July 17, 2013

Movie Review: Machete (2010)

I learned the following things from watching Machete:
  • You can rappel out a window using the long intestine of a recently-eviscerated man...while he's still alive.
  • Lindsay Lohan can't act for shit...but her breasts are fantastic.
  • If you are ever in a sword fight, a machete trumps a samurai sword.
  • Steven Segal let himself go. A lot. The man is bloated. He almost looks like Tor Johnson. I don't know which man that comparison insults more.
  • It was no fluke that Robert Rodriguez directed the better half of Grindhouse.
This movie is what Grindhouse aspired to be like. Machete is ridiculous, bloody, over-the-top and uses a serious issue like immigration to make it even more ridiculous.

It was a fucking blast.

I am a Danny Trejo fan, so to see him get a whole film to do what he does (asskicking) was loads of fun. Wisely, Rodriguez doesn't have him talk all that much, as emoting isn't Trejo's strongest skill. But then again, he really doesn't have to talk that much. His blades and bullets tend to do that for him.

If you don't know the plot, Trejo plays an ex-Federale nicknamed Machete. After a takedown of a drug kingpin goes bad, he ends up in the US as a day laborer. He is hired to supposedly kill a Texas state senator who is demonizing illegal immigrants. But instead he is set up as a patsy. As you can likely guess, Machete doesn't do "patsy" very well. Blood and carnage ensue. Along with Lohan's breasts. And everyone learns to their discontent that they have indeed "fucked with the wrong Mexican."

The surrounding players do their parts admirably, although DeNiro as the state senator hams it up a bit too much. I wish Don Johnson's character had a little more screen time. Cheech Marin as Machete's gun-toting priest/brother was good. Michelle Rodriguez and Jessica Alba were actually good as well. But the real standout was Jeff Fahey as Booth, the senator's right-hand man.

Fahey is a good actor. I remember seeing him in his first role in Silverado. And he gets how to play Booth, which is straight for the most part with just a slight hint of crazy. Trejo is the reason to watch Machete, but Fahey's Booth is the character that makes the film work.

A special note about Segal as the drug kingpin. He can't act his way out of a paper bag, but that actually works here. His role is the one that is supposed to be ridiculous. It's too bad for Segal that there aren't more "crazy drug kingpin" roles in Hollywood. Because the man can decapitate someone with real panache.

The bottom line is this - if you like action films, fun films, "Danny Trejo kicking ass" films or films with Lohan's breasts, then Machete is right up your alley. It is that all-too-rare event these days; a fun movie-watching experience.


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