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A 2010 film directed by Robert Rodriguez and Ethan Maniquis.

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Robert Rodriquez Makes a Loud, Trashy, but Greatly Entertaining Film

  • Sep 27, 2010

There was a film last year that I appreciated quite a bit that was even nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, which didn’t quite make fun of the action genre in the same way Robert Rodriquez’s Machete does, but in the same way both films incorporate a tone in the violence, a sheer thrill and recklessness of what blade is going where, who’s firing what gun, and what 66 year old former prisoner is riding an explosion while firing a Gatling gun mounted to a motorcycle that I can’t help but appreciate. Robert Rodriquez’s “Machete” breaks a lot of borders on its own terms when it comes to the action genre, but at the same time it doesn’t redefine anything, which is exactly what I wanted from this gloriously violent, trashy, and beautifully campy action film. Machete takes place in modern day inside of a near-border Texas city, years after the murder of his family, a ruthless former cop named “Machete” (Danny Trejo) has to take on his wife’s murderer (Steven Seagal), along with the men who set him up to die, a corrupt politician (Robert De Niro) and his seedy minion (Jeff Fahey). The film delights itself in camp, but part of the reason the film is so undeniably enjoy is its 80s movie style diverse cast. Danny Trejo leads the film as Machete with a determined squint that could break cinder blocks, and definitely sells the idea that he’s, well, insanely undefeatable. Robert De Niro and Don Johnson star as two of the film’s major villains, a politician and a border patrol guard respectively, and both play their parts like it’s natural to them to just be sleazeballs. De Niro gets a few scenes especially that bring some of the film’s best intentional unintentional hilarity. Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriquez carry the “leading lady” torches of the movie, and both perform admirably, the latter proving her action chops in some ah-mazing shots towards the end of the film (eyepatches make everything better). Lindsey Lohan does have a small part in the film, but her role is pretty much useless to anything the film is trying to do and even for a “fake” film she’s still pretty awful. Steven Seagal makes the true best of what’s been his first film appearance in almost a decade, and both Jeff Fahey and Cheech Marin have some moments in the film that practically define its attitude of “crazy yet awesome”.

As mentioned earlier, the film strongly puts on an accent of camp. The film is entirely based off of a Grindhouse trailer from the team-up between Rodriquez and Tarantino two years ago, and is basically making fun of the cliched action films of “one man on a mission to murder everybody”. The film gladly accepts these stereotypes and ratchets them up a thousand times, with absurd conversations between characters that at times almost breaks the fourth wall, characters that are practically caricatures, and action scenes that are knowingly insane. Machete isn’t ashamed of it, it takes pride in it, and gladly throws you into the joyful madness of it all. Once you get into the spirit of things and realize what this film is (which should be easy to do after watching the trailer), the film becomes impossible to not enjoy. While the film does become reckless fun quick, it does have what you might call a steep learning curve to it. The first 20 minutes of the movie contain some of the fiercest violence and coarsest material of the entire movie, and will turn some immediately off from the rest of the film. If it’s not your niche, you’ll quickly learn it’s not your niche. There were some moments in the first few scenes of the film that I was convinced I hated it, that is before it gets into the groove of its own joke. Machete is a “bad” film, but it’s just a really good “bad” film.

Rodriquez displayed a pretty good sense of action in this year’s Predators (although I wasn’t entirely impressed with that film), but all of his creative energy in directing action for the past 18 years shows in Machete. Rodriquez gets some crazy good action shots in for the film, from the hand-to-hand to the hydraulic-car-to-guy’s-face. Every action scene is elaborately staged and is completely self-aware, beautifully set in Rodriquez’s mind and gorgeously executed by the blade of Machete. There’s one particular action piece set inside a church with Mr. Marin himself that inspired wonder in my film-going heart, not to mention the Steven Seagal/Machete sword fight. The movie also contains a love for horrific violence. Quite possibly the most violent film I’ve ever seen, Machete (without being too explicit in my description) will make you look at wine bottle openers, weed eaters,  and well, machetes, in a whole new light. If there’s anything else that you could deem “wrong” about Machete as a whole, it’s the way Rodriquez goes about with a message of the film. I’m all for teaching an audience a lesson, but Rodriquez’s influence of teaching his audience about tolerance of the illegal immigration laws and what not, while enlightening, doesn’t really belong in the film.

It’s like if they played “An Inconvenient Truth” at the end of a monster truck rally, some will appreciate it and learn from it, but it just doesn’t fit in the context. All in all Machete is exactly the film I was hoping to see. It’s a gloriously violent satire of the action genre that will make you laugh and stare in awe as Rodriquez poignantly highlights the conventions and cliches of the action genre, even if it comes with a message that’s not necessarily warranted and while impressing some, turning those away that weren’t going to get the joke in the first place.

