The great Danny Trejo is back as Machete in Machete Kills, but is it worth seeing Trejo hanging out with Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Mel Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, and others? Read on to find out!
Machete Kills Review
Danny Trejo- Machete Mel Gibson- Voz Demian Bechir- Mendez Amber Heard- Miss San Antonio Michelle Rodriguez- Luz Sofia Vergara- Desdemona Carlos Estevez- President Rathcock Lady Gaga- La Camaleon Anatonio Banderas- El Camaleon 4 Walt Goggins- El Camaleon 1 Cuba Gooding, Jr.- El Camaleon 2 Vanessa Hudgens- Cereza Alexa Vega- Killjoy Marko Zaror- Zaror Tom Savini- Osiris Amanapur William Sadler- Sheriff Doakes
Directed by Robert Rodriguez Screenplay by Kyle Ward, based on a story by Robert Rodriguez and Marcel Rodriguez
Distributed by Open Road Films
Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, language and some sexual content Runtime- 107 minutes
The biggest problem with Machete Kills, the sequel to Machete, the movie that started out as a fake trailer, is that it tries to be too many half-assed things at one time instead of just one solid thing. It's also, by the end, the first part of a much larger story that director Robert Rodriguez has in mind, something that probably should have been announced ahead of time. Machete Kills is a fun time at the movies and chock full of cool things, yes, but it's ultimately an unsatisfying experience because it isn't finished. It's just a bunch of stuff happening.
The great Danny Trejo returns as Machete, the machete wielding ex-Federale doling out bloody justice to bad guys who, well, are up to no good. After watching his partner die during a botched raid on a Mexican drug cartel doing business with a corrupt U.S. Army unit, Machete is arrested by a racist scumbag Arizona sheriff (Sheriff Doakes, as played by the great William Sadler) and sentenced to death by hanging. Of course, since Machete is Machete, he refuses to die and just stares at Doakes (if only he had his machete on him at that moment). It's at this moment that Machete is rescued by President Rathcock (Charlie Sheen as Carlos Estevez), the President of the United States. Rathcock needs Machete to go into Mexico and take out Mendez (Demian Bichir), a wacked out ex-cartel boss and populist revolutionary that wants to destroy Washington D.C. with a nuclear missile. If Machete can get the job done, the President will make him a full on U.S. citizen. However, that prospect doesn't interest him all that much. Because he is Machete, all Machete really wants to do is stop a bad guy from killing a bunch of innocent people, and Mendez is about as bad as a bad guy can get. He eventually accepts the President's offer, and decides to infiltrate Mexico.
Infiltrating Mexico isn't easy. After getting help from undercover agent Miss San Antonio (Amber Heard), Machete tries to contact Cereza (Vanessa Hudgens), Mendez's girlfriend, a young prostitute working for Desdemona (Sofia Vergara), a gorgeous madam that hates men with a passion. Desdemona, along with her henchwoman Killjoy (Alexa Vega), try to take out Machete before he can ask Cereza anything, but since he is Machete he manages to get out of Desdemona's bordello intact with Cereza in tow. Cereza agrees to bring Machete to Mendez, revealing to Machete that her boyfriend is a lunatic with a serious multiple personality problem (Mendez shifts back and forth between an insane cartel boss and a benevolent man of the people who just wants peace). The meeting with Mendez doesn't go well for anyone, especially Cereza, who doesn't even get to see the meeting take place (she's killed before landing at Mendez's headquarters by Mendez's henchman Zaror, played by Marko Zaror). It's at this point we find out that the missile aimed at Washington is tied into a transmitter that has been attached to Mendez's heart, and if anything bad happens to Mendez's heart the missile will go off. So, since Machete is Machete, Machete kills a bunch of Mendez's soldiers and kidnaps Mendez, hoping to get him back over the border to the United States (maybe someone there can help disarm the missile. There is allegedly only one person in the entire world that can disarm the missile).
So then some stuff happens, Mendez puts a bounty on his own head (Machete's head, too), and Machete tries to get to the Mexico/U.S. border without killing Mendez himself. There are plenty of bad guys out looking for both Machete and Mendez and no help for the ex-Federale from his U.S. employers (the President doesn't want to cause an international incident by invading Mexico). It's sort of like Escape from New York but with the President wanting to stay on the island prison. It's also at this point that the movie goes from being EFNY to a James Bond parody (not a James Bond movie, but a James Bond parody, like In Like Flint by way of a low key , half seriousAustin Powers) and then, shortly after that, a giant mess. There's just so much stuff going on that it's hard to keep track of it all. Why are certain characters dispatched quickly? Why are certain characters ignored after an hour? And why does the fake trailer at the beginning of the movie foreshadow the third Machete movie before we've even seen the second one?
I wish I knew. I wish I knew why Rodriguez and company didn't just announce that he wanted to do both Machete 2 and Machete 3 at the same time and release them close together, sort of like Tarantino's Kill Bill movies and The Matrix sequels. At least then the world would know that Machete Kills is really the first part in a much larger story and that Machete Kills Again... In Space! is coming and will finish the story off. But we don't get that. We just get Rodriguez and his friends fucking around for two hours. That's fun, in a way, but it feels like a big cheat, too.
I mean, why isn't the Mendez part of the movie the movie? Why don't we get more of Bichir acting like a maniac, more of Mendez's henchmen trying to kill Machete so their boss' plan can be fulfilled (the evil side of Mendez really, really, really wants to annihilate Washington D.C.)? And why don't we get more of Vergara's Desdemona rallying her prostitute army and going after Machete? Does this movie really need Mel Gibson's villain Voz at all? Why not have him show up right at the end of Kills and be the main villain in Kills Again... In Space!?
Now, is Gibson cool as wacked out arms dealer Voz? Yes, Gibson does a great job in his first villainous performance, but when he eventually shows up we have a completely new movie going on and the audience is worn out by the insanity of the first hour. The movie really doesn't need any more insanity. Maybe Rodriguez should have created a fake trailer for Gibson to appear in for the beginning of the movie. I'm sure Gibson would have been up for goofing on Mad Max or something like that.
And then there's the whole El Camaleon thing. Apparently there's an expert assassin roaming around Mexico who can change his appearance simply by ripping his own face off. We see El Camaleon on the job in the guise of Walter Goggins, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Lady Gaga, and Antonio Banderas. I have no idea why this character is in the movie at all. It's not like he's an agent of Voz or anything like that. He's just some assassin looking to score big. That idea could make for a cool movie on its own. El Camaleon just isn't needed.
Trejo does his usual outstanding job as Machete. He still knows how to wield a machete, both the old school one and the high tech ones he picks up later in the movie, and it's a blast watching him destroy the bad guys with wild abandon (he is the master of the decapitation). Hopefully we do get that third Machete movie, just so we can see him kick ass in space.
Amber Heard is hilarious as Miss San Antonio. She does a great job playing a dim beauty pageant contestant and killer secret agent, especially at the end of the movie when she goes full on badass. Sofia Vergara is terrifying as Desdemona. Her speech about how everyone has to pay will shrivel your balls and make you think twice about fantasizing about her ever again (watching a few reruns of Modern Family will help reverse that, but it's still a scary proposition). Her boob guns are cool, but because she isn't in the movie all that long it's fleeting coolness at best.
Michelle Rodriguez returns as the one eyed Luz. It's awesome seeing her back in action with the Network, but she shows up during the maddening second half of the movie and should have had more to do. Alexa Vega doesn't get to do much as Killjoy. She basically just hangs around, shoots an Uzi a few times, and wears assless leather chaps. Had Desdemona been a bigger villain perhaps she would have had a bigger part to play. William Sadler does a great job as the Sheriff, but he's dispatched too easily.
Carlos Estevez is okay as the President, but the movie can't decide if his part is supposed to be serious and ridiculous (like Jeff Fahey in the first movie) or just ridiculous (Charlie Sheen as the President of the United States? How the fuck did that happen?). His "Rathcock for President" commercial is sort of funny, but it doesn't make any sense (he shoots guns and smokes pot? What?). As for the four people playing El Chameleon, Gooding, Jr. and Banderas are the only ones who get to have any fun (they get to kill people indiscriminately and act like wack jobs). Goggins is in the movie for like a minute, and Lady Gaga just gets to drive a van and then walk down the road and look gross (what the hell is wrong with her thighs?).
The movie's break out star? Marko Zaror as Zaror the henchman. If he doesn't get his own low budget action movie franchise after this movie there is no justice in this world. He really does kick that much ass.
So should you go see Machete Kills? Yes. It is a maddening mess, but it is worth checking out on the big screen. Even with all of the nonsense, it's still fun seeing Danny Trejo killing bad guys with a machete. And if the Machete Kills makes enough money we'll get to see part three and see how this story is supposed to end. That's important from where I stand.
See Machete Kills. It's not as good as the first movie, but this franchise deserves to continue. Even bad Machete is Machete worth seeing.
So what do we have here?
Dead bodies: It has to be over 50. If it isn't I'd be shocked.
Explosions: Multiple explosions, big and small.
Nudity?: Not really, unless you count the blurred out sex scene. I'm pretty sure Amber Heard is "naked" in that scene.
Doobage: Machete killing people in space, a massive shootout, multiple decapitations, a guy is cut in half lengthwise, a cool electrocution gag, a political poster in the background from the first movie, attempted hanging, a Swiss Army machete, a funny "Put on your 3D glasses now" gag, parachuting, boob darts, a heavily armed hooker attack, a deadly heart monitor, intestines wrapped up in chopper blades, toenail painting, exploding body and helicopter, a spinning boat propeller weapon gag, multiple shootings of innocent people for no reason, scary bondage, neck snap via whip, multiple bullets to the head, meat cleaver to the head, exploding restaurant, multiple face removals, exploding blood packs in a microwave, machine gun boobs, flashback, a vicious super car, exploding guy in a wheelchair, exploding machete bomb, a strap on dildo gun, racism, bloody arm removal, neck snap, more decapitations, a rejuvenation pool, a beating heart in a glass jar, a land speeder, a molecular blaster, a super soldier attack, an intimate dinner, corkscrew to the neck, a gas powered rocket launcher, multiple decapitations via guy swinging by on helicopter blades, body sniffing, an old drive-in theater, machete through the roof and through the top of the head, three chicks in a bed, multiple underground tunnels, mustache removal, big party infiltration, a massive shootout, heart shooting, multiple disintegrations, nose picking, eye removal, face burning, a metal mask, diamond crown to the heart, carbonite, missile riding, and a potential sequel if it all works out.
Kim Richards?: Off screen.
Gratuitous: "Machete Kills Again... In Space!", Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, multiple decapitations, Mel Gibson wearing a Mexican wrestling mask, Robert DeNiro in the background, attempted hanging, William Sadler, Charlie Sheen, Charlie Sheen as Carlos Estevez, Carlos Estevez as the President of the United States, Jesse James, Amber Heard, psychedelic 3D sex, Sofia Vergara running a brothel, Alexa Vega, Vanessa Hudgens, toenail painting, Walter Goggins, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Sofia Vergara engaging in bondage, Lady Gaga, exploding blood packs in a microwave, Sofia Vergara with machine gun boobs and a strap on gun dildo, Michelle Rodriguez, a Jesse James super car, a "Rathcock for President" commercial, Mel Gibson playing a Bond villain, Star Wars references, Robert Rodriguez turned inside out, Tom Savini, Antonio Banderas, mustache removal, the Babysitter twins, a potential sequel if it all works out, and a funny bit after the credits.
Best lines: "Don't call me sweetheart," "This is Machete," "Machete don't smoke," "Machete don't tweet," "I said no freebies," "Machete don't fail," "You wouldn't happen to have a popsicle I can stick up my ass, would you?," "It's a Mexican stand off!," "Hola motherfucker!," "Killjoy, give me my strap on," "Sayonara, taco," "Just try to relax. If I wanted you dead you'd be fucking dead," "There's only one Machete," "Machete loves everybody," "Look at you, smarter than the average Mexican," "Canadian and Mexican? Double whammy!," "Machete happens," "What the beating fuck is that?," "We're even," "Nobody knows Machete." "Really? You're going to make me kill a blind chick?," and "You can't surprise pussy punch someone."
The 411: Machete Kills is just too much movie for its own good. It's fun to watch and worth checking out, but it ultimately fails because director Robert Rodriguez just tries to do too much at one time. Why not announce that you want to make two Machete movies, make two movies, and then go on from there? If we knew a third movie was needed Machete Kills would have been easier to deal with. Bring on Machete Kills Again... In Space!.