From fake trailer to real action movie; Machete is a project that has the joy of the makers dripping off the screen. Obviously a pet project for Robert Rodriguez and Danny Trejo whose character Machete has been part in the Rodriguez universe for quite some time now and was one of the most memorable aspects of Desperado, next to Salma Hayek of course.
Now Machete (and Trejo) has his own movie surrounding his character and it’s probably as good as anybody could ask for who saw the original trailer… even better I guess as the cast, next to Jeff Fahey and Cheech Marin, has been expanded with names like Steven Seagal (in his first bad guy role), Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Don Johnson, Lindsay Lohan and someone named Robert DeNiro. Movie season has been very good to anyone who likes these kinds of all-star casts with The Expendables released earlier this summer. But even with a great cast you can have shitty movie, luckily that doesn’t go for Machete.
Though there are some points of criticism to be made about the movie.
In the end, whether you can call it an homage or not, this movie is an exploitation film to its core and as such it will probably attract a certain audience and is of course not to everyone’s taste. before the opening credits roll multiple people have been sliced into pieces and female nudity gratuitously came along resulting in a scene in which a mobile phone is hidden in and taken out of a vagina. Just something you should go and watch with your first date.
There is a lot of nudity, and a lot of extreme violence. Something I personally don’t mind but enough people do.
I thought the plot was also a bit uneven and at points felt forced. Probably because Rodriguez saw himself obliged to use as much if not all the footage from the original fake trailer in the end result that originally never should have been.
As with the Expendables the use of such a large cast gives a lot of people little to do for most of the time. Seagal himself has only a handful of scenes mostly of him communicating with a webcam. Seagal is actually one of the four main bad guys. That is a lot. While a nice role for Don Johnson his character Von could have easily been excluded from the movie. The same goes for Lindsay Lohan and here movie-mother but someone has to spice it all up with some nude scenes. Even Jessica Alba has one, though we really don’t see much.
Because of all these characters the plot is much more complicated than that of a usual exploitation movie though movies like Coffy also operated on multiple levels.
Oh and some of the acting is a bit lousy. Seagal makes fun of himself and seems to have a good time but still can’t act. Alba is bland and the delivery of her lines feels forced.
But despite all that the movie is simply a blast. Over the top and fun to watch. there is a lot of humor and nods to exploitation movies. There are great one-liners and the terrible acting by some of the cast is made up by people like Cheech Marin and Jeff Fahey knowing exactly in what movie they’re in and giving a performance best suited to the material. Danny Trejo is OK, and better than one would expect of someone of his caliber; known for mostly bit-part tough guy roles with no more than three lines in a movie.
Machete is simply a great movie for those who enjoy these kinds of movies. If you like recent throwback homages to exploitation movies like they were made in the 70s (Planet Terror, Black Dynamite) or even original exploitation movies than Machete is pure gold. Even to people who are not familiar with that genre there is enough in Machete to serve a larger crowd as long as they can stomach the bloodshed and nudity.
Machete has been made with love and because of that it is hard to be hard on such a fun movie.