Saturday 12 March 2011

Today's Review: Machete

Back in 2007, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez released Grindhouse, a double feature in the vein of the 70s horror/exploitation movies that they both grew up watching. Tarantino's Death Proof, I must admit, I haven't seen yet, as i'm clearly a cretin. But Rodriguez's contribution, Planet Terror, was all kinds of awesome. Gore, explosions and a chick with an assault rifle for a leg. Oh yes. Anyways, in between the features were a few fake trailers for other Grindhouse style films. One of them was made by Rodriguez, and was entitled Machete. 3 years later, Rodriguez released the full length version of it. It too, is all kinds of awesome.

It might be hard to see how a movie that started out as a joke trailer could be that great, but the trailer itself set up quite a complex plot. The titular Machete, played by Danny Trejo, is an ex-federale who was double crossed in his Mexican hometown. Several years later, he's a down and out immigrant worker in Texas, until he's hired to kill a US senator for $150,000 by a mysterious man. Turns out the whole thing's a set up though, and the senator's attempted assassination by a Mexican will help him get elected so he can send all the immigrants out of the country. So Machete takes it upon himself to wreak vengeance on everyone who has crossed him. Mostly with machetes, 'cause that's his name.

The movie starts with a slice-happy action scene, complete with triple decapitation, but soon after delves into the plot development stage. I was a bit tired at the time, so I thought I might not make it through, but then Machete ripped out someone's intestine and used it to jump out of a window and swing down to the next, so my faith was quickly restored. There are plenty of ridiculous, over the top action stunts, and weapons are improvised almost as much as in Dead Rising. The action rarely lets up, only to set up the next double cross or twist in the plot. The amount of characters introduced is plentiful, and they all intersect each other at several points in the story, seeking vengeance or dispatching their own brand of justice. Still, it never gets too complex, and the whole thing really keeps your attention.

Clich├ęs and one liners are everywhere. Sexy nurses and makeout scenes are spliced in just for the hell of it, but while this is normally considered a bad thing, it's great in Machete because it's a parody of every movie like that. Despite this, you still get drawn into believing this is a viable stand alone movie, but you can laugh out loud when something ridiculous happens.

The only minor quibble I had with Machete is that what while it started out with the picture being grainy like a traditional Grindhouse picture, this quickly disappeared. I can see how black bits jumping all over the screen could be annoying, but it lent an authenticity to the experience, and I quickly noticed the style had changed. But I just as soon forgot about it when the story got going, and that awesome action scenes started. At this point I was glad I could see it in all its HD glory, and no, not just because you get to see Lindsay Lohan's nipples. You get to see a load of explosions and gore as well. *Ahem*, well, now the fun of Machete is over, it's only a short wait until Hobo With A Shotgun comes out. With a name like that, you can't go wrong.

My rating:

That's still not as many machetes as Machete has.

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