There’s not much that can be said for most movie Henchmen: they serve their purpose, they go unnamed, and then they usually die. They’re faceless and they disappear without pity… but there is one Henchman who made a career for himself, and one that is now probably the most successful Henchman in the history of movies: Danny Trejo. Not only is he the biggest, baddest, most hard-core Mexican villain / anti-hero working today, he also has this likable charm about him that you can’t help but like, bringing a little bit of light to every flick he’s in… even if he’s the bad guy. So let’s take a look at some of his greatest (and most horrendous) movies and roles over the years as we take on the career of Sir Danny Trejo!
Trejo was a classic bad dude from the beginning. You can spy him in such early classic Henchman roles in MARKED FOR DEATH, LOCK UP, DEATH WISH 4, and even MANIAC COP 2. But it wasn’t until he collaborated with director Robert Rodriguez in DESPERADO did he really make a name for himself: as the badass Mexican dude with the Sombreroed tattoo on his chest. From there, he went on to memorable roles in CON AIR (as Johnny-23), HEAT, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (the whole franchise), ANACONDA, THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS, REINDEER GAMES, xXx, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO, THE DEVIL’S REJECTS, RZ’S HALLOWEEN, PREDATORS, BADASS, and then finally, the quid essential role that was literally created for him…. MACHETE. Starting off as a faux-trailer in the GRINDHOUSE movie, Rodriguez’ MACHETE is one wild ride of constant entertainment, all due to the incredible performance of Trejo, where he quite literally summed up ever role he’s ever played into one kick-ass character. Good shit, Trejo…. Good shit.
Did I mention the guy has done over 250 movies and TV shows over the years? He has. And while he’s always spot-on as the baddest dude in the room, that doesn’t always mean the movie he’s in is all that good. One of the worst is ALL SOULS DAY: DIA DE LOS MUERTOS, a little indie flick that’s mostly boring and just plain not good. Trejo has a significant role in that one, which is why it makes the list more than some of the other crappy movies he’s in. Other basura that lingers in Trejo’s resume includes THE CROW: WICKED PRAYER, DELTA FARCE, ALONE IN THE DARK II, THE HAUNTED WORLD OF EL SUPERBEASTO, NECESSARY EVIL, BABYSITTERS BEWARE, THE KILLING JAR, SHOOT THE HERO, and the nearly unwatchable SUSHI GIRL. Even though he definitely has his share of crap, no one will ever blame Trejo for these movies not working out. Because let’s face it… Trejo is awesome, even when not every one of his movies is.
Danny Trejo is known for being one thing: a total badass. And not just a total badass, but one that is as menacing and evil as he is good. The guy can play the film’s baddest bad guy, or he can play a big ol’ softie, or a hero that can f*ck shit up without blinking an eye. Attribute it to his stone-cold demeanor, his giant Sombreroed tattoo on his chest, or that scowling mug that he rocks so well. Either way, he may be one of Hollywood’s biggest badasses to break from random henchmen roles to headlining projects of his own. Awesome.
A guy like Trejo has about a billion movies under his belt that most people haven’t seen or heard of… yet, he’s likely not the star in any of those. So what about those flicks he actually headlines? There’s a fine little number called RECOIL that people should check out, as it’s an entertaining little action flick co-starring the great Stone Cold Steve Austin. The two are rivalries, and of course, Trejo is the more villainous of the two, leader of a diabolical motorcycle gang. It’s a decent little flick that’s better than any one will ever give it credit for, thus making it worth a watch.
A guy like Trejo never has a lack of work. Some of the stuff he has coming out later this year (on both video and in theaters) include THE CLOTH, THE INSOMNIAC, ZOMBIE HUNTER, THE PREY, REDEMPTION: DARKNESS DESCENDING, TARANTULA, and…. MACHETE KILLS! That’s right, Rodriguez is bringing back the Machete character again (as promised), this time to f*ck up the likes of Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Sofia Vergera, Jessica Alba, and Michelle Rodriguez. Considering Trejo was born for the role of Machete should make just about everyone excited for this little number. And it’s in theaters, too!
When one thinks of the badaddest motor scooter in the room, I should think the face that appears in their minds’ eye is Danny Trejo. He’s a bonafide badass that has worked his way up from great henchmen roles in MARKED FOR DEATH to headlining full-blown action extravaganzas like MACHETE and MACHETE KILLS. His repertoire includes over 250 roles in movies and TV, bringing that extra something to just about everything he touches. I didn’t even mention the fact that he’s been in two of TVs biggest running shows right now: SONS OF ANARCHY and BREAKING BAD. That alone makes him awesome, then you add in all of his other great and memorable work, and you wind up with a living legend rockin’ one of the biggest chest tattoos out of anyone else working in Hollywood today. The dude is just about as badass as his characters… and that’s flippin’ awesome.