Robert Rodriguez has amassed a few great films over the years Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, Sin City and Planet Terror to name a few. The sequel to Machete is not in that group. Those who expect sophistication should avoid a movie that has class Z written all over it. Machete Kills is a parody, an exploitation film, which survives by nailing every single cliche and going over the top in every possible condiment an action film has to offer. Guns, babes, leather, rock and roll times ten and add ketchup a lot of ketchup. Although the style is nurtured by these tricks lets not fool ourselves Rodriguez pushes the boundaries of good and bad taste until we are finally left accepting that too bad in some cases is not a purposeful choice, it is simply too bad.
The film opens in the Arizona/Mexico border, a location we will see for the most part in a film that deals with immigration, but seems to avoid a solid social commentary. Anyhow where to draw the line is definitely not Robert Rodriguez’ forte. Machete (Danny Trejo) and Sartana (Jessica Alba) are in the middle of a weaponry deal between the US Army and Mexican gang when to no surprise a third party of superior power shows up compromising the exchange and killing Sartana in cold blood. Machete is rapidly recruited by the president of the United States (Charlie Sheen a.k.a Carlos Estevez or is it the other way around?) to stop arms dealer Marcos Mendez (Demian Bichir) evil plans and by the way seek revenge. Machete doesn’t loose time and catches up with Marcos Mendez whom suffers from a hilarious double personality disorder (a revolutionary leader and a crazy arms dealer) only to find out that he is in fact under the commands of a bigger fish, Star Wars fanatic and visionary magnate Voz (Mel Gibson) whose plans of a better future for humanity include a nuclear bomb and outer space!
Among others the illustrious cast includes Sofia Vergara, William Sadler, Lady Gaga, Vanessa Hudgens, Zoe Saldana, Antonio Banderas, Alex Vega, Amber Heard and Michelle Rodriguez. A jaw dropping list that nonetheless seems to slow down the film instead of working in its favor. There are a few good performances in Demian Bichir who pulls off the crazy schizophrenic narc, Michelle Rodriguez with her fierce and always welcomed interpretation of Luz and Amber Heard who plays femme fatale agent Miss San Antonio managing to throw in some lines in spanish like a true professional.
Machete Kills starts out strong, but slowly deflates and we are left with glimpses of what could have happened if Rodriguez developed some of the characters further or if he had for once used all the meat and flesh flying around in the film in the actual screenplay. Machete Kills is after all a movie for those Grindhouse genre diehard fans whom in many ways won’t be disappointed and may have the chance to see in a near future Danny Trejo dressed in a space suit blading his thirsty machete in space!
Machete Kills is now playing.