‘Machete’ Review

Published 3 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 6:44 am,

machete review Machete Review
Screen Rant’s Vic Holtreman reviews Machete

Ever since the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double feature Grindhouse was released back in 2007, fans have been clamoring for a full movie version of one of the fake trailers that appeared with two films. That trailer was for a movie called Machete, starring Danny Trejo – an exploitation-style film in the genre of those from the early 1970s. It had guns, bloody violence, betrayal, and naked women – all shot in a grainy, film-scratched style.

Since this was a project that has been brewing in director Rodriguez’ mind for a very long time (dating earlier than the 2007 trailer), the fan-based push nudged him to create the feature length version of the trailer. Now depending on your point of view, the timing for the release of this film is either very bad or very good. With the illegal immigration debate raging hot and heavy right now, this film will probably benefit from its controversy and outrageousness.

If you’re into this sort of thing, the movie opens rather promisingly. We’re introduced to Machete (Danny Trejo) and his partner – they’re “Federales” in Mexico, fighting the good fight against the local drug kingpin Torrez (Steven Seagal – yes, THAT Steven Seagal). Just as things seem to be going well for Machete, they take a turn for the worse – as bad as you can get if you’re a family man.

Everything about the above scenes screams cheesy, found-footage exploitation flick: The camera angles, color saturation, film scratches, decapitations, blood, naked woman, you name it. At this point I figured we were in for a real retro-treat.

Early scene spoiler alert

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However from there we cut to a scene with a number of Mexicans crossing the border illegally that is incredibly outrageous (not in a good way) and brutal. A man and his very pregnant wife are stopped by a group of vigilantes in uniform (led by Don Johnson) and the senator. The senator guns down the pregnant woman in cold blood, then turns to her husband, says “Welcome to America” and shoots him dead.

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End spoiler

Depending on your point of view you’ll either be outraged at the thinly veiled implications; you may shake your head “knowingly” imagining this is the way things are at the border; or you’ll say “Dude, whatever, it’s just a freaking movie.” Me? I was outraged – but it turns out that this film is so stupidly ridiculous that it really doesn’t make sense to get angry at it.

So cut to three years later and Machete is a day laborer in Austin, Texas. He hangs around looking for work near a food truck run by Luz (Michelle Rodriguez). Soon he’s picked up by a slick businessman type (a man named Booth, played by Jeff Fahey) who hires him (reluctantly) to assassinate a state senator (Robert DeNiro) who’s anti-illegal-immigration stance will be “bad for business.”

Machete ends up being the pawn in a plot to actually ensure that the senator is re-elected and he’s on the run – but of course he vows to get revenge.

From here the film consists of Machete trying to stay one step ahead of the goons who are coming after him. Along the way he’s helped by Luz, and eventually by Sartana (Jessica Alba), an immigration enforcement agent who has a change of heart by the end of the film – and in the end (of course) those terrible, evil oppressors get their due.

Where does Machete deliver? LOTS of bloody violence, mainly the result of limbs and heads being severed by our intrepid anti-hero. And faithful to those old 70s flicks, they don’t skimp on the female nudity, including a topless Lindsay Lohan (who essentially plays herself in the film – a wealthy, directionless, drug-addicted internet celebrity) and a quick scene with a nude Jessica Alba (shot creatively, so the naughty bits are out of site). Danny Trejo looks like a guy who you just wouldn’t want to mess with in real life, and I liked Jeff Fahey’s dead serious performance.

I got a kick out of seeing Steven Seagal, but what an odd casting choice for a Mexican drug lord… he’s not moving too fast these days, but we do see him engage in a bit of swordplay with Trejo at the end of the film. In opposition to Fahey, Seagal cheeses it up big time, mainly delivering the word “pandejo” throughout the film.

What didn’t work? Well political considerations aside – there was way too much space between the action scenes. If you can believe it, there wasn’t enough violence for this sort of movie. This isn’t a film carried by story or acting, trust me (not that you’re expecting it). It was disappointing when after the opening scenes they switched to standard cinematography instead of continuing the “grindhouse” film effects and shots throughout the entire film. The movie went on too long – after a while, considering the sort of film it is, one begins to lose interest because the in-between stuff is just plain boring. In a movie like this you’ve got to keep the action/craziness coming fast, furious and continuous. It would have been more effective had they tightened it up and cut it down to below 90 minutes.

