For the best of the Horror/Cult/Exploitation film experience
Machete (2010) - (Blu-ray)
We all remember the pseudo trailers in between “Planet Terror” and “Death Proof” during the presentation of “Grindhouse” in theaters. There were rumors and rumblings about a lot of those trailers being made into feature films and most of it was just that, rumors and rumblings. Although the project that was being planned from day one was for director Robert Rodriguez to make his film “Machete” with Danny Trejo in the lead role. That was the most likely out of the bunch to be made for a few different reasons and in the end it was the first one to hit theaters everywhere. I managed to see “Machete” during it’s opening weekend and I have to say I was less than impressed with it as an overall effort. Although I was completely willing and waiting to watch it again to give it a second chance, unfortunately it seems my gut feeling was more than likely going to be right in the case of “Machete”.
“Machete” is the story of Machete Cortez a former federale betrayed by his employers and setup to die. Only it didn’t work out that way at all, now Machete is looking for revenge at any cost and that involves anyone that stands in his way. Along the way he runs into Luz (Michelle Rodriguez) a lady who is known in the area for helping illegal aliens in their stay in the US. She’s being investigated by Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba) who is a immigration officer policing the area for illegals. At the same time you have Senator John McLaughlin (Robert DeNiro) worried about his upcoming election as his people get mixed up in Machete’s business. All of it leads to a giant free for it all involved everyone mentioned and more.
Going into this one I had a pretty good idea of the type of movie I was going to be watching. It was going to be your typical exploitation/revenge flick obviously made to be somewhat of a parody. That’s what it was in many ways, but sadly I think this one fails to live up to the type of movie that it wants to be. One of the most repeated praises of the movie that I’ve heard was that it was a lot of fun. That might be the case for a lot of viewers out there but to be honest, I’ve kind of tired out on these types of projects at this point. At the time “Grindhouse” was released in theaters I couldn’t wait to see it. But now looking back on it (including the times I’ve went back and rewatched it) it’s simply not that great of a film. I mean that as far as Tarantino’s “Death Proof” goes as well as “Planet Terror” (which I originally enjoyed but I haven’t warmed up to it much over the years) they just don’t play well after the initial viewing. That’s exactly how I felt watching “Machete” again, it misses on too many marks and but the end of the movie I just found myself wanting it to be over.
Of course Trejo does a good job as a somewhat silent anti hero in this one, as the role was hand crafted for him. It doesn’t require him to do much other than stand around and look tough, but that part of the movie works. Some of the interactions with less talented cast mates (mainly Alba) can be as awkwardly bad as I could have imagined. Another issue I had with “Machete” was the fact that Michelle Rodriguez really had the chance to shine in this one but instead was expected to take a backseat to the much more popular Jessica Alba. It’s a shame because Alba practically ruined this movie for me. Everyone can yell and scream about seeing her half naked in the movie all they want because it’s not even her. She’s annoying as all hell and sucks every bit of life in every scene that’s she’s prominently featured.
One bright spot of the movie for me was the performance of Jeff Fahey (Planet Terror/The Lawnmower Man/Riot on 42nd Street) in the role of Michael Booth. His character is almost the only one with some good comedic stuff in the movie and give a wonderful and manic performance. He comes off as batshit crazy as his actual character and seemed to be giving it the most effort out there (along with Trejo and Michelle Rodriguez).
People are going to over focus on the bad guy character of Robert DeNiro in this, but I really didn’t care that much. It wasn’t that fun for me to see him in a role like this because the man has been making crap for years now. The DeNiro that made such great films as “Taxi Driver” and “Goodfellas” is OVER. Although it would have been nice to see him get some really juicy grindhouse bad guy stuff but it just didn’t happen. I also won’t be speaking much about Lindsay Lohan’s role either because I found it to be completely pointless.
The “Machete” Blu-ray is severely lacking in the special features department as it only has some deleted scenes and an audience audio track. It’s nothing to write home about and I was a bit sad to see a giant lack of features for the disc.
Overall “Machete” just missed it’s mark with me. I didn’t find it as fun as many did and I personally found it to be more of a bore than most did too. It just wasn’t that interesting of a film and I found myself feeling as disappointed with it as I did the first time around, if not more. My recommendation is to rent this one at the most, but I couldn’t recommend anyone go out and buy this one. It’s most likely a one and done film that you’ll never find yourself wanting to revisit, or at least not that often.
Rating - *1/2
Blu-ray Rating - *