Machete Kills – Spoiler Review
Written by Gabriel “Big Gabe” Alcantara of Stuffed Burrito Entertainment
Warning: The word “ridiculous” will be used a lot in this review
This will be a spoiler review, but then, you already know that if you clicked on the title of this post. However, if by chance you just want to know my initial thoughts on the film and whether you should see it or not, let me just say no…. and HELL YES!!! No, if you are not a fan of cheesy, low budget, off-the-wall, batshit crazy exploitation flicks and hell yes if you are a fan of that stuff and are opened to just how fucking ridiculous a film can get. Even if you sorta liked the first film, you may want to skip this one because this sequel makes 2010’s Machete look subtle.
And to think, I thought Sofia Vergara’s machine gun chi-chi’s were going to be the most ridiculous thing about this movie.
Aye, Robert Rodriguez, you crazy bastard! And see, that’s what I like about the man, he does whatever the fuck he wants to do. Now sometimes, that can be a bad play for a director, example being the dipshit known as Uwe Boll. But unlike that talentless hack, Rodriguez knows how to manage a budget, makes his films quickly and efficiently, depending on what type of film he wants to make, and he usually knows his audience and he caters to our senseless and ridiculous needs. And yet, he can manage to catch us off guard in the process. Me being a fan of grindhouse films, exploitation flicks and B rated actioners, I thought I knew exactly what I was getting into with Machete Kills. Turns out, I had no idea.
Now if you’re continuing this review, you’ve either seen the film or don’t give a shit about spoilers but to those who have seen and already know about the events of the film, understand I am writing this review as a form of recapping my experience and feelings while watching Machete Kills in hopes that you may relate or further form your own opinion. And to those who don’t care about spoilers and just want to read a silly review of me rambling on various events of the film, please, continue reading.
In true grindhouse fashion, the beginning of this film has a coming attraction trailer to what looks to be a sequel to this film. It is called Machete Kills Again… In Space. It is the most ridiculous but hilarious thing I’ve ever seen attached to a film. It has Danny Trejo in an astronaut suit, laser gunfights, lightsaber duels, a funny jab at Justin Bieber’s expense with him as a doomed robot, a silly Man in the Iron Mask reference, Michelle Rodriguez flying through space and all sorts of silly shit. I saw the film with my dad and he laughs and says to me “I may have to skip that one”. I tell him “It’s just a joke, they’re not going to do that”. At least I hoped it was a joke. We’ll get to that later.
So then the actual film starts and we see Machete, played once again by Danny Trejo, the most handsome man in Show Business and Santana Rivera, played by Jessica Alba who briefly reprises her role from the first film. The two lovers team up to stop the U.S. Military from selling weapons to the Mexican drug cartel. Things go haywire and a mysterious army wipes out both the small squad of U.S. Soldiers and the army of drug enforcers. Santana is killed by a man wearing a luchador mask (Pssst, it’s Mel Gibson). Now if you had told me that Jessica Alba’s character was going to die in the sequel back in 2010, I would of given a shit but since Ms. Alba isn’t that great of an actress and not as sexy as she once was, I just shrugged her death off as a big “meh”. I knew she was going to die anyway. She was in the trailer for a split second and absent from all of the posters. Anyway, the point of me mentioning this scene is to simply say that with it’s ridiculous opening action sequence, the tone of the film was made very clear… things were going to get messy and far more insane than the first film.
I’m not going to recap everything, that would be redundant. I’m certainly not going to go in-depth in the plot because, uh… what plot was there? Machete has to stop a man from destroying Washington DC with a nuke. That’s it and that’s the only thing that makes any kind of sense in this film. Machete Kills is a mess but it’s meant to be and I, for one, loved it and had a ball with its insanity. I could never recommend this to the average person. This is for people who are in on this joke, the joke being this is a homage to 70’s exploration flicks. It is not a straight-forward film. Duh!
