Action Movie Fanatix Review: Machete

They Just Messed With The Wrong Mexican.

Starring: Danny TrejoSteven Seagal, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert De Niro, Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin, Lindsay Lohan, Tom Savini, Don Johnson

Director: Robert Rodriguez & Ethan Maniquis

2010  |  105 Minutes  |  Rated R

“God has mercy.  I don’t.” – Padre Benito Del Toro

Robert Rodriguez has said that Machete is a Mexican James Bond and that he had been wanting to create this franchise for Danny Trejo for years but just didn’t have time.  It’s really too bad because Machete is a fun ride from beginning to end.

Machete (Danny Trejo) is an former Mexican federale whose wife and daughter were killed by Torrez (Steven Seagal) in a double cross by his captain.  Now in theU.S., Machete is paid $150,000 by Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey) to assassinate Texas State Senator John McLaughlin (Robert De Niro).  Machete is again double crossed and is now hunted by the police for the attempted assassination of McLaughlin while at the same time trying to get payback on those that have crossed him.  Machete meets Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), the leader of The Network (an underground organization to help illegal Mexican immigrants), and Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba), an ICE agent.  Both help Machete plot his ultimate revenge.

Machete is pure exploitation (Mexploitation maybe).  No questions asked.  It is based on the fake trailer that was shown with the Grindhouse double feature of Planet Terror and Death Proof.  Even though I liked the concept of the Grindhouse films, I didn’t really care for either one.  Machete is 100 times better than both previous Grindhouse features.  It takes the idea of doing a modern exploitation film and does it to perfection.

Of course, being an exploitation throwback, the violence is here in spades (or should I say machetes).  It is all way over the top and awesome.  One scene shows Machete slice open a guys gut, pull out his intestines and then use them to rappel down to a lower level of the building.  I cheered!

The acting is all fine.  No oscar winning performances (like we would expect that) but it isn’t intentionally bad like Planet Terror.  As ridiculous as the script is the actors treat it with a serious tone.

If Machete is the Mexican James Bond, as Rodriguez suggests, then he enlists the Mexican G.I. Joes for his final fight.  It is basically a bunch of Mexicans driving bouncing lowriders armed with machine guns and rocket launchers.  Machete rolls into this final battle with a newly crafted 3-foot machete as his primary weapon.

The only thing that I didn’t care for was the slight political overtones.  The message is actually pretty black and white in favor of illegal immigrant rights but I say slight because the over-the-top nature of the entire film means that very few will actually take it’s message seriously.

How an action fan could not enjoy Machete, I don’t know.  It is down right bloody fun all the way through.  I guess if someone is offended by swearing, nudity, blood, violence or racial stereotypes I could understand but not me.