Director: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Danny Trejo, Mel Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Amber Heard, Sofia Vergara, Lady Gaga, Carlos Estevez
Written by: Kyle Ward, (story) Robert Rodriguez and Marcel Rodriguez
Running Time: 107 mins
Release date: 11th October 2013
Machete started life as a joke. A fake trailer in the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino homage to 70s exploitation films, Grindhouse. Fans forced Rodriguez to actually make the trailer into a full length and so an unapologetic mix of graphic violence, tongue in cheek humour and cameos from unlikely stars was born but for all it’s nonsense, it wasn’t as memorable as the original trailer had promised. Now we have the sequel and to be honest, the joke is wearing rather thin.
The President recruits Machete to return to his native Mexico where he must stop a crazed cartel leader from planning to destroy the world. Once there, Machete finds that his foe has rigged a monitor to his heart that will trigger off a nuclear bomb if his organ stops. with only 24 hours to remove the item by getting him to the creator of the weapon, Voz, Machete has to get him across the border into the States but a bounty has been placed on their heads and everyone wants both the leader and Machete dead.
The film starts with another fake trailer for a future presentation, Machete Kills Again…in Space, in which the Mexican hero is, well, in space in a spoof Star Wars. So you wonder why we have been given this tit-bit. It soon becomes apparent that any sense of peril or danger is immediately removed from the rest of the film as we already know that Machete will survive if we are being treated to this. That’s the first wrong step that Rodriguez takes. Then we are given the main feature and you get the feeling that this film is very proud of itself. Look how ridiculous the situations are, the set pieces, the violence. This is the second wrong step.
It’s as if the whole cast realise how incredibly silly this is and they are almost winking at the camera. Unfortunately, the joke just doesn’t work and for a couple of inventive set pieces, the whole thing just isn’t funny. in fact, often or not, it’s repetitive. If you’ve seen one baddie having his head removed, you’ve seen it a thousand times. So what was once mildly inventive has become unoriginal. Even the penis-like gun, as used in From Dusk Till Dawn makes an appearance as if it’s never been seen before. Wrong!
The cameos this time round aren’t that interesting either. Last time we had De Niro and Lindsay Lohan. This time we have Charlie Sheen (using his original name Carlos Estevez) playing the President and spending time in the “South West Wing” (See what they did there? Funny…in 1995!), Lady Gaga as a chameleon bounty hunter (and the point is?) and when Mel Gibson appears as Voz, you are just hoping he can breathe some life in this already dull movie. No he can’t.
You see, the whole film goes from one set piece to another in which semi-naked women with machine-gun breasts try to kill Machete, while he lops off limbs with, well, a machete and we are suppose to got along with it all, gleefully enjoying the violence and the side-splitting humour. I am, of course, being sarcastic. It’s not particularly funny and by the time it gets to its finale, looking more like a rip-off to Moonraker, you click that the fake trailer at the beginning may not be a joke.
Rodriguez is a talented film maker who, when on a good day, can make excellent action films (El Mariachi, Desperado and From Dusk to name a few) but this fails to even come close to those. It’s too full of laughing at itself that it forgets the audience is supposed to be in on the joke. We’re not and so we get a very dull and uninspiring action film. As for the promised third film? Think Rodriguez shouldn’t bother.