So, populated with extreme two-dimensional stereotypes of Right-wingers who are against illegal immigration, will this film be controversial? Sure. Will it make people angry? Probably. But when you’ve got a film where a man escapes a hospital by gutting an attacker and swinging on his intestines like a rope, or lines like “I sell tacos to workers of the world. It fills their bellies with something besides hate” – how seriously can you take its political message (such as it is)?

In the end, you can probably save yourself an hour and 45 minutes and 7 bucks and just watch the NSFW trailer below, because you’re not really getting too much more than that out of the entire film.

You can see the original (very NSFW) trailer here:

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Our Rating:

2.5 out of 5
(Fairly Good)

TAGS: 2 star movies, machete

185 Comments

Post a Comment

  1. You should only listen to Prison Planet if you want to hear BS, but I already know where this will be going, and I’m gonna respect Vic’s commenting rules. I’m sorry for even bringing it up.

  2. 790
    Lol! Hahahaha! I dont know why thats funny…..lmao.

  3. Just curious Matt, where do get your news from?

  4. Gratuitous violence…..what’s not to like! Yes yes!!! loved it!

  5. @ Vic

    This question isnt related to Machete but to Danny Trejo’s Character in Predators. I saw a picture of his character with two girls in bikinis by his side with a Predator walkin outta a swimming pool, Is that a deleted scene or somthing else?

    • WallyWest,

      Sorry, bud, no idea.

      Vic

  6. @ Vic

    This question too isnt related to Machete but to Predators. I know RR mentioned & the director intended that their film Predators ignores the AVP films, but i forget what internet site i read awhile ago that says that the AVP films can still be considered as excisting in the same universe etc. because like them, Predator 2 wasn’t referanced in Predators and Predators is indeed to follow both Predator & Predator 2 for sure. Someone mentioned the AVP films were kinda sequels but more intended to be crossover films for both franchises and that it made sense due to the plot of events of Predators could of taken place sometime after AVP-R. Reason for humans being takin off Earth to not only hunt on their own turf but so none of their technogy ended up in human hands again while keeping low profile. Id send a link if i could find it again, still tryin.

    BTW Went to see Machete again, and i looked real hard at the scen of lindsay lohan nude scene, she is in the film, but its when he and her mother wake up and you have to really pay attention. Perhaps when it hits dvd people can slow play it or pause it just right. But its there, but a body double was still used in the pool scene. Thought i should let people know that.

    • one gripe I have with all the AVP reviews and comments and whinning,
      Is the first one(second was blah) was fairly faithful to the game.
      The first AVP game is really scary in places, I burnt the Alien soundtrack to CD and tried playing with the lights off, lasted about half an hour!

      My point is the first AVP move is supposed to be like the first AVP game.

      The second AVP game is nothing like the second AVP movie, thank freak!

  7. Very nice job on the review! The movie is supposed to be about Machete getting revenge but quickly becomes an open borders movie. I am a white and I try to be fair and honest about the immigration issue but this movie offended me with the constant attack on whites. Make the same movie about the minutemen getting revenge on illegals and then it will not be dismissed as being only a movie. I think that Black Dynamite beats this movie easily. I loved From Dusk Till Down and Mariachi but this movie and Planet Terror don’t get it done for me.

    • This movie offended you with the constant attack on whites? You must be one of the most oversensitive people on the internet. I could only imagine how much crying you would do if you were an actual minority.

