Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Machete Review

The surprise of Machete is not that Dan Trejo is the lead for this movie but that Twentieth Century Fox distributed it. Fox is a sister company of the right-wing Fox News. Conservative Rupert Murdoch owns both. Machete with its pro-illegal immigrant, leftist message would make Fox News' head Roger Ailes have a heart attack. This is the second movie within a year, the other being Avatar, with that old fashion Hollywood liberal sermon to be released by Fox. I guess that Hollywood liberal stuff sells. Sorry Rush Limbaugh.

In an atypical casting move Dan Trejo plays Machete, a Mexican Federale. Trejo does not have the handsome looks of your usual leading man. With his long black hair, tattoos and scarred face, he looks like he belongs to a biker gang. At the beginning of the movie, Federale Machete is trying to rescue a young woman held captive by drug lord Torrez, played by a bloated Steven Seagal. The rescue mission turns out to be a trap. And Torrez kills Machete's wife in front of him.

The movie then cuts to America where Machete is an illegal immigrant looking for work. Okay, how we get from Mexico to the U.S. is not explained. In fact we don't even know why he's in the U.S. Oh well, it's probably just an excuse by writers Robert Rodriquez and Alvaro Rodriquez to shove a pro-illegal immigrant plot down the audience's throat. A businessman Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey) hires Machete to kill right-wing, anti-illegal immigration state senator John McLaughlin (Robert De Niro?!) One thing about this character of McLaughlin, the film points out that he's an independent. Really? When you see his campaign ad, which party do you think is the right-wing anti-immigration party? The Republicans. But I guess that's too political. Anyway, the plan is not to kill McLaughlin but to merely wound him and frame Machete thereby making McLaughlin a martyr. The senator's ultimate plan? He wants to build an electrified fence to control illegal immigration.

The rest of the movie is about Machete's search for vengeance and uncovering the truth behind Booth's plan. Along the way, he meets and romances a pretty ICE agent (Jessica Alba) and a freedom fighter for the the illegal immigrants. (Michelle Rodriquez) Cheech Marin plays a gun toting priest who has a past with Machete. Don Johnson plays your stereotypical racist gringo vigilante who hunts down illegals and kills them. Makeup legend Tom Savini is a hoot as a hitman. And why don't we throw in Lindsay Lohan, having some fun with her real life image, as Booth's hard partying, drug addicted daughter.

Machete is an extrapolation of the Grindhouse (2007) faux trailer of the same name. It's done in the same B movie exploitation style. Everything rings true from vintage seventies cars, cheap looking effects, and the waa-waa guitar pedals heard during sex scenes. As for directors Robert Rodriquez and Ethan Maniquis filmmaking, you can forget any semblance of them trying to get great performances out of the actors. They know this movie is a B movie and if the actors performances come off wooden and unrealistic, so be it. Machete is not designed to win awards, it's merely a homage to the seventies B movies.

Of course, there's got to be plenty of gratuitous nudity and violence. Machete doesn't disappoint. And unlike Piranha 3D, the violence in Machete isn't as ugly. That's because the all the death scenes which include beheading, disembowelment and dismemberment are quick. Believe it or not, there's less suffering on screen. Of course, the action is so over the top, you don't take any of it seriously. I mean what can I tell you when you've got a scene where Lindsay Lohan in a nun's habit wields a submachine gun. And check out the announced sequels at the end credits. MACHETE KILLS. MACHETE KILLS AGAIN. That's a hoot.

Machete is one last blast of the summer. It's a nod to the guilty pleasures of the past. Oh and remember, "Machete don't text." What do you expect in the grade? Of course, the grade is B.

No comments: