Born from a trailer in the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse project – Planet Terror and Death Proof – Machete is the story of a tough-as-old-boots Mexican Federale who seeks vengeance against those who wronged him.
Danny Trejo plays the eponymous Machete, bringing with him the swagger and presence that has been the hallmark of his recent film career. With a cast that includes Stephen Segal and Robert De Niro, it’s certainly a scene chewing affair of silliness, but it’s clear this was never meant to be taken seriously.
There’s certainly much to be said about the over-the-top, macho appeal of this film for a modern audience. The female characters – Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan and Michelle Rodriguez – are strong but sexy types, there’s no messing around where they’re concerned. Even Machete himself isn’t to being too masculine, he can care, even when he’s breaking bones.
“Ship em all back, but make them build a wall along the border”
Robert Rodriguez and Ethan Maniquis direct a film that is overloaded with the weight of its own seriousness amongst the action – it’s aping the action films of the 1980s (particularly those that found their way straight to video) where ridiculous dialogue was delivered with almost Shakespearean intensity and meaning could be found in the lingering, pointless shots of everyday objects, but it was really all about the action scenes, violence and one-liners. Maniquis has Robert and Alvaro Rodgiguez to thank for this tour de force script.
“If he hadn’t been shot before, he’d be dead now”
Power mad bad guys, heroes with a heart and damaged women who yearn to be saved, Machete manages to bring together a much worn Hollywood formula and make it entertaining. De Niro as a power mad politician intent on removing the “Mexican threat”, seems oddly pertinent in the America of 2017.
Over blown, over the top nonsense, Machete still excels at being what it is, a macho action film that revels in its old fashioned attitudes and underlying message that power corrupts, “there’s the law and there’s what’s right.”