Oh what shlocky fun it was to see Rodriguez and Tarantino’s Grindhouse several years ago. The fake trailers were hilarious and Machete was easily my favorite, so you could imagine my excitement when I heard Machete was making it’s way to the silver screen. Though was there really enough there to make an actual movie? I think so, but at times Machete just feels like a feature length trailer. Lots of great kills and snappy one liners but no real substance. Obviously it’s a movie that’s self aware, almost spoofing the action genre, but how far can a movie really go with that concept?
Machete for the most part follows the trailer to a tee. Most of the same scenes from the trailer appear whether they make sense or not. He’s hired, he’s set up, so he gets his vengeance and people die. Building on that original premise there’s now plot lines that include a corrupt senator cracking down on illegal immigrants and an underground revolution that’s a brewing. Mix that all together and what do you get? A bloated plot with too many characters, but then again is that really what this movie is about?
This movie has a contrived plot because the movies it’s spoofing were the same way. It’s not supposed to be serious, at least I hope not and the real point here is to come and watch Danny Trejo slice and dice baddies that spew cheesy dialogue and overact. That’s a lot of fun from time to time but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t grow old after awhile. Gory action can be a blast but not if it’s overused. The kills are inventive but sometimes I feel a scene is only setup to up that kill count.
Another attraction here is the eclectic cast of characters. You have some of your more contemporary stars like the saucy Michelle Rodriguez or the occasionally tolerable Jessica Alba and then you have B-listers like Don Johnson and Tom Savini sharing the screen. Some characters are hit or miss but most of the time I enjoyed watching all these actors I’d never expect to see together. Don Johnson sharing a scene with Robert De Niro? Never would of expected to see that, De Niro by the way steals every scene he’s in. Plus you get smaller character actors like Jeff Fahey getting their chance to shine in a leading role, he’s good too. I could of done without the coked out Lindsey Lohan playing an equally coked out character, I suppose art imitates life, but all in all it was definitely a “different” film going experience.
Before I wrap this up let me as well give kudos to Danny Trejo. It was a real treat to see a veteran character actor in the spotlight and he played it perfectly with piss and vinegar. Nothing like seeing him fight Steven Seagal either, who was actually really funny as the main villain. Maybe Seagal could actually nab some more roles if he hit the treadmill. All in all it’s a mixed bag of campy fun but you’ll of forgotten it by the next morning.