Machete Kills opens with the titular badass (Danny Trejo) and his main squeeze Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba) coming face-to-face with a Mexican drug cartel and gun-wielding maniacs in luchador masks. After Sartana winds up in the way of a bullet, Machete is kidnapped and put in a noose. At just the right time, a call comes in from the President of the United States.
At the White House, President Rathcock (Charlie Sheen, credited as Carlos Estévez, his real name) tasks Machete to take out a ruthless madman named Mendez (Demián Bichir), who has access to nuclear missiles and isn’t afraid to use them.
Machete Kills is certainly over-the-top, but the series and character has lost much of its allure. Yes, there is a lot of gun- and blade-play, a chunk of ridiculous one-liners, excessive gore, and a collection of notable names—there’s Amber Heard as a contact going undercover as Miss San Antonio, Sofia Vergara as a saucy madam, Vanessa Hudgens as a prostitute on the run, and Mel Gibson as the man behind the plan; other various-sized roles go to William Sadler, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lady Gaga, not to mention those reprising their roles—but there’s not much here that the first Machete didn’t have.
That likely won’t be a problem. Fans are here for all of the above and will probably stick by the series until it’s dead and buried. (There’s a coming attraction for Machete Kills Again…in Space attached to the movie, which is both real and a joke about how badly some exploitation series and characters have been milked for all they’re worth.)
And although Machete Kills delivers to the target crowd on all accounts and boasts a faux-3D sex scene, it’s really just not that amusing. Even one of its biggest gags—casting Sheen as a man in charge of one of the most populous countries in the world—feels like a cheap stunt that’s past expiration. At least Lindsay Lohan was still a walking disaster when she turned up in nun garb in the first Machete. Sheen as a punchline is so stale that it seems likely the series’ fourth entry, Machete Goes to the Supermarket, will feature Miley Cyrus opening an orphanage.
Deleted and Extended Scenes (20:10): There are eight here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Sheriff Doakes Talks About His Pappy,” “No One’s on the Road Tonight,” “I Dreamt Nurses?” “Meet Baby Machete,” “Tito’s Been Tasered,” “El Camaleón Sounds Like Antonio Banderas This Time,” “Extended Truck Driving Scene,” and “I’m Just Savin’ You the Sunburn.”