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September 27, 2010
MACHETE doesn't text LOL! Thanks for sharing! :)
More Machete reviews
review by . September 05, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
MACHETE Kills and Kills Again...But Machete Doesn't
Those who remember the “Grindhouse Double-feature” in 2007 directed by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez may remember the fake trailer called “Machete”. Well, what began as a mere gimmick has been adapted to a full-length motion picture and may be the film that makes 66 year-old Danny Trejo into a new star. Rodriguez’s latest film isn’t pretentious, it is a tribute to the ‘grind house films’ in the 70’s with loads of action, violence and …
review by . April 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****     Born of a fake trailer and made by the original craftsman, Robert Rodriguez's "Machete" has finally, and recently, released. Before you start reading my two cents on this thing, let me tell you this: read all kinds of reviews for this movie. Some will like it; some will love it; and some will just plain despise it. This is a tasteless, violent, and potentially offensive film that may come off as racist and stereotypical to some, but then again, both things …
review by . September 02, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Machete Review
   So I managed to watch this for free at an advanced screening (and get lucky seats at the back of the theater. After a few promo giveaways and the film starts... You will probably not blink a single minute of the film...      Here's a backstory to Machete. If you watched Grindhouse and saw the fake trailer, you probably didn't realize that it was gonna be a real movie. Well it is and it follows that similarity from the trailer.      Basically, …
review by . September 05, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
In 2007 when Grindhouse was released there was a mock trailer for a film called Machete that played.  Apparently Robert Rodriguez liked the idea so much he decided to make it a full blown movie.  This is exactly what you're getting.  If you saw Grindhouse in 2007 (all four of you) then you should know what you're getting.  The movie is crazy violent.  It's over-the-top... it's wholly implausible and makes about as much sense as a mouse eating an elephant.  …
review by . September 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
As this movie starts, you know subtlety is not it's strong point if a point at all.  Danny Trejo and some sidekick are cops who are being warned not to go after a kidnapped girl in a drug lord's house.  Trejo ignores this command by crushing the radio with his hand.  Going full speed in some decepit looking sedan, and heres where this movie shows off that deficency in subtlety.  Storming the house by ramming the car through the front, three guards with automatic rifles …
review by . September 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
There's no question that Robert Rodriguez's MACHETE is a lot of "guilty pleasure" fun. There's a visceral pleasure to be had from a guy as outstandingly scary looking as Danny Trejo wielding a machete and severing heads and limbs, disemboweling bad guys and general leaving a trail of carnage in his wake.     All of these things were promised in the fake trailer for MACHETE which was presented prior to the start of GRINDHOUSE, the wonderfully crazy experience crafted by Rodriguez …
review by . October 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      MACHETE      As any one who knows me can tell you I am a huge Quentin Tarantino fan and a huge Robert Rodriguez fan, so naturally I love their work. This film being another Grindhouse type film especially since it was based on a trailer for that film is really fun. Any one who does not like violence, naked women, and violence should stay away. Also add in that I am a huge Steven Seagal fan and that this film was filmed here in Austin Texas, you know …
review by . September 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Having seen Grindhouse, I remember seeing a funny trailer for a movie called Machete.  I am not sure how the actual movie came about: whether this was an actual trailer or Rodriguez decided to make it due to positive comments on the trailer.  Anyway, I had been trying to find time to see this and I just saw it today in an empty theater.  I could not understand why since this film is one of the best action films I have seen in a long time!      …
Quick Tip by . February 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
No one makes a sleazy, fun, action-packed grindhouse homage quite like Robert Rodriguez and this film is perhaps his best film since "Desperado". Certainly not for the queasy or for people concerned with political correctness, "Machete" delivers on explosive action, edgy humor, some cheap thrills, and lots of gore. This is the kind of film that if taken seriously could be considered not only as offensive due to its exploitative depictions of violence and sex, but it comes off …
Quick Tip by . January 09, 2011
I give MACHETE a single star, and that's mostly b/c I can enjoy a quality B flick as much as the next cinophile. Mostly, I thought the film needed a few more weeks at the writer's desk before they put it before the cameras; clearly, it was a rushed production hoping to capitalize on the political arguments regarding legal and illegal immigration, and there's nothing wrong with that. After the first 20 minutes (or so), the film finally settles into its over-the-top farcical tone, and, from that point …
About the reviewer
Jake Wilbanks ()
Ranked #158
   My name's Jake, I write film reviews and the occasional music/video game/comic/tech review. I've been involved in journalism over the past 3 years, and am currently majoring in Journalism … more
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About this movie


Machete is a 2010 action horror film, directed by Robert Rodriguez and Ethan Maniquis. The film stars Danny Trejo in his first lead role as the title character. The film also stars Michelle Rodriguez, Cheech Marin, Lindsay Lohan, Don Johnson, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Robert DeNiro, Jeff Fahey, and Cheryl Chin. The film is an expansion of a fake trailer Rodriguez directed for the 2007 film Grindhouse and centers around the character of Machete Cortez, who previously appeared as the uncle of the protagonists in the Spy Kids films. Filmed in autumn 2009, the film was released in the United States on September 3, 2010 by 20th Century Fox.
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Genre: Action, Crime
Release Date: September 3, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Robert Rodriguez
Studio: 20th Century Fox, Overnight Productions, Hyde Park Entertainment, Troublemaker Studios
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