Machete Kills Review

Machete Kills is a poor film by a director who has seemingly lost the once promising touch he had. Even now I'm still debating whether or not I should even bother with this review. Perhaps I should put in as much effort as the filmmaker did, although if that were the case I'd be allowed to finish right here...but I need to write about this for my sake, to see if I can work through why I was utterly repulsed by this film. So please indulge me as I go over the wreckage of this horrific excuse for a film.

The character of Machete is basically a joke. He originally appeared in a fake trailer that was attached to the Grindhouse films, the 2007 collaboration between Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez consisting of Death Proof and Planet Terror. Then someone gave Mr Rodriguez the bright idea to spin Machete off into his own film which resulted in the 2010 Machete. Then due to box office success a second dose was ordered. He's a leather-clad tattooed long-haired machete wielding ass-kicker, think James Bond if he'd been born in Tijuana and spent a considerable amount of time in prison. Played by Danny Trejo who let's be honest says it best when he says nothing at all. 

The problem with this film is that the concept was largely exhausted by its predecessor. This film is dressed up in hand-me-down jokes, borderline racism and deplorable film making, seldom a recipe for success. Then again this pretty much sums up Rodriguez's career for me. I've never been enamoured with his schlocky B-grade efforts, calling oneself a 'genre' director for me is code for 'I can't progress past juvenile films'. The man has 31 films to his name with maybe three of those worthy of a mention namely Desperado, From Dusk til Dawn (although I suspect Mr Tarantino had a strong hand in this one) and the original Spy Kids outside of that the quality cupboard is pretty bare.

Worst of all this film so desperately wants to be a commentary on American/Mexican race relations despite its b-grade skin. Machete is constantly be subjected to racist put downs by American authorities which just became tiresome. It felt like Rodriguez was trying to emulate Tarantino’s Django Unchained; however he’s no-where near as competent as either director or writer. 

The performances are a mixed bag. I’m not a fan of Danny Trejo although he is passable in smaller roles he is not a leading man. Sophia Vergara proves yet again that she’s a walking talking South American cliché who likes to refer to her breasts; I mean seriously she does this week in week out on television, try something new. Lady Gaga impressed as the assassin The Chameleon, but her inclusion amounts to little more than stunt casting. The film introduces a young Latino talent who may have a bright future, Carlos Estevez although he does has have a striking resemblance to Charlie Sheen…The one standout though was Mel Gibson as the villain Voz, for all his ups and downs of the last few years he’s still as charismatic as hell and I hope he gets some better roles as he approaches retirement. Amber Heard and Michelle Rodriguez both play one dimensional characters which is a shame because they are worthy of better stuff.  

Please don’t watch this horrible film. Let it go off and die under a rock unwanted and unloved. I pray that it won’t find a cult audience at a later date but it’s the kind of trashy fare that usually manages to. I cringe when I think of the all the resources that were wasted in the making of this film. The worst part is, the film promises a third installment in the franchise, by all means check this out if you like, but in the immortal words of Trainspotting chose life instead.

- Stu




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