      • Joe,

        I was anxious to see this film because I thought it would be great but no.
        Calling me oversensitive without making any points on why you think so does not convince me. Show me one white character in this movie that was portrayed positively unless they were pro open borders. We all had to say goodbye to TV commercials with the Frito Bandito, Taco Bell dog, sports mascots like the Indians etc. are under attack by the (non-sensitive) minorities. No jokes, real conversations or teasing are allowed at work. I hear blacks constantly call each other n*gg** but just don’t let me try to use that word. If I watch a comedy show most of the comedians are women, gay or minority because a white guy can’t make fun of anybody but himself. I simply don’t like expecting to see an action film and get a lecture on how evil americans are instead. Just as I don’t want to get fooled into watching a movie that says nothing about christianity on the box only to find out it is a movie about the rapture and what is going to happen to non-believers that are left behind on earth. My take away from this movie was that all mexicans are good hard working people and that all americans are lazy and evil. And no I do not want to have to do homework watching other movies that Quentin may have based his movie on so that I can appreciate the movie that he made. Entertain me or I will watch other movies! Too bad as this movie could have been a classic. The first half was great! After that I just wanted the movie to end. You may hope for a Machete 2 but I don’t think that I would rent that at Red Box for a dollar. Just push the accept button that this movie is never going to be a classic with american citizens. I apologize that I am so sensitive and that you are not! (That last statement was Sarcasm) If you like Machete so much then buy a copy and watch it ten or twelve times for me! Enjoy! I will be watching From Dusk till Dawn or Death Proof.

      • So Joe, how long have you been in the country illegally?

  8. @BlueCollar,,, Machete is being accused of negatively portraying Texans, something which is prohibited in the laws surrounding incentives the production received.
    ^
    http://www.thewrap.com/movies/article/machetes-texas-tax-incentives-jeopardized-immigration-stance-17668
    ^
    Texas taxpayers paid for this. The irony is thick with this film. :-)

    • @790

      It should be accused of improperly potraying every character type in the film, like:

      US Politicans that shoot immigrants: Politicians have no problem stealing yoru money but they don’t have the you know what to even venture out to a US Border let alone do something like this. This includes Texas politcians who aren’t real Texans but yellow-backs.

      Innocent Hispanic Gang Members: Need I say anythin about this?

      Freedom Fighting Mexican Law Enforcement: I’m sure there are some great men & woman in Law enforcement in Mexico that havbe not yet been asssinated and or balckmailed into taking bribes by the drug king pins but they are certainly in the very few.

      Super HOt Latin Chickls in scantly clad clothes (like Micehelle Rodriguez): On a light hearted note so that this isn;t too heavy in politics, this could possibly be the worst offense possible as far as moves go :) Maybe its just me but I’m still looking to see a Michelle Rodriguez like hispanic hotty that can kick butt who is walking around in a leather bikkini top and way too tight jeans.

      • BlueCollarCritic,

        You’re getting close to the edge there, bud.

        Vic

  9. I liked that it went away from the fake scratched film.

    The film is as much inspired by Spanish language tv shown throughout Mexico and the Americas. I saw films like this on every channel for hour and hours while in South America – including the boarder war propaganda. I think it was nearly completely faithful in that regard.

    I think the slapshot against fringe right wingers (and not the Republican party or conservatism – there was no great GOP conspiracy in this movie – it was absurdly parodying extremists) was more overt and to be taken less seriously than a movie like IN THE LOOP and its portrayal of war-hawks, but there is evidence to support the existence of vigilante boarder patrols and ridiculously violent reactions to immigrants from the paid showmen on various tv and radio networks whom many people equate with actual politics and political policies. To someone like Rodriguez, that type of thing might strike a nerve.

    It didn’t make much of a movie though. I also thought it was quite boring and completely fell apart in the third act. Our review here if interested: http://www.popbunker.net/2010/09/flatline-a-machete-review-2010/

  10. …A year later and it’s hilarious that there was ever “Outrage” at all over this movie.

    Oh no, The Immigrants used this movie as a rally cry and have amassed an army… Ah……..

    :-P

  11. The Outrage was probably from people that actually work for a living.

    This film was a complete piece of crap.
    Only illegal criminal lowlives will enjoy this waste of two hours

    I’m also disappointed in the actors that were in this offensive garbage.
    They should be ashamed. Anything for money I guess.

  12. Would’ve walked out on that movie even on an airplane

  13. Awful movie!

  14. Total crap

  15. I actually dumped my boyfriend for making me sit through this.
    This is the type of movie that makes you envy the blind and the deaf

  16. People in the theater were screaming how they wanted their money back when I went to see it

  17. Crap Crappity Crap

  18. Oh my god!
    What a terrible movie!

  19. Michelle Rodriguez is a skank

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