Genre: Action, Parody
Country: United States
Starring: Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert DeNiro, Don Johnson, Steven Seagal, Cheech Marin, Jeff Fahey, Shea Whigham, Tom Savini, Mayra Leal, Avellan twins, Marci Madison, Alicia Marek
Eye candy: , , , , , ,
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Run time: 105 minutes
DVD distributor: Alliance Films
My stars. What a lot of stars. The Expendables got a lot of press for the extensive cast of action luminaries. But it’s Robert Rodriguez’s Machete that has managed to cobble together the most intriguing and amazing group of actors in a film this year. Sure, some of them are there only to get their names in the movie (Lindsay Lohan, I’m looking at you. And I don’t mean in an internet-perv sort of way). But every time I saw another familiar face, I got more and more excited. It’s Cheech! What’s HE gonna do?
Invariably, every new star does something awesome. As does every new hot chick. The movie opens with Danny Trejo, the Machete of the title, busting up a Mexican drug ring single-handed. With his machete. Heads and hands go flying, blood is splashed everywhere, and then the bad guys are dead. So Trejo picks up the naked chick (Mayra Leal) and heads for the door. This leads to a very hot, very memorable cell phone scene.
Then Steven Seagal shows up. In this movie, Seagal is playing a Mexican for the first time ever. I have seen him play Inuit, Italian, Russian, Irish and many other nationalities. All of which appear to have the same accent and delivery. And so Torrez, the Mexican bad guy here, just talks like…Steven Seagal. The instant he shows up, he must prove how badass and evil he is, so he chops Machete’s wife’s head clean off. Then he sets fire to the house and assumes Machete will die. Which of course he will not.
Now Machete can no longer be a federale in Mexico, and he ends up working as a day-labourer in Texas. Michelle Rodriguez runs a taco truck and also an underground network helping illegal immigrants get into America and get jobs and so forth. Jessica Alba is hanging around, conducting surveillance on the illegals, as a member of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. See, Alba has turned her back on her own people!
Then there’s Don Johnson as the creepy racist leader of a group of vigilantes patrolling the border. And Robert DeNiro as a state senator campaigning for re-election on a platform that would crack down hard on illegal immigration. And Jeff Fahey as DeNiro’s right hand man with connections to drug dealers. And Lohan as Fahey’s slutty internet-porn-producing drug addict daughter. And Alicia Marek as Lohan’s equally slutty and clueless mom. (The “love” scene between mom, daughter, and the tattooed, scary Mexican Machete is a creepy yet sexy moment that will someday be remembered as a classic – just you wait!)
Then there’s Cheech Marin as a priest, an endless parade of hot chicks and boobs, and Tom Savini as an utterly inexplicable hit man for hire named Osiris Amanpour. I’m not really going to divulge the plot, because I don’t think it’s that important. I also won’t describe too many bonkers scenes, because it might ruin your enjoyment upon seeing them for the first time.
But here’s the thing. Machete is a parody. It’s a sendup of the exploitation violent films of the 70s, and in that respect it’s masterful. And here’s how. Every now and then, I forgot about the genre. I started getting into the story, and the politics of illegal immigration, and I would really get engrossed in a conversation two bodyguards were having about letting Mexicans do their gardening. And just at that moment, Machete would do something to remind me that oh right – this is an insane movie.
And these moments pop up at exactly the right times. Scenes involving a weedwhacker, a man’s intestines, a meat thermometer, a severed hand – they are all so over the top that they jarred me back to reality. Oh yeah. I’m not supposed to be taking this movie seriously. I’m just supposed to sit back and enjoy it. And oh man, did I ever enjoy Machete. Every single glorious minute of it.