‘Machete Kills’ Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated November 9th, 2014 at 6:25 pm,

machete kills trejo rodriguez Machete Kills Review

Machete Kills is supposed to be bad, but it’s also supposed to be entertainingly dumb and loony – which is where it falls short.

Machete Kills picks up with ex-Mexican Federale Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo) and his partner/lover Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba), who are now working together by patrolling the U.S./Mexico border. The pair stumble upon a plot that involves members of the U.S. military selling a dangerous missile to a former Mexican drug cartel head-turned self-declared revolutionary, by the name of Mendez (Demian Bichir).

Machete, after suffering a tragic turn of events that almost results in his death, is then called to Washington, D.C. Once there, he is recruited by President Rathcock (Charlie Sheen, credited under his real name, Carlos Estevez) on a mission to stop Mendez, who threatens to destroy the White House with his newfound missile. Assisted by the undercover agent/beauty pageant contestant known as Miss San Antonio (Amber Heard), Machete returns to his home country in order to do what he does best: kill.

Machete Kills is the latest movie from one-man-band filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, who co-wrote the screen story for the Machete sequel (with his brother, Marcel), in addition to serving as director, cinematographer, co-editor and co-composer. That said: if you thought that the original Machete feature – based on the three-minute faux-trailer from R. Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse double-feature – was an example of what happens when a simple concept is stretched beyond its breaking point, then Machete Kills will test your patience even more.

machete kills danny trejo amber heard Machete Kills Review

Amber Heard and Danny Trejo in ‘Machete Kills’

Robert Rodriguez decided to embrace the inherent ridiculousness of the Machete universe in the sequel, which (on paper) reads as a better decision than continuing to emphasize the social/political commentary in his original “Mexploitation” film (a la the self-empowerment messages and political subversiveness of Blaxploitation). Problem is, Machete Kills isn’t smart in the way that it goes about parodying itself, nor is it really joyful in the way that it riffs on trashy cinema conventions. In short: this is easily among the silliest movies released this year, but unfortunately that doesn’t end up meaning it’s also one of the most fun.

Part of the problem is screenwriter Kyle Ward, whose script features surprisingly little in the way of cleverly violent gags, exciting action scenes, enjoyable character moments and ingenious satire/humor (note: Ward’s output here doesn’t bode well for his work on the postponed Kane & Lynch movie). The other guilty party is Rodriguez, whose shot composition and editing choices (the latter in collaboration with his sister, Rebecca Rodriguez) tend to be sloppy enough that it becomes a distraction. Not to mention, he skips on being playful with the many cheap-looking green screen backdrops and settings in the film, which begs the question as to how much the low-budget look (sometimes on a par with a Youtube video) was not intentional.

machete kills sofira vergara alexa vega movie Machete Kills Review

Alexa Vega and Sofia Vergara in ‘Machete Kills’

Similarly, a disappointingly small number of Machete Kills cast members do a good job either hamming it up or seeming like they’re having a blast in the movie. Trejo, whose age is more noticeable in this film, does his usual machismo act, but seems a bit tired in the eponymous role. The same is true to a lesser extent with Michelle Rodriguez back as Luz, while newcomers Bichir and Heard come off as trying too hard to feel like the sort of cartoonish people you’d expect to see in a schlocky B-movie (likewise, Sheen just lazily references his bad-boy public image in the film).

The standouts in Machete Kills include the La Camaleón character (played by Lady Gaga, among other actors) – who makes for a mildly amusing, if pointless, running joke – and Mel Gibson, laying on the cheese as eccentric technology manufacturer Luther Voz (who is in shockingly little of the movie) – and has fun while doing so. However, Sofia Vergara as Desdemona – the self-reliant brothel owner constantly flocked by her scantily-clad “girls” (including, former Spy Kids star Alexa Vega) – is pretty irritating, since her sole purpose is to screech and made unfunny jokes that involve weaponizing her cleavage (to word it delicately).

To sum it all up: yes, of course Machete Kills is supposed to be “bad,” but it’s also supposed to be entertainingly dumb and loony – which is where it falls short. The final movie result is harmless, yet mostly dull, rather than delightfully over the top or crass; even the promise of a more camp-tastic third Machete installment seems uninteresting by the time the second film reaches its conclusion (note: if you do choose to see the film in theaters, you might as well hang around until the credits are done rolling).

In case you’re still undecided, here is the trailer for Machete Kills (fair warning: it features pretty much every good scene that’s in the sequel):

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Machete Kills is now playing in theaters. It is 107 minutes long and Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, language and some sexual content.

Our Rating:

2 out of 5

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  1. I enjoy watching these movies much, much more than I can enjoy any of the other turgid crap action Blockbusters that get churned out such as Expendables, G.I Joe, Fast and Furious, Die until your dying a slow monotonous death borologie series… But I can understand that it’s not to everyone’s taste.

