Monday, 6 September 2010


Considering the style of the film, it's kind of fitting that the one picture I took of the poster ended up being really blurry, mind you I was still laughing from getting carded buying my tickets (as it's 18A - so you know, you have to be 18 or older... to get in....)

Dir: Robert Rodriguez (Planet Terror, Sin City, Spy Kids, The Faculty, Desperado, El Mariachi) & Ethan Maniquis - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Jeff Fahey, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert De Niro, Cheech Martin, Lindsay Lohan, Steven Seagal, Don Johnson
USA, 2010

Seen: September 3, 2010

Reason to see: The faux trailer of this in Grindhouse cracked me up, I was thrilled to see it become a feature film.

What started from a faux film trailer in Grindhouse, Machete features Danny Trejo in the title role as a man with a past… and a huge machete, along with many more sharp implements to slice through anyone in his way. It’s odd that I firmly went into the film thinking of it as vengeance film, and although there are threads of vengeance there, it’s more of a straight-up good morals guy with bad luck, who happens to run into a lot of bad people. But, because technically he’s not a bad guy we can easily root for Machete every step and slice of the way when he reeks havoc.

Considering it’s an action film at heart, I was rather surprized at how polished the plot was. Machete's storyline is pretty simple but the setting, social structures, and political context around him that is very well thought out, complex and delivered very nicely. In fact, there was way more time and attention onto creating the world of political corruption and the counter balance of an underground network than I expected. I was expecting fights & explosions & knives all over the place – and we get them, but we get a lot more context and commentary between the fights.

The fights themselves are pretty amazing, and even go for different visual styles at different places in the film. Not jarringly different, I’d actually say it even feels like an evolutionary commentary throughout the film as we see the action sequences change over time. Danny Trejo is great here as Machete, he’s a total bad ass and that’s quick, swift and like the toughest magpie in the world is always drawn to anything shiny… and sharp. Michelle Rodriguez is fantastic as Luz, she’s actually got quite a varied role in here as an underground player as well as being a freaking amazing bad ass. Love her! I also loved Jeff Fahey (Frank Lapidis on “Lost”) who plays Booth in the film, he’s more of the love-to-hate guys, and does it so very well. We get a fair amount of comedy in the film, especially around Robert De Niro who plays the openly anti-immigration Senator McLaughlin, his performance totally cracked me up.

It’s over the top in the action, nudity, comedy and social commentary departments which plays well to the exploitation crowds expectations. I’ll admit that I really expected more action - even though there is lots and lots of action, but there is long spaces without any and that's when they bring the other factor for it's 18A rating - nudity. And like Piranha 3D, it throws lots of nudity our way, and most of it I could have done without. It feels like it's just a tick box along the way... like oh wait, need some totally naked women... okay, now back to the film. I know it tends to go hand in hand with exploitation style films, but I really, truly wonder if I'm the only person out there that wouldn't miss it one bit.

The film was filled with great details to give comedic moments from campaign PSA’s to creative weapons to explosions to boot. I really enjoyed the overall attention to detail, and those details were hilarious. I didn't expect a whole undercurrent of social revolution/rebellion - but it's actually one of the strongest and most interesting elements of the film, with the idea of the power of a legend, the myth, the one who you believe it. That was some pretty amazing & inspirational stuff there, which made it feel much more than just a regular smash and bam action flick.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'll watch it again
I recommend it to fans of exploitation style action films

15 minutes of preshow including 3 commercials and 6 previews: Devil, Unstoppable, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, The Green Hornet, Hobo with a Shotgun and The Town

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010

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