Robert Rodriguez brings a new breed of anti-hero to the big screen in this hyper-violent adaptation of the "fake" trailer originally featured in the 2007 double-feature exploitation throwback Grindhouse. Machete (Danny Trejo) is a former Mexican Federale who plays by his own rules, and doesn't answer to anybody. In the wake of a harrowing encounter with feared drug lord Torrez (Steven Seagal), Machete finds himself in Texas, where the shadowy Benz (Jeff Fahey) offers him the opportunity to make some quick cash by assassinating the unscrupulous Senator McLaughlin (Robert DeNiro). When the job goes awry and Machete realizes he's been set up, he turns to fierce taco queen Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), heavily-armed holy man Padre (Cheech Marin), and trigger-happy socialite April (Lindsay Lohan) to show Benz that he just messed with the wrong Mexican. But before they can get to Benz, Machete's gang will have to contend with blade-wielding ICE agent Sartana (Jessica Alba), who never met an adversary she couldn't flay. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Director: Robert Rodriguez, Ethan Maniquis
Cast: Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez.
Release Date: Sep 03, 2010
Rated: strong bloody violence throughout, language, some sexual content and nudity
Runtime: 1 hr. 45 min.
Robert Rodriguez’s Machete could have easily been added to Grindhouse for a full on triple feature. It feels like such an extension of that wonderfully unappreciated exercise that it makes you wish Grindhouse has been more successful so as to spawn more films from those mock trailers, prays for Edgar Wright’s Don’t!. Future prospects might be better should this one do well at the box office but that might be a difficult sell as this film is very much for a certain niche of the film viewing audience. You’ll find out if you are part of this niche within the first 10 minutes of the movie. You’ll either be gleefully grinning like some sort of demented Cheshire Cat or utterly disgusted, a nude woman pulling a cell phone out of her, um, well……nevermind. Rodriguez’s fleshed out story plays out with a strong pro-immigration sentiment throughout but with all the depth of an exploitation film from the 70’s. It’s a modern day Brown-ploitation film using trademark plot points from classic exploitation films like Shaft or Foxy Brown. The entire plot plays out with a self aware sense of self, always keeping things fun and light even if Rodriguez makes it very obvious he’s using this film to make a point. Danny Trejo, one of the legion of “that guy” actors, is stoic and cool throughout, never breaking as much as a grin or a sweat. He’s a superhero in prison tattoos, a wonderful showcase for an actor who has worked in the background for decades. Michelle Rodriguez delivers a strong and believable performance and is slowly but surely becoming a more naturalistic actress. Jessica Alba is everything you’d expect, her character never appears on screen without stilettos, here and plays up her own detached Hispanicity. Jeff Fahey, with those piercing blue eyes, is always terribly interesting to watch. Robert DeNiro, Steven Seagal, Cheech Marin and Don Johnson all ham it up to great effect, Johnson doesn’t leave as much an impression as the other two. Lindsay Lohan’s role is small and feels slightly shoehorned in. Outside of a few dead spots Machete delivers the bloody gory goods you’d expect plus a little more.