The San Francisco Chronicle published a review of Machetein which the author criticized it for"capitalizing on exploitative B flicks," which so perfectly sums up theover-arching goal of the movie that I figure I may as well start with it. Tocriticize a movie like Machete forachieving its goal, simply because such exploitative movies aren't your thing,strikes me as more than a little childish, but no matter.
Those of us whoapproach the movie with the understanding that it's written and directed by Grindhouse and Planet Terror creator Robert Rodriguez will surely understand howfoolish it would be to badmouth the movie for, say, going a little overboard.
In fact, it should be noted that Machete is a feature-length production of the fake trailerthat Rodriguez made, with all of the same starring cast, for his 2007 film Grindhouse, although the character is based on Trejo's knife-throwingthug from Desperado, which is myall-time favorite of Rodriguez's movies.
Machete is a knife-weilding ex-Federale with the face of aman not to be messed with, which is an area of concern after he's forced towatch the murder of his wife. Three years later, while working as a day-laborer, he's hired to assassinate a Senator only to beset up and double-crossed, and ultimately sets out to Clear His Name and exacthis revenge.
And such is the basic skeleton of the story, which actuallyinvolves such an impressive array of different storylines that it's difficultto keep them all straight. Robert DeNiro is a Texan senator with a thicksouthern drawl, Cheech Marin is a priest (of all things) now living with a vowof non-violence, Michelle Rodriguez is an activist/taco stand owner, StevenSeagal is a Mexican drug lord (of all things), and Don Johnson is an Americanvigilante who loves killing Mexicans.
And this is to say nothing of the rest of the extended listof stunt-casting, which includes Rose McGowan, Jessica Alba, Tom Savini, TimRoth, Sacha Baron Cohen, and none other than our own beloved Lindsay Lohan, whoplays a promiscuous drug-addict (of all things!).
If it sounds like I'm indifferently glossing over the plot,it's because the story isn't the most important thing in a movie like this.Describing the intricate details of a movie like Machete would be kind of like having a conversation aboutwhat kind of wood a sledge hammer is made of. Who cares what kind of wood it'smade of? The thing can do some serious damage, and so can Machete.
As has become his custom, Robert Rodriguez has crafted amovie that seems more like something that he makes to satisfy his own morbidimagination rather than something that would appeal to a wide audience, whichis why the thing is so good. Even if you hated the movie, don't even tryconvincing anyone that you didn't know it would be as violent and exploitativeas it was. That's like watching porn and then getting all offended about thenudity. You know exactly what to expect just by looking at the movie's poster,and in the case of a movie like Machete,that's definitely a good thing.
There's also no need for me to explain that Rodriguez makestime for plenty of railing against the whole immigration fiasco taking placebetween the U.S. and Mexico, making it one of the centerpieces that drives theaction and violence, but no matter how self-indulgent the movie may seem, ittakes all of Rodriguez's and Tarantino's and our favorite ingredients ofexploitation and serves them up in a huge, loud, explosive burrito of death.Don't miss it!
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