Let me first lay out the plot and characters for you. Machete was directed by Robert Rodriguez and Ethan Maniquis (Robert’s longtime editor). The movie is about a Mexican man who is an ex Federale turned renegade. His name is “Machete” and he is played by Danny Trejo. Machete comes to the U.S. and while looking for day labor work, he is instead asked to kill Senator McLaughlin, played by Robert DeNiro. This hit is put on the senator by his very own right hand man, Booth, played by Jeff Fahey. What Machete doesn’t know is Booth also has another plan in place. While Machete, the “day labor Mexican”, attempts to assassinate the senator, Booth puts another shooter in place to kill Machete. Now that’s a campaign story that could increase McLaughlin’s chances in being re-elected. An illegal tries to murder the good ol’ senator of Texas, who is campaigning to increase border control to keep the “wetbacks” out of the U.S. However the premeditated plot that Booth conceives goes all wrong. And turns into a bloodbath. Jessica Alba plays an immigration officer named Sartana. She is trying to make the “system work” and do things the right way. Michelle Rodriguez plays Luz, who to the public just sells tacos on a truck, but in her behind the scenes life actually is the mythical hero of “She”. “She” is someone that the Mexican people look to help find their freedom. Luz is part of the “network” which is a community of an assortment of people who all work together to protect the immigrants coming over to the U.S. Another character that we have is the drug lord Gigante Torrez played by Steven Segal. Interesting enough in this exploitation film, is the interesting triangle of how a senator, the U.S. government, and a Mexican drug lord can all be intertwined. Torrez funds the campaign to re-elect McLaughlin in hopes that once he is elected Torrez can control how much imports are exported to the US from Mexico. While the other player in this game is the corrupt border patrol run by Lt. Stillman who is played by Don Johnson. Stillman and his vigilante henchmen run the border and inflict death on anybody crossing over. A security blanket in between Torrez and McLaughlin. Now that we have all our players, the real excitement begins. Machete pissed that he was set up is on a mission to kill Booth. Booth and McLaughlin understanding this realize they need to kill him first, and the manhunt begins. In the middle of this hunt is Sartura who captures machete and wants to use him in order to increase her rank, but later ends up uniting with him against this fight. Luz enters by helping Machete heal after he has been shot. She tells him that the people need him and she as well is ready for the fight. Then the madness really ensues. Who will win this massacre, The Red White and Blue or Machete?
Machete was shocking, interesting, mind blowing, hilarious, thoughtful, fresh, and one of the most exciting movies I have seen all summer. To give further detail let me describe what caught my attention. First I would like to say, Robert Rodriguez can do no wrong in my eyes. I love all his work, I defend his decisions and I am an avid follower of all things he creates. Usually in the beginning of a film there has to be a scene of some shock value. You have to create a great hook to reel the viewer in and keep them interested. About 30 seconds into the beginning I think my mouth was wide open in horror and it stayed like that for about 3 minutes. In the first scene Machete burst into a house to save a girl who has been supposedly kidnapped. He decapitates every man in sight and in one swoop chops a bad guy’s gun wielding hand off. With the hand still clenching the gun, Machete picks it up and shoots a handful more of men. What I enjoyed as always with Rodriguez’s work is the film is gory, gruesome, and graphic but it’s not something that would give you nightmares. His short quick clips of the gore and the speed of the scene gives it the realism without being too detailed about what bone just got splattered across the room. In one scene, Machete is approached by three men and in one hack he is able to decapitate all three heads. I can honestly tell you I can’t think about the last time I saw a man’s head get chopped off. In this same five minute scene, Machete rescues the “kidnapped girl” played by Mayra Leal. She lies naked in a room with beautifully tousled hair. Machete tells her to put on clothes and with her voluptuous lips she says, “It’s too hot”. So my mouth is still open from the previous killings and then this hot girl enters. I swear if I had a drip pan under my chin it would have had plenty of drool in it. Machete not caring picks up her naked body and throws her over his shoulders. While hiding from her captures she tries to seduce him by asking about his “Machete” and it’s..Ahem…size. But…..
