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Machete
BLU-RAY disk
01.26.2011 By: Jason Adams
Machete order download
Director:
Robert Rodriguez, Ethan Maniquis

Actors:
Danny Trejo
Jessica Alba
Robert De Niro

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A congressmen up for re-election, racist immigration officers, murderous drug lords – they all f*cked with the wrong Mexican.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
The opening prologue of MACHETE is exactly what you imagined this movie to be after seeing the trailer during GRINDHOUSE. It’s chock full of ridiculous violence, naked girls and general Mexican badassery, and is a great indication of what you would expect. But following a nifty credit sequence (“And introducing Don Johnson”…love it), Robert Rodriguez attempts to bring us something different.

Sure, there’s plenty of the “fun” stuff (especially the kills), but MACHETE is definitely not your everyday mindless actionfest. It’s actually very reminiscent of the director’s previous work ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO. If you didn’t enjoy that kind of sprawling, multi-character plotline, then MACHETE is probably not for you. I liked OUATIM and I also liked what Rodriguez did with this character. A lot was made of the film’s political undertones, and while there were a few moments where the social commentary stuck out like a sore thumb, overall the conversation is tongue-in-cheek enough to fit within the “Mexploitation” feel. Even when the subject matter occasionally got “heavy,” the movie still felt light and genre-appropriate. You can’t really have it any other way in a movie where the Mexican hero uses gardening tools to kill people.

Not everything works perfectly, mind you, but MACHETE is definitely entertaining throughout and the majority of that praise is delivered at the feet of the man himself, Danny Trejo. While he’s been beloved as a supporting character over the past two decades, the actor is perfect in the lead role as an action star, even though he’s an unbelievable 66 years old. He’s cold, confident and likable in the way that the best tough guys are. (And with his gorgeous looks he’s reminiscent of a Latino Charles Bronson.) Rodriguez is also smart to back him up with a more experienced cast and, boy, did he get one. The film boasts the likes of Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan (playing a drugged out whore, no less), effects guru Tom Savini, Jeff Fahey, Don Johnson and Steven Seagal as a Mexican. All this movie needs is Michael Biehn and we can all die happy.

Between some of the more effective action beats (love the functional disemboweling) and iconic images (like Lohan as a nun and Cheech Marin as a killer priest), there’s lots of memorable stuff, but ironically where MACHETE suffers a bit is the shoehorning in of all the famous bits from the original trailer. Moments like the Gatling gun on the motorcycle are great, but a good chunk of the movie feels like Rodriguez is writing to the dialogue and plot set up in the preview, rather than the other way around, and honestly most of them don’t really fit naturally in to the story he decided he wanted to tell. (The sex scene between the mother and daughter was particularly ridiculous.) The ending also gets a little too silly with the big “revolution” showdown feeling too small in scale and almost becoming a parody of itself with Mexican gardeners, hot rods, dishwashers and even ice cream trucks that didn’t fit the tone all that well.

But in the end, let’s not forget that I’m writing about an ultraviolent mainstream movie starring Danny Trejo, where he gets to fight Steven Seagal and make out with Jessica Alba. The world ain’t so bad a place sometimes.
THE EXTRAS
While the deleted scenes offer up a bunch of new characters and plot points, the Blu-Ray is missing the usual Rodriguez extras like the film school, cooking school, behind the scenes stuff. Weird.

Audience Reaction Track: I think tracks like this can be fun to listen to during the big crowd-pleasing moments, but I don’t think I’d ever sit down and listen to one all the way through.

Deleted Scenes (10:58): There were a few major subplots cut out, possibly to be saved for a future sequel. (I’m just guessing here.) One features Alba in a dual role also playing her sluttier, alcoholic twin named Sis, while the other sees Rose McGowan as a hitwoman named Boots McCoy, who uses a cat as a silencer. There’s also more to flesh out De Niro’s character and a scene to explain what happened to Tom Savini. Most of these are fairly quick and it’s obvious to see why they were removed, but it’s still fun to see such drastic changed.

Trailers and a Digital Copy are also included.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I find it hard to believe that many people seemed to be so profoundly disappointed with MACHETE. Sure, it may not be exactly the movie you were expecting, but it’s still very memorable and entertaining throughout and lives up to the Mexploitation promise Robert Rodriguez has been making for years. And let’s not forget; we’re watching an R-rated movie from a major studio starring Danny Trejo. That in and of itself is reason enough to support it.

Extra Tidbit: I got a horrible case of food poisoning at the MACHETE Block Party at Comic-Con this past summer, from tacos that I’m pretty sure Robert Rodriguez made. Still totally worth it.
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3:22PM on 01/26/2011
66 years old and still kickin' ass... Go Danny Trejo!
66 years old and still kickin' ass... Go Danny Trejo!
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