Review: Machete Kills / Cert: 15 / Director: Robert Rodriguez / Screenplay: Kyle Ward, Robert Rodriguez / Starring: Danny Trejo, Alexa Vega, Mel Gibson / Release Date: October 11th
Make no mistake, Machete Kills certainly lives up to its name. As the film goes on, those luckless chaps working for the villains happen on new and extravagant ways to die. Deaths involving the rotor blades of helicopters seem to be a particular favourite, and our grizzly protagonist (or as one character labels him, a “people-fucker-upper”) is only too happy to provide them. For our money, the best death has to be killing some nameless bloke by using his own body as a conductor for a lethal dose of electricity (with Machete somehow not falling foul of it himself after the enemy collapses).
But naturally the $7,000 question is “how good are the writing and storytelling?” Well, we can’t say we care for the way in which some characters’ fates are telegraphed to an even worse extent than the “shows picture” guy in Black Dynamite (if you haven’t seen that, watch it as it’s very similar to Machete except it's Blaxploitation rather than Mexploitation), but the dialogue is excellent and leads to about as many laughs as the deaths do. (If you’re wondering how many that is, the answer is ‘lots’.)
As for the plot, what can we say? It’s obvious that Ward & Rodriguez wanted to get to the stuff with sci-fi and space shuttles (we can’t blame him; we’d feel the same way) but had to go by way of Mexico first (to take part in what we are branding the “Marcos Mendez Power Hour”). This is perhaps a moot point as a lot of moviegoers won’t care. They’ve got the right attitude. It’s not worth getting worked up over the excuse plot because this film knows exactly what it is. The plot doesn’t need to be great for a film like this. But that’s what anybody would expect after having seen the first one – having an excuse plot is pretty much part of the point of Machete. As a result, Machete is given a fetch-quest to go on (taking out evil revolutionary Marcos Mendez and stopping him from launching a missile at the States).
However, it’s when Machete gets back to the US that things take a turn for the very freaking bizarre. In fact, the second half of the film is basically the first half of a Moonraker remake. We’re okay with this; that film is one that needs to be remade. It’s here we’re introduced to one of the best things about the film, Mel Gibson in the role of super-evil super-scientist Luther Voz. Voz claims to be able to see into the future, which is part of the reason that he’s managed to gather so much futuristic technology. Gibson is suitably villainous while also somehow managing to be extremely lovable, getting lots of laughs. Certainly does a lot to take the edge off recent scandals!
It would be rather remiss of us not to mention the other major talents on display here. Carlos Estevez (Charlie Sheen going by his real name) shows up here as a loveable rascal of a President who sends Machete on his mission (hell, we’d vote for him). Sofia Vergara does a turn as crazed brothel madame, who employs weapons made out of things that really shouldn’t dispense bullets (such as bras, in what appears to be a fitting shout out to Austin Powers). You’ll never see strap-ons in the same way again…
Of course we can’t forget Danny Trejo as Machete himself. He embodies the myth that is Machete, morphing from a mere mortal Mexican into an unstoppable force of nature. We can’t say we entirely approve of taking his character in this direction but you’ve got to hand it to the man, he certainly plays it well. Hell, depending on how well these films do at the box office, he’s got potential as a long-term leading pensioner in a series of Machete films (and all we’re saying is that if Danny Trejo can do this, Harrison Ford can do Indy 5). We’re looking forward to many more films of Machete getting the guns, the girls (and occasionally the men) and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Bring on Machete Kills Again… In Space!
Expected Rating: 6 out of 10