Rodriguez' "Machete" is a sharp and bloody satire
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Starring: Danny Trejo, Robert DeNiro, Michelle Rodriguez, Cheech Marin, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal
Acclaimed director Robert Rodriguez (Once Upon a Time In Mexico, From Dusk till Dawn, Desperado) has used his vast experience of the western gun slinging genre to create an outrageous satire about Mexico-U.S. border relations in this day and age. Those issues are hidden cleverly behind copious amounts of blood, violence, profanity and sex -- everything you would expect from an exploitation film. In particular, Mexploitation.
Films of this genre typically go overboard with their subject matter and "Machete" is no different. Danny Trejo plays "Machete", a former Fedarale now working as an illegal day-laborer in Texas. When he is pinned for an assassination attempt gone wrong, Machete uncovers a web of deceit that will lead him to face off with Mexican drug kingpin Torrez (Steven Seagal). Torrez and Machete have somewhat of a rough past, as Torrez was responsible for the death of Machete's wife and daughter. Toss in a sexy immigrations officer (Jessica Alba), a sexy Mexican revolutionist (Michelle Rodriguez) and a host of cameos, and what you have is 1 hour and 45 minutes of debaucherous amusement.
If you are looking for Oscar-worthy performances or award winning screenplay and script, you've come to the wrong place. "Machete" focuses the majority of its efforts on the exaggerated. Whether it be decapitating 4 heads at once, wild shootouts in a church or the fact that every woman in the film is just mind-blowingly beautiful, "Machete" takes every possible scenario and turns up the "improbable" dial to max volume.
But, this is what makes the film so enjoyable. The script is poor, but the entire cast does a great job in delivery. Michelle Rodriguez and Jessica Alba's character's show a genuine idolization of Machete and as improbable as that may be, you are going to love it. Throw in notable performances from Cheech Marin and Lindsay Lohan and the film just seems to be deeper than it really is on the surface. Sure it isn't much of a stretch to have Lindsay Lohan play a troubled girl with a substance abuse issue, but given the current events, the part seems fresh and relevant. Probably the most relevant she's been in the past 5 years. The same could be said for Steven Seagal as well -- his final exit in the film is a perfect symbolic ending for a career that has spanned 20 years -- even one worthy of a samurai.
"Machete" is true to genre and at the same time, does not take itself too seriously. That said, neither should you. Catch "Machete" this week at Tango Theatres.
4 out of 5 stars.