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#12. Machete - Review

Machete Poster 2010

To say I was excited for this film is somewhat of an understatement. It is more appropriate to define my need to witness Danny Trejo wielding twin machetes as lust. My cinematic urges surfaced in 2007, when Machete was just a hoax, a faux-trailer played between the two Grindhouse features.  Out of all the fake trailers shown connecting Planet Terror and Death Proof, Machete was the only one I desperately needed to see manifested into reality. So when I heard the news director Robert Rodriguez was going to do just that, my elation quickly turned into anxiety. Can Rodriguez transform a two-minute trailer into an interesting, competent film?Machete Poster 2010

Thankfully, the answer is mostly yes. This film is very good, although it’s not great. The action is brutal, the women are gorgeous (and near naked throughout the entire film), and the acting is more than serviceable. What doesn’t work for me is Machete himself. Danny Trejo is the quintessential character actor, having made a living the last 15 years playing badass Mexican mother fu@&ers, but I am not so sure he can carry a film on his own. His abilities are fine, and I think he did a great job making such a wild character like Machete believable. What bothered me was Trejo’s lack of influence on the film. Machete is about as one-sided as a protagonist can get, and I think Rodriguez could see it, so the director overcompensated with his other performers. Trejo couldn’t compete with the likes of Jeff Fahey, Don Johnson, Robert DeNiro or even Michelle Rodriguez. If there wasn’t a blade in his hand, Trejo seemed to be left in the cold by these other actors. Which is curious, because Trejo has always been such a scene-stealer in the past. Again, I am not saying he did a bad job, I just think he got a little outgunned by his co-stars and did not have enough support from his writer/director Rodriguez.

Machete Poster 2010If it helps, even the busty senorita tattooed on his massive chest has more acting skill than Lindsey Lohan and Jessica Alba combined. They are obviously two children desperately trying to play with the adults, and even in a B-movie extravaganza like Machete these actresses come off as complete jokes. At least Rodriguez had the inclination to keep Lohan completely naked through the majority of her screen time, which helped distract me from her performance enough to not laugh hysterically at her incompetence. She is hot though.Machete Poster w/ Lindsey Lohan

I don’t want anyone to think I didn’t absolutely love this film. It is a film made for my adoration of sleazy cinema. Rodriguez is having so much fun it is palpable. In fact, I am pretty sure everyone is having an absolute blast being a part of Machete. The titular machetes are a force of devastation. Trejo wields them not unlike Thor flourishes his mighty hammer, unleashing swift and perfect justice on any and all enemies. His blade brings with it an invincible, unstoppable power that only the scarred Mexican can employ. Like so many superheroes before him, Machete did not have a choice in his fate. Instead his fate was set long before the events of the film. He was born with blades in hand; ready to kill for truth, justice, and the Mexican way. 

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