On the side of good we have Sartana (Jessica Alba..not a Cobra bad guy), a cop struggling with the thin line between duty and justice, Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), leader of "The Network" and maker of bad tacos and the Padre (Cheech Marin), a priest with all the answers and even more firepower. Behind them? An army of angry illegal Chicanos! Alba mugs her way through the film looking cute as a plush puppy and horribly out of place in such a gritty movie. MRod brings her bad ass flair as hard as she can but seems reined in by the subject material until the final battle. Marin steals the whole damn enchilada (pun pretendido) with miles of charm and excellent comedic timing. Sadly, he is introduced fairly deep into the film so his screen time isn't what it could be to ensure maximum Cheechiosity. Also sadly, there is no Nash Bridges reunion/battle to the death between Cheech and Don Johnson. The primary focus is Danny Trejo's Machete who puts on his best stone face, allowing none of his natural likability to come across. What's left is a 70's film automoton hell bent on CGI carnage and cut away sex scenes set to the cheesiest porn track they could buy for 10 bucks. For some, that's all you'll need! Honorable mention goes out to Lindsay Lohan who must have gotten the joke that she was signed on to play herself, and does so in spectacular fashion. Let's get a gun toting Lindsay action figure STAT!
On the bad guy roster is a "whose who" of the convention circuit with Lt. Stillman (Don Johnson) who eradicates illegals jumping the border with extreme prejudice, Booth (Jeff Fahey) the would be puppet master out for that bigger buck, Senator McLaughlin (Robert DeNiro), the sleazy homicidal politician and Torrez (Steven Seagal), the Mexican crime boss behind every bullet fired. For all the short comings of this film, I will give them one thing. Rodriguez has created a collection of despicable baddies you will love to hate. Johnson is so nasty he appears to be dripping fried chicken grease for no particular reason. DeNiro becomes much needed comic relief in an otherwise stinted film. Every minute of screen time he's given is turned into mean spirited comedy gold complete with a wildly shifting Texas accent and the goofy, all American trappings of an ultra-patriotic politician. Fahey acts his ASS OFF, managing to be extremely charismatic while irredeemably evil and completely believable while doing it all. Lastly there is Seagal, whom I love with all my might. Every second in front of the camera sent me into hysterics. Was it his ultra serious portrayal of an a-typical B movie crime boss? Was it his amazing Spanish accent used while doing so? A resounding FUCK YES on both counts. I would watch an entire movie JUST based on his character. I'd pay 50 bucks extra just to have him doing this voice on a car GPS. 100% pure awesome. I'll also give a quick mention of Tom Savini who seems to have been included just for an well placed laugh and, while he doesn't get much screen time, proves extremely effective!
Machete is exactly what the trailer has been telling you it will be. There's plenty of gore, plenty of boobs and truck loads of over the top scenarios that play almost like a MadTV Dolemite skit. Machete is as much an exploitation spoof film as it is a hard boiled action/revenge flick. Every moment from the original fake trailer is included! For most people who put down their 10 spot on opening day, that's all they were looking for. For others hoping to relive the glory days of Desperado wrapped in scratchy film grain, you can keep waiting. Machete is a giant box of ridiculous containing every Chicano stereotype the writers could muster...save one. I could be mistaken, but not one character used the term "Beaner"! Cheech should have been on top of that.