“Machete” Movie Review

      In 2007’s “Grindhouse”, the 70’s style double feature by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, a series of fake movie trailers were produced to give the film a true B Movie house feel.  All of them were funny and entertaining, but to the fans one stood out.  That trailer was “Machete” and now four years later, Robert Rodriguez has brought his once fake B Movie creation to bloody life.  Machete is an amped  man movie complete with way over the top blood and gore and equally  large doses of gratuitous nudity and sex.  The original trailer said Machete always gets the women and it didn’t lie.

     The story is simple enough.  Machete stars Danny Trejo as an ex Federale whose wife and child are killed by a notorious drug lord played by Steven Seagal.  He flees Mexico and becomes a day laborer in Southern Texas.  He is approached by a man  who wants to pay him to assassinate a State Senator whose hard line approach to immigration is said to be cutting into the profits of the local drug business.  This leads to numerous sets ups and double crosses and showdowns with loads of great characters. Coincidentally, the plot seems to come right out of today’s headlines and a lot of the movie’s hype took advantage of this.  Truthfully, the politics is not what steers Machete, rather its the fun you’ll have watching it that you will remember.

     Rodriguez must’ve been owed a number of favors he chose to cash in on for this movie because the cast is amazing when you think about it.  Robert DeNiro plays the aforementioned State Senator with B Movie star Jeff Fahey playing his assistant.  Jessica Alba is an Immigration and Customs Agent who is investigating “The Network”, a underground organization she believes is run by the legendary “She.”  “She” is played by Michelle Rodriguez whose day to day is running a taco truck catering to the day laborers.  Lindsay Lohan is a sex pot who participates in a threesome with her mother and Machete!  Even Cheech Marin, a Rodriguez regular, is in on the fun as Machete’s brother.  Don Johnson rounds out the cast as the leader of a border militia that tracks down and kills illegals.  I have to give kudos to Danny Trejo who has been appearing in films for almost 40 years and is finally in his first lead role.  This film succeeds where it does because Trejo delivers the funniest of lines dead pan and he successfully portrays a likable hero we can root for.

     As I said before, the film is way over the top and is meant to be purely for entertainment.  As was the case with the Grindhouse films “Death Proof” and “Planet Terror”, Rodriguez is trying to bring us back to those great exploitation films of the 70’s that were shown in seedy old movie theaters in the worst parts of town.  The film stock was scratched and full of cigarette burns and the content of the films was solely for the titillation of the audience.  On that accord, Rodriguez succeeds with flying colors because a date movie Machete is not, as my wife will attest!  As an example, Machete is in a bloody fight to the death with several henchman in a multi story building.  He needs something to hang on to as he jumps out of the window so he can safely land on the ground.  His solution?  He disembowels one of the bad guys, yanking out the very useful 60 feet of intestines and uses them as if they were a repelling rope to jump out of the window and land safely.  Need I say more?

     But all that doesn’t matter.  I found myself laughing as much as I have in any good comedy because the carnage is all just for fun.  I bet the cast and crew had the time of their lives making Machete and I’ll bet you’ll have fun watching it, if you are of the male species.  Women you need not apply as you likely will walk out of the theater.  Only minutes into Machete, there is one such scene which may scar you (women) for life.  I won’t give it away, but I will say the sound effects really make the scene.  GRADE:  B-