MACHETE

http://www.vivamachete.com/

USA 2010  Directed by: Robert Rodriguez, Ethan Maniquis  Written by: Robert Rodriguez, Alvaro Rodriguez  Produced by: Robert Rodriguez, Elizabeth Avellan, Rick Schwartz  Cinematography by: Jimmy Lindsey  Editing by: Robert Rodriguez, Rebecca Rodriguez  Music by: John Debney, Chingon  Cast: Danny Trejo, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin, Lindsey Lohan, Daryl Sabara, Tom Savini, Shea Whigham, Don Johnson, Jessica Alba, Robert De Niro

At a time of the global terrorism scare where everyone’s zeroed in on the Muslims I’m glad someone has the humor and heart to take a stab at a more looked over, and less glamorous, group of people – Mexicans. Being a Mexican, it’s a no-brainer that only someone like Robert Rodriguez could get away with all the racial slurs and stereotypes. And, throw in his usual bad-boy, over-the-top illustration and storyline, you can bet “Machete” will pack enough zing in this much-anticipated bravado flick.

“Machete” takes us on a journey through the life of the title character, played by Danny Trejo. With his real-life convict background and a slew of slash roles, he makes a convincing case of the ex-federal agent gone berserk. As a genre movie, “Machete” is pretty much by the book: hero does what he does; villain finds his weakness (wife) and kills her and him; only later to discover he survives the fiasco; hero embarks on a path of revenge and finds salvation – in Machete’s case, to continue killing more people.

The movie in general is quaintly fun. The characters are caricatures in essence. With an amazing cast, the players had their own moments of glory. Robert De Niro was exceptionally comical playing a two-faced camera-loving Texan senator, whom which was not too far removed from the last US president. His right-hand man-dog, Booth, is played to a T by the intense Jeff Fahey, who’s aged gracefully menacing. Booth’s daughter is out of control and out of clothes for the most part. And this role seemed like the perfect vehicle for the scandalous Lindsay Lohan to poke fun of herself and make a comeback by basing the character solely on her own life’s story. And, not stopping at reviving bygone actors, Rodriguez introduces Don Johnson to a new generation of  audience that might be unfamiliar with the dashing Miami Vice star whom can probably only be seen on a VHS playback. His squeaky voice and deadpan expression reminded me of an aging Brando. (This is totally a serious compliment in every possible way.) 80’s action fans would also get a tickle by the pudgy Steven “hand grappling and hair grafting” Seagal. His place seemed quite perfect as the Mexican mastermind that’s behind all the gore and politics, until his ridiculous end, which came abruptly pointless.

And this pointlessness surfaced to be the actual backbone of this self-back-patting burrito salad. From the flaming-hot but unbearable Latina wannabe, Jessica Alba (whom looked like a Sunday-school-play amateur next to the hell-bending Michelle Rodriguez) to the endless punch lines that served as empty calories on the plate. Not to say it wasn’t enjoyable – if your memory’s short-lived. But, if you have seen past films from this Latin lad (more guts, glory, gore and jokes that cause sickness), you’ll soon realize that “Machete” came off the Rodriguez stove as a dish that’s full of nothing.

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One Response to “MACHETE”

  1. chantivlad Says:

    Hi Tony,

    I would like to see this movie, but I have to find someone to go with me and this certainly will not be Esther. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Florent

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