Review: Machete (2010)
Note: This post contains a portion of a review originally written for CaryCitizen. To read the full review, click here.
Does anybody remember Grindhouse? Back in 2007, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino teamed up to make a double-feature homage to exploitation cinema of the 70s and 80s, complete with fake trailers for non-existent movies at the beginning and halfway points. Apparently mainstream audiences didn’t understand that this genre of film was often so bad it was usually a lot of fun and the sight of Rose McGowan with a machine gun for a leg wasn’t enough to put butts in theater seats. Grindhouse flopped at the box-office despite positive critical reception and having two big-name filmmakers attached.
Rodriguez, however, has never been one to care much about the financial side of filmmaking. His background as an independent filmmaker and “one-man film crew” philosophy have allowed him the ability to essentially find funding for whatever pet project he’d like, since if he needs to he can make it for cheap. It isn’t surprising, then, to see that he’s teamed up with editor Ethan Maniquis to now bring us Machete, a feature-length version of a fake trailer that was one of the most talked-about sequences of Grindhouse three years ago. Aside from a few new actors and different subplots, the basic plot (and in some cases, exact shots and scenes) from that original trailer are the same. Long-time character actor and frequent Rodriguez collaborator Danny Trejo stars as Machete, an ex-Federale who was forced by a drug lord to witness the execution of his family. Three years later, he’s working as a day laborer in Texas when a mysterious benefactor (Jeff Fahey) hires him to kill a state senator (Robert DeNiro) who has a habit of shooting illegal immigrants. Of course, our hero is double-crossed and it isn’t long before he’s teaming up with a sensual ICE officer (Jessica Alba) and an underground revolutionary (Michelle Rodriguez) to seek revenge and organize an army of illegal immigrants. To quote the original trailer: “They just f***ed with the wrong Mexican.”