator McLaughlin (Robert De Niro) during a anti-immigration rally. The assassination attempt goes south and Machete must stop the henchman hired to kill him and bring his body back to Booth. It’s actually quite tragic for those henchman, they really should know better than to hunt down a guy named after a 30-inch knife.
MACHETE, Rodriguez’s violent and hilarious follow-up to PLANET TERROR (2007) doesn’t hold anything back. Not blood, boobs, or guts. Seriously, I think the only thing we don’t see on screen is actual sex. But really, who has time for that when you’ve got killing to do? I really don’t want to waste too many of the good parts, but the death scenes in MACHETE are some of the most inventive and zany ways to go that I have ever seen. In a water-cooler ready scene, Machete’s choice of escape rope from the hospital elicited both shocked gasps and high-fives from audience members. Rodriguez probably didn’t even bat an eye when writing that part—and thank god he didn’t.
All the usual rotating cast of Rodriguez-approved actors appear in MACHETE, including Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Cheech Marin, and a few faces we haven’t seen in awhile pop up too. Seagal and Lindsay Lohan command the screen during their scenes, while Jessica Alba’s performance seemed forced and often times utterly dull. Every character, from Trejo’s dark and mysterious Machete to Don Johnson’s twisted Texas separatist Lt. Stillman was well developed and perfectly campy. Rodriguez made sure to remind the audience that this movie was a self-reflexive homage to drive-in slasher and shoot-em-up movies of the 70s, and he succeeds in creating a movie that not only lived up to the fake-trailer’s hype but also to its own. Do yourself a favor, take off the rest of today and get yourself a ticket—you really wouldn’t want to make Machete angry.
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