At the end of Machete they promised us he would return in Machete Kills. Delivering up on that promise Robert Rodriguez now brings us the first sequel in what is supposed to be a Machete trilogy. Quite ambitious considering the whole Machete franchise was built on a fake trailer, but here I am watching Danny Trejo slicing and dicing his way through armies of Mexican and American bad guys for the second time.
Somehow Robert Rodriguez is so in love with Grindhouse movies it seems he hasn’t been making anything truly mainstream ever since he directed Planet Terror. It says on his iMDB page that he also released a 4th Spy Kids movie in 2011. Am I the only one who apparently missed that? Does anybody actually still care about the Spy Kids movies?
Th problem I have with both Machete movies, and maybe the third if it will ever see the light of day, is that they are too heavy on plot. These movies revolve around around a simple premise like “revenge” or “stop the mad man trying to blow up the world” according to the trailer but somehow Rodriguez seems to make the stories far too “complex” for his own good, even including some social commentary on US/Mexican border politics again.
Machete Kills is Rodriguez’ attempt to transform Machete into a Mexican James Bond, with double crosses, numerous women throwing themselves at him and taking on an evil business man with a plan to take over the world from a space station. Those familiar with the Bond series will immediately recognize the plot of Moonraker in this synopsis. That movie was a reaction to the sudden popularity of science fiction in the late 70’s due to the success of Star Wars, another movie Machete Kills refers to on multiple occasions. But before we get to that we have to sit through numerous scenes with cameos from a lot of famous actors, some of them who never even share a scene with Machete.
Like the original movie Rodriguez stuffs his movie with well known actors who sometimes have merely one or two scenes but are of course used heavily in advertising. Especially the character of El Camaleón serves as a way to have four actors play one role throughout the movie: Walton Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lady Gaga and Antonio Banderas all play this character and most of them have just 5 minutes of screen time. Jessica Alba is gone before the opening credits roll. Charlie Sheen, Amber Heard and Sofía Vergara pop up from time to time and both Michelle Rodriguez and Mel Gibson show up in the second half of the movie. The only character with a lot of screen time is Demian Bichir’s Mendez whose motivations I never quite truly understood. Did he put a hit out onto himself?
But there is still a lot to enjoy about Machete Kills: Trejo’s larger than life character who seems to be immune to death, sexy women in skimpy clothing, bad guys hamming it up and a lot of novelty deaths.
Somewhere in the 107 minutes of Machete Kills is a great, action packed and funny 80 minute movie. Let’s face it: movies like this need a plot that is as complex as that of a porn movie.