…in a split second she takes his machete and thrusts it into his leg. As she steps back, he realizes she is not who he thought she was. And in the stroke of the camera you see her reach down in between her thighs, and at this moment I can’t even predict what she is going to do now. I think, is she going to pleasure herself right now? I mean wtf? Nope, she reaches in, and pulls out a cell phone. A cell phone!?! That is something you don’t see every day. Wow! And this is only in the first few minutes. I can’t imagine what else is in store.
One aspect to the movie that I have always enjoyed in Rodriguez’s films is the close up shots of the characters and the sound. I am not sure how they edit the sound or what they do to enhance it, but the sound of the slaughtering and the gun shots was so much louder than most movies. It really brought me into the film. And of course Danny Trejo’s rough scorched voice sounded so deep in the theater.
I thought the casting was incredible as well. I was very impressed in Don Johnson’s acting. I am not saying that I didn’t think he could act, but when I see him or hear his name all I can think about is Mr. Miami Vice himself, Sonny. But usually when an actor is known for 1 character it is hard to think of him or her as anything different. Don did an excellent job as Lt. Stillman. What an official A-hole.
When I saw Lindsay Lohan in the opening credits, I was excited and confused. I actually like Lindsay as an actress. I think she is great at comedy and I hope she gets out of this funk she’s in, because I would love to see her in more movies. So when her 1st scene came up, I couldn’t stop laughing because she plays Booth’s drug addicted daughter who post her sex videos on the internet. And I thought it was cute that she was cast as this character because it’s like she is making fun of herself. A great scene that happens is when Machete pays a visit to Booths’ house. April, Lindsay’s character, and her mother are in a pool waiting for their man to arrive so they can video tape a threesome and put it up on the internet. (Weird right? But just play along) and of course, who is that man, Machete. Then the porn music starts to play and there in the pool is another raunchy, but hilarious scene. If you haven’t seen the fake trailer of Machete at the end of Grindhouse then you won’t know that those boobs in the Machete scene are not Lindsay’s boobs. That scene was filmed during the fake trailer and Robert wanted to use as much footage from that trailer in the actual movie. So he cast Lindsay since she has the same hair and such as the girl in the scene, whom you never see whose face it, really is. Sorry boys, unless you pause later in the film, you may catch Lohan’s nip slip when her hair is barely covering her rack. This scene just capitalizes on how Machete is a ladies’ man. With the face like a rocky mountain side, tattoos from prison, and hair long enough to braid, what is not to love about Machete. Whatever attribute reels you in, be assured that he will hypnotize you. Overall, Lindsay did wonderful. She later appears in a nun outfit and shoots DeNiro. Think about it, Lindsay as a nun……very clever. It really gives me hope that she will see the success and perhaps clean up her act and do what she is here to do. Make great movies.
Cheech Marin plays Machete’s brother. It’s hard not to think of Cheech as a weed smoking, tequila drinking Mexican. But that is exactly what he plays but as a priest or Padre. It’s almost as funny as Lindsay wearing a nun’s outfit at the end of the movie and trying to avenge her dad’s murderer. Cheech was classic Cheech and has always been a great actor and I am so glad that Rodriguez continually cast him in all his films.
