Monday, November 14, 2016

Movie #377: Machete

Machete is an action/exploitation movie directed by Robert Rodriguez and starring Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, Cheech Marin, Steven Seagal, Jeff Fahey, Lindsay Lohan, Don Johnson, and Robert DeNiro. It came out of a fake trailer created for Grindhouse, and we're all richer for it.

Machete Cortez (Trejo) is a Mexican federal agent who is betrayed by his government, who are in cahoots with a drug lord named Torrez (Seagal). He escapes to the US, where he works as a day laborer until he is tapped by middleman Booth (Fahey) to assassinate the incumbent senator McLaughlin (DeNiro). This turns out to be a false flag, and Machete is hunted by Booth's minions. He eventually teams up with immigration officer Sartana (Alba), undocumented ally Luz (Rodriguez), his priest brother (Marin), and a whole bunch of pissed-off Mexicans and allies to take on a hoard of vigilante nationalists led by Von (Johnson).

I really like this movie. It's absurdly violent and over the top, and you can just see Rodriguez (the director, that is) wondering "OK, how can we make this even crazier?" Trejo is nicely subdued and even funny as Machete; he has probably a dozen lines in the movie but he brings some gravitas to the role (and, of course, looks menacing and badass because he's Danny fuckin' Trejo). Lindsay Lohan gets to show up and be naked and drug-addled, which is fun, and DeNiro's corrupt senator talks about building a fence along the Southern US border, which is...actually a little too real right now.

The movie is filmed like a grindhouse flick, so it's got visual trash and crunch sound and all the hallmarks of a low-budget movie, plus vagina-phones and decapitations and disemboweling. It's gloriously simple and laden with stupid catchphrases, and yet it shows people willing to stand up and fight for each other, which of course is always something I enjoy.

Oh, and, one of my favorite moments in the movie: The security guard who, upon seeing Machete, promptly decides to quit, hand over his gun, and fuck off. More mooks should be so smart.

My Grade: A
Rewatch value: High, unless you're squeamish about intestine ropes

Next up: Mad Max: Fury Road