    • See, I love The Expendables because it’s like a big budget version of the 80s action movies I love so much (Commando is pretty much one of my Top 5 Of All Time alongside Robocop).

      I also liked Machete and was annoyed that I haven’t had chance to watch Machete Kills yet after promising myself I would this weekend. I might wait until sometime next year though because it might be better suited to the small screen.

      • I loved the old 80′s action films as well Commando, Robocaop, Predetor etc etc but I cant stand expendables and I just don’t know why?

    • Or someone WITH taste

  2. So dies my last remaining hope for ‘Sin City 2′. His movies since then have brought about a revisionist attitude towards his career, in all honesty. Has he lost what he once had? Did he ever actually have anything? Was ‘Sin City’ all Frank Miller? Or was it that the source material was strong enough to warrant the transition?

    Sigh. I should hope out hope that if it was either of the latter two, then the sequel will be fine. But there is no denying that RR is offering the appearance nowadays of a passionless hack…

    • I dont think he ever had it.

    • See, I could never get into Sin City (the movie, haven’t read the source material yet). It seemed a lot like the 300 and The Spirit movies, all visual style but no substance and pretty boring to watch. Haven’t finished any of those three movies, I just gave up.

      I wouldn’t blame Miller though because he’s a great writer, it could just be Rodriguez. He could be similar to Tarantino in a way, gaining success with early movies but then revealing his true lack of substance when he’s allowed to indulge his ideas.

      • Tarantino is still the s***

    • If you read the Sin City books you’ll see Robert Rodriguez did the stories word for word. Clearly that was all Frank Miller.

  3. WTF I didn’t write that?

    • No worries, it was just some troll pretending to be both you and Vic.

    • @Eddie – If it happens again, please let me know using the “Contact Us” page and I’ll look into it right away.

      Paul Young – Moderator

      • Hi Paul, I did and will do again if it happens.


  4. Cheers Sandy, what a strange life these people lead.

    • I arrived in the aftermath but I take it you found what looked
      like your post copied and pasted by someone in their post.
      Usually that “someone” is a spambot and not a person.

      • No a post came up from Vic then one from me trying to instigate some sort of an argument which neither me nor Vic had posted.

        Fair play to Paul he had it sorted quickly.

        • I see. Never saw that one before.
          Get yourself a Gravitar so whenever
          that happens it will be clear it’s not you.

          • I think it would have come up anyway as it came up exactly like I had posted it? Obviously a very bored person with far to much time on there hands.

            • A Gravatar is linked to your email address.
              So no, even if your comment is copied
              it will be clear you did not post it.

              Whoemver may duplicate a post
              or pretend to be you would be
              exposed as not you without
              the Gravatar linked to you.

              • Whomever

                • yeah

              • Vic’s came up?

                • There you go. Like that Gravatar. Good one, Ed.

                  I missed the fireworks including the pretend Vic post.
                  Not sure what happen there but now you have a bit of
                  protection of your identity should this happen to you again.

  5. Well, I can’t say I am surprised by your impressions, Sandy.
    I expect some sloppiness in a film like this and said sloppiness
    can be part of the fun but this sounds like it was slapped together.

    The Mel Gibson over the top villain was my curiosity and since
    he is barely there I see little point in making an effort to see this.
    Of course, when it shows up on television late at night that’s different.

  6. The word is entertainment and I was entertained… The movie is absurd in a good and awesome way. It is a Bondesque film that just want to make parody on it self. It just fun.

    • It was a racist one sided piece of crap and I hope Rodriguez gets deported to hell

  7. I thought this movie was awesome. The over the top nature had me laughing the whole way and was very entertaining.

    When I first saw the machete in space trailer all I could think was they wouldn’t go THAT absurd, than as the film progressed I realized they were in fact going to go that absurd and I love the idea. Sadly off the wall absurd movies tend to not garner much notice, but hopefully this one gets enough so we can actually see machete in space.

  8. Movie blew even more than the first one

  9. I never find these types of movies appealing

  10. Was Machete deported at the end?

  11. dat movie done sucked man!

  12. Alexa Vega,…
    I have noticed the lack of (A buddy who tells you when not to do something stupid) well-balanced methods with newer directors.
    Chris Nolan, Zack Snyder, Robert Rodriguez, & J.J. Abrams received great reviews when their work was relevant to the source material. Then the “You can do no wrong” mentality shows up with turds like this. If Robert Rodriguez wanted to make a Star Wars movie he should have signed up, 2 of the previously mentioned directors already have. The timing of what could be a third installment will run the same year as Abrams undoubtedly distorted version of Star Wars, psychic pun intended. Staying original is tough but this movie wasn’t even trying. That’s okay though, this is his thing, a nod to really crappy drive-in movies, in which it succeeds admirably. And please remember, friends don’t let friends make bad movies, over and over again.

  13. Everything is very open with a really clear clarification of the issues.
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