Machete (Trejo) is a disgraced Mexican Federale who's hiding amongst the illegal immigrants on the Texas-Mexico border. Here he stumbles into a conspiracy involving a trigger-happy senator (DeNiro) and a wild-eyed vigilante (Johnson) who are cleaning up the border one bullet at a time. But he also runs up against a sexy immigration officer (Alba), a ruthless businessman (Fahey) and a trail of criminality leading to his nemesis Torrez (Seagal). As things get nasty, he gets help from his priest brother (Marin) and a feisty taco-truck lady (Rodriguez).
Yes, this film is overcrowded with colourful characters. And we haven't mentioned Lohan's hilarious meth-addicted socialite or Savini's uber-hitman.
That Rodriguez manages to keep all of these characters swirling through the relatively coherent chaos is pretty impressive, and the actors all make the most of the roles with seemingly unlimited attitude and posturing. As a result, each person takes on a iconic quality, and the script makes sure no one is underused.
But what this actually does is diffuse the story so much that there's nothing we can latch onto. We sit back and enjoy the mayhem, especially as the violence is so over-the-top that it's hilarious. But it's more like a series of interconnected comedy sketches than a fully formed feature. It's lively and colourful and extremely silly as it pokes fun at exploitation films. And the parade of hideous men with nasty moustaches and hot women with plunging necklines is deeply amusing.
At the centre, Trejo just about holds things together with a slightly overwhelmed performance as a guy who never saw a blade he didn't like. He'll wield just about any weapon, from a surgical scalpel to a weed-whacker, but he won't send a text message. And even though they're a gruesome twosome, Alba is terrific as his sidekick, offering a vaguely pointed comment about migrants amid the pandemonium: "We didn't cross the border; the border crossed us!"
Run time: 105 mins
In Theaters: Friday 3rd September 2010
Box Office USA: $26.6M
Box Office Worldwide: $31.3M
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Production compaines: Troublemaker Studios, Dune Entertainment, Dune Entertainment III, Overnight Films
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Fresh: 130 Rotten: 51
IMDB: 6.7 / 10
Director: Robert Rodriguez, Ethan Maniquis
Screenwriter: Robert Rodriguez, Alvaro Rodriguez
Starring: Danny Trejo as Machete, Michelle Rodriguez as Luz, Jessica Alba as Sartana Rivera, Robert De Niro as Senator John McLaughlin, Lindsay Lohan as April Booth, Cheech Marin as Padre Cortez, