Friday, September 10, 2010

Machete: A Robert Rodriguez joint

Robert Rodriguez has always made "fun" movies. Watching them, you feel like a little kid again even though there may be a decapitation or two. His movies aren't childish, so much as they are filled with so much energy and passion that you can't help but to smile and go for the ride. This is probably why his foray into kids films (Spy Kids) worked out pretty well. Machete is definitely of the same ilk, but this time there's an actual message under the gore. Don't worry though, this isn't a Gus Van Sant film. This is still the gratuitous, obscene, ridiculous Robert Rodriguez you've grown to love. He just has a little more to say.
Machete (Danny Trejo) is an ex federale who went rogue after a drug kingpin Torrez (Steven beheaded his wife and murdered his daughter. Three years later he is hired by Micheal Benz (Jeff Fahey...WOWIE!) to assassinate a US Senator played by Robert DeNiro (Doing a hilarious DUBBYA impression) who wants to put an electrified fence across the US / Mexico border to keep the "creatures, vermin" out of the country. Turns out, Machete was set up to be a Mexican scapegoat assassin and Benz is actually working with the Senator as well as a tough as nails border guard played by Don Johnson (triple wow!!!).
After a few dozen be-headings, he recruits help from his brother, Padre Benito Del Toro (Cheech Marin..Amazing.), Luz (Michelle Rodriguez) and Immigration agent Sartana, played by Jessica Alba to take down the chain of bad guys one by one.
Danny Trejo is quite good as Machete. He doesn't have too much to say, which might be a good thing, but when he does he delivers some whoppers like "Machete don't text." For a film that is so ludicrous, it really does wrap itself up nicely and always finishes what it started. I've heard some say it may be too long. I disagree. I think it's just right and the pace is pretty consistent throughout, which can be uncommon for Rodriguez films.
I call Machete a Mexican Spike Lee movie. Within the sort of heavy handed portrayal of US / Mexico border relations, Rodriguez manages to also poke fun at the issue as well. For example, one immigrant telling another something to the effect of "...I'm already in America. I don't care if they make the fence" It's that Spike Lee style of having your message be heard loud and clear, but also telling the other side of it too that makes it that much more poignant and relevant.

Machete is out now in wide release. Try to see it in a crowded theatre or group of friends. Alcohol is optional...

Score: 0 (out of -10)
redeemable: Yes, very. It has brains. Literally and figuratively.

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