Friday, October 11, 2013

Machete Kills


Danny Trejo has certainly led quite a life, and surely owes a lot to film auteur Robert Rodriguez.  Once an inmate at San Quentin for armed robbery and drug offenses, Trejo now has over 250 acting credits under his belt, and has 21 in some form of development right now.  But of all his roles, Machete will be his legacy.  Rodriguez first imagined the role for Trejo when they were on the set of 'Desperado' in 1994.  He then included him in some form of this imagined character as a supporting role in the 'Spy Kids' trilogy between 2001 and 2003.  He then used the character for a fake trailer in his 'Grindhouse: Death Proof/Planet Terror' collaboration with Quentin Tarantino in 2007.  And then, in 2010, he got his own eponymous film.  And you could tell it was exactly what Rodriguez had envisioned all along ... an homage to all those low budget, exploitation, B-movie grindhouse films of the 70's.  That's not my thing, but all things considered it was more fun than I expected with fun roles for actors from the past like Steven Seagal and Don Johnson.  And somehow he managed to get Robert DeNiro.

So now, three years later, we have 'Machete Kills', the film that was promised to us at the end of the first.  And I expected more of the same, but actually this one's pretty different.  It's a lot campier, with a lot more comedy, and even slowly transitions from the Tex-Mex genre we saw in the first to something totally different.  So that's pretty interesting.  And the cast additions are fun, including Mel Gibson, Amber Heard, Sophia Vergara, Antonio Banderas, Lady Gaga, and introducing Carlos Estevez (a.k.a. Charlie Sheen).  Yet despite all of this potentially fun allure, I found the film to feel dull and too long.  Fans of B-movies will probably laugh their butts off.  Personally, I got a few chuckles and enjoyed a few interesting performances and twists.

Grade: B- (and that may be a little generous)

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