From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Friday, September 3, 2010

Machete - B

R for strong bloody violence throughout, language, some sexual content and nudity, 105 minutes

Lots of fun and gore in Rodriguez's campy "Machete"

If you're looking for loads of humorous violence and gore, then Robert Rodriguez's "Machete" is the perfect vehicle for you. Done in Tarantino-esque exploitative style, "Machete" is a spin-off of sorts from the 2007 Tarantino-Rodriguez double bill "Grindhouse" that featured a "Machete" fake movie trailer. Admittedly, the excessively violent "Machete" isn't a film for everyone, but then with a film named Machete, what else would you expect. Don't take it too seriously, and you'll have a grand time.

The story revolves around Machete (Danny Trejo), a former "Mexican Federale" turned renegade. After a shakedown with a druglord (Steven Seagal), Machete roams Texas as a day worker. Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey), a slimy local businessman, offers $150,000 to kill. Machete accepts the murder contract. But Machete is double-crossed so the Senator can get votes, and now Machete is on the run again

Agent Sartana (Jessica Alba), a persistent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, is sent by her superior, Lt. Von Jackson (Don Johnson), to go find and capture the injured Machete. Machete, with the help of Shé (Michelle Rodriguez) recruits an unconventional priest(Cheech Marin) to help him gather some of the immigrants to turn the tables and hunt down those who have wronged him.

"Machete" is one of low-brow films that's pure predictable trash, but enjoyable, fun trash that will keep you interested until the end. The cast and the violence make for a colorful, memorable film that seems like a male, Mexican version of Tarantino's "Kill Bill."

Only Rodriguez could assemble a cast that includes Oscar-winner DeNiro, former TV star Johnson (who for some reason is being "introduced" here as if it was his first film), washed-up action star Seagal, airhead Alba and resident whore Lohan. But the film is grounded by ex-con-turned-movie-star and familiar face Trejo (seen briefly in the recent Rodriguez-produced "Predators" remake), an unconventional character actor with a rough, hard look that fits the Machete role perfectly.

Even more fun about the entertaining "Machete" is the over-the-top violence and gore that fills the film, with some comic book-style (loads of blood and body parts) fight scenes that will make you first about eating those licorice sticks. The story is pure pulp and done in such a broad style you wonder if Rodriguez (who co-wrote the script along with just about everything else) has any other style but this. It grows a little tiresome after awhile and you have a sense of what will happen in the end.

"Machete" sequels will likely follow if this is a hit and it likely will find some resonance outside the comic-con audience this is geared for. This is a good, if not, forgettable, way to end the summer and pure escapist entertainment.