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Monday, October 21, 2013

Mujeres, Machinegun(bras) & Machete

In their critically acclaimed but underappreciated 2007 homage to '70's Grindhouse cinema, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez gave us a slew of fake movie trailers.  Notable among them is ‘Machete,’ a Mexican lone-wolf anti-hero cut in the same mold as Charles Bronson, Chuck Norris and Clint Eastwood, if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s played by Danny Trejo, whom God didn't exactly grace with good looks.  Before ‘Machete,‘ Trejo had mostly been type cast as either a hardened convict serving hard time or an ex con.  Talk about racial profiling!  Then again, perhaps they can be forgiven because with his unruly long hair, leathery skin, beefy frame and gang tattoos, not to mention acne scars and a perpetual scowl, Trejo just looks like one badass mofo you don’t want to be anywhere close to.  If nothing else, 2010‘s ‘Machete’ was a gleefully fun and violent popcorn flick worthy of the old school exploitation B-movie it strived to be.  And at the end of the movie, we’re teased with a sequel, ‘Machete Kills.’  Can’t wait.
 
So three years later ‘Machete Kills’ arrives in theaters, but nobody cared.  Maybe the joke’s getting a bit old, whatever.  While ‘Machete’ was a simple story with the undercurrent of illegal immigration about a man unjustly framed seeking to clear himself and bring righteous fury to those who wronged him, ‘Machete Kills’ has a messy, disjointed and overbloated plot with too many cameos, detours and twists.  In this follow-up Robert Rodriguez included various B-movie influences, from campy low budget espionage thrillers to the cheesy ‘Babes, Bullets & Bikinis’ (or 'Girls, Guns & G-Strings') sexploitation fluff made popular by Andy Sidaris in ‘80’s and ‘90’s Grindhouse cinema.
 

More firepower than a squad of Austin Powers fembots

‘Machete Kills’ earns points for trying to be the light and ridiculously fun B-movie its predecessor was, but it ultimately failed because the movie's not so much about 'the man' himself.  With a cast of characters including Mel Gibson, Carlos Estevez (aka Charlie Sheen), Demian Bichir, Cuba Gooding Jr., Antonio Banderas, Sofia Vergara, Lady Gaga, Amber Heard, Vanessa Hudgens and Alexa Vega as well as returning ones such as Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba and Tom Savini, 'Machete Kills' is less about Machete than all the other crazy and colorful people (like Desdemona above) who inhabit his mad, mad world.


"Adeptus Machetetus"

In 'Machete Kills,' we're teased again with a trailer for yet another sequel called 'Machete Kills Again........ in Space!'  Look, it's an homage to Star Wars!  This time I can wait....... forever.
 
Grade: C
 

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