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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