Let me talk about Michelle Rodriguez for a moment. She is an actress that I have followed from her first film, Girlfight back in 2000, to Fast and the Furious, Resident Evil, Blue Crush, S.W.A.T., Bloodrayne, Lost, and Avatar. These are just the few that I can remember off the top of my head. But she is a great actress and has a presence that demands attention. I hope to see her become more of a star of her own movie, but I know she has plenty of time in her career to do that. Robert should do a spin off and make a film only about the “She” character. I think that would be a hit. Ok, back to the current film Machete. I would first like to be a little superficial here and mention Michelle’s physique. She shocked me. I thought that she looked definitely svelter than she had in Avatar. I have always loved her for her roles that she chooses but never envied her body before. Towards the end of the movie, Michelle’s character comes to help with the battle of fighting the vigilantes. She opens the doors to the back of the ambulance that she is in and you can’t do anything other than drool, drop open your mouth, ooh, ahh. The whole 9. She looked phenomenal. She wears an eye patch to cover her recently lost eye, a leather bikini top, and the hottest leather pants I have seen since the Matrix all wrapped in a belt that pulls attention to her perfectly sculpted abs. I think the whole theaters pants tightened when she came on screen. But besides my superficial critics or compliments, her acting was great. Typical Michelle Rodriguez. Badass, hardcore, sexy, sultry, with a bite at the end just to make you feel alive.
Now I can’t mention Michelle without mentioning Jessica Alba. She plays a sexy Immigration officer. Let me tell you, if I didn’t have papers, I may just have Alba take me in and deport me. She looked great in the film. Very skinny as usual, but a lot healthier looking than Good Luck Chuck, which in my eyes was an awful movie but this review is not about that. Her acting is stellar as usual. And I like her grit that she pushed through the scenes. She sometimes just looks like another pretty girl, but she always seems to impress me in certain roles. Oh, one last thing about how hot Jessica is. There is a shower scene. However her arms and legs are strategically positioned where you don’t see any goods but just the curves of her body. I can appreciate a body, man or woman, and let me tell you, the gods have blessed her. Her tan, glistening body was enough to get the theater quiet, then after moments squeezed by the whistling sounded out over the audience. She is no doubt a beautiful girl and an actress on her way.
I was stunned when I saw Robert DeNiro in the film because he was such an off the wall casting in my eyes. Well at least prior to seeing the film. But of course DeNiro has never disappointed and did a great job as playing Senator McLaughlin. Another character that was tightly fit in the cast was Steven Segal. His character, Torrez, was fit for him. Segal plays a great bad guy, however the ending during his death, I thought was a little cheesy. It was comical that he just wouldn’t die, but the way it was done kind of was ‘eh’ for me. But then again, why not have fun when you are doing a film about a Mexican who shreds through the flesh of villains. Overall, Segal and DeNiro served their purpose but didn’t go beyond my expectations
One of my favorite castings was Jeff Fahey who plays Booth. The conniving, backstabbing, sniveling assistant to the Senator. In all the roles that Fahey has played whether it is big or small I am hypnotized by those electric blue eyes. And especially in this film he is quite attractive. His voice, his perfect smile, his slicked back hair, and of course those eyes…..sigh. What was I saying again? Oh that’s right, his acting. Loved it, I think he plays a great villain. I will watch anything he is in. He has a presence that keeps me interested. Even back in the day in Lawnmower Man, which was a complete mind explosion. I still remember him in that crazy movie. He’s memorable, and in this business that’s what matters.
The last character I wanted to comment on is the star of the show, Danny Trejo. In interviews Robert has said that when he cast Trejo in Desperado he knew that this man was special. He knew he had to do something and make him the star in his film, Machete. I agree. I have seen most of Trejo’s films, but the one that most resonated with me was when he played the serial rapist in Con Air. Sure you’re thinking, wow, what a great way to remember a guy, right? But seriously, he was creepy, frightening, and I was fearful for the female officer on that plane in the movie. His face was burned into my memory. I am so happy that he is the star of his own movie. It’s not common that you find an ex convict who has played ever villain in the industry and has a face that shows the years of experience and tribulations he has been through. But he is a damn good actor and delivers a powerful punch.
Lastly, I know this review was long winded but I feel that I just had to get out what I thought about each character. Go see the movie and see for yourself. It’s fresh and addicting. I truly enjoyed this film. It was a fun eye-opener on immigration and thoughts about the laws, as well as a great way to change the stereotype on who a hero is. Thanks to Rodriguez, alongside Schwarzenegger, Jean Claude Van Damme, Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, and many many others, Danny Trejo can now stand for being a badass hero who was feared by many and loved by the people.