Machete (2010) – Review

2 1/2 Star

Robert Rodriguez’s latest production follows in the path he started with ‘Planet Terror’ back in 2006. A mock trailer for this film appeared as part of the ‘Grindhouse’ double feature. Apparently audience interest and Rodriguez’s love of B-movies was enough to tempt the Director to go back and flesh out a script; thus resulting in this loving homage to 70’s exploitation flicks.

A timely storyline about border control and the anti-Mexican sentiment in sates like Texas and Arizona are satirically handled by Rodriguez’s screenplay. Don Johnson is a cold blooded border lawman, De Niro hams it up as a Senator running for re-election on the closed-border ticket. Re-appearing on the big screen in almost a decade is Steven Seagal as the ruthless leader of a Mexican drug cartel. The acting is cheesy all around but in an appropriate way, the material calls for a level of over (or in some-cases) under acting. Lead actor Danny Trejo has a few good lines , “Machete don’t text!” that he delivers well, but in honesty he’s a little old and grisly to be fully believable as a bad-ass/ Lothario.

Surprisingly the women steal the show. Jessica Alba has never been better, here playing a Latina INS agent. Rodriguez knows how to shoot Alba and the woman is stunning in every frame. Also vamping it up is Michelle Rodriguez who shines in the role of ‘She’ a female Che. This is a girl who will take a bullet in the eye and keep fighting. She also happens to look incredible in leather pants.

The feel for the era is handled well, even though characters use current technology the film print looks as if its decades old. Unfortunately last years ‘Black Dynamite’ mined this same material to better effect. I kept waiting for a wow moment or laugh that never came. While I enjoyed the time I spent with Machete and Co. its time for Rodriguez to focus on other projects and characters.

Director: Robert Rodriguez
Stars: Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal

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