Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Hired to assassinate a politician, vigilante and ex-Federale Machete (Danny Trejo) nearly dies when a sniper shoots him during the job. Out for revenge, he's joined by a reluctant old buddy (Cheech Marin) who's become a pacifist priest. Written and co-directed by Robert Rodriguez, this homage to exploitation films based on his fake trailer in Grindhouse co-stars Robert De Niro, Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Alba and Steven Seagal.
There are a lot of firsts in this movie. It's the first wide-release to dive deep into Mexican border politics. It's the first time a man standing up has been crushed by a car on film. It has a trick suspension that launches the front end high enough to slap a man down. It's the first movie with Lindsy Lohan naked in it. She is naked for practically all her time on screen. She looks good, but well-worn. It's hard to believe that she is five years younger than Alba. Sad to write that Jessica's performance was weak. She has so little gravitas that she isn't at all credible as an ICE agent. It was a lot of fun to see DeNiro using something other than his Goodfellas voice. The story, as convoluted as it was, makes a lot of sense. There is also art imitating life: days ago La Barbie was arrested in Mexico--a US born Mexican drug lord. That is exactly what Segal's part is. As purposefully cheesey as the movie is at times, it ridicules the amazing hypocrasy (of all sides) of the Texas/Mexico border with great effectiveness. The point is that this things succeeds on all levels. You want mindless action? You want sex? You want political relevance? The only thing it doesn't do is take itself too seriously.
This movie is everything that the Grindhouse movies should have been. Funny, violent, bloody, gory, silly at times, never very serious, and very entertaining Danny Trejo plays Machete with a gusto and fervor that many more "serious" actors should take note of-- he was great. Cheech Marin was his usual hilarious self as the priest who takes up arms with Machete. I highly recommend this movie to any fan of exploitation movies!