However, there were things that became a little too much for even me to bare. I loved the violence, the chaos, the whackyness, the spirit of the whole thing, the bloody imagery and all the hot mamacitas in this flick. If there’s one thing Robert Rodriguez knows how to do, it’s pick some sexy ladies to be in his films. I bet he just hopes he’s not related to any of them. The two highlights for me being Sofia Vergara as a violent dominatrix who runs a whorehouse in Mexico and wears a machine gun bra, then there’s the sexy-as-hell Michelle Rodriguez, reprising her role as Luz aka Shé. I don’t give a shit if Rodriguez is bi-sexual, as long as she’s into men in some way, there’s hope and I looooove that woman. Plus she’s such a bad ass. Sadly, the same can’t be said about Hollywood’s sexiest lesbian, Amber Heard. She is stunning as Machete’s fellow agent and handler, Miss San Antonio… and there ain’t a damn thing any guy can do about it… except Machete. Then there’s Alexa Vega as a sexy assassin who works for Vergara’s character. She let’s it all hang out. Well, I, um… will never be able to watch Spy Kids the same way ever again. Even Lady Gaga was nice to look at. More on her “character” in a minute.
Now, look, I’m not trying to sound like a sexist asshole, all the ladies do their thang. They all kick ass and go beyond just looking like sex objects. Okay, not really but no one in this films has much range, let’s be honest. Everyone is just amusing to watch. Damian Bichir was a joy to watch as Mendez, a man with split personalities who’s either a drug lord, a secret agent or just insane. Charlie Sheen uses his birth name Carlos Estevez and plays U.S. President Rathcock… What a name, haha! He was a hoot to watch. Then, of course, there’s the man of the hour, Mel Gibson as Luthor Voz, the man behind the nuke aimed at Washington. You could tell he was having a blast playing the bad guy but at the same time, he said his lines with such conviction, reminding us that he’s still a force to be reckoned with as an actor. And hey, let’s not leave out the main man, Danny Trejo, who at 5′ 6” and the age of 69, can still handle his shit as an ass kickin’, mo fo’. I love this dude and hearing that he’s a gracious and hardworking man in real life, I couldn’t be happier in supporting this character. The most fascinating and ridiculous character is the assassin known as El Camaleón, played by Walton Goggins, then Cuba Gooding Jr., then Lady Gaga and finally by Antonio Banderas. How ridiculous is it that a character would change into different shapes, colors, sexes and ethnicities to hide his identity? By the time he changed into Lady Gaga, I was just laughing and shaking my head in amazement.
Matter of fact, I was shaking my head and laughing through out most of this film, simply because it’s sooo, you guessed it, ridiculous. But hey, it’s meant to be. I mean, when you see a man grapple onto a helicopter blade and spin at deadly speeds just to decapitate the men surrounding him, you pretty much know, this is not a serious film. Problem is, if you walk into this film blindly, not knowing what it represents, then yeah, you’ll be like “what the fuck?!” and I’m sure that’s how most people reacted to it. I did get a kick out of the laser gun that could turn people inside out. That’s a vicious way to die, sheesh.
The final act though, even had me going “what the fuck?!”. This turns into a full blown sci-fi cheese fest out of nowhere. Imagine how shocked I was when I found out that the trailer that appeared in the beginning of the film was actually going to be the sequel. Voz’s plan is a straight up knock-off of the villain’s plan in the James Bond film Moonranker. The fact that Rodriguez is taking this series to a whole new level of insanity is kind of scary. I mean, I’m not even sure if I’m prepared to handle Machete in Space. I’ll still see it though, hehe.
I will say it was kind of a waste to bring back Tom Savini as Osiris, the assassin who killed Machete’s priest brother in the first film and put him as a priest trying to redeem himself, only to have him die right away. However, if there’s one moment I cherished in the final act, it’s the lovely fight between Michele Rodriguez and Amber Heard. Smiley face!
Machete Kills is nuts. I couldn’t believe how crazy this film was and the fact that I had my father sitting right next to me in the theatre. He at least laughed at the film and had a good time. Even stranger, was seeing the amount of older people in the theatre who clearly didn’t know what they bargained for. Although I did enjoy this sequel, I do wish it was more like the first. The first film was a lot more grounded and clever. Machete Kills is, in fact, a dumb fucking movie but most grindhouse films are and being a fan of those films, I can except how, one more time, ridiculous this flick is. I don’t know if Machete Kills Again… In Space is going to work though. That might be a little too much, even for me. However, with this film already tanking at the box office, we may never see it happen. Then again, like I said before, Robert Rodriguez does whatever he wants. I believe he is crazy enough to go through with it by any means necessary.
I am giving Machete Kills a ridiculous (sorry, I had to say it one more time) a 3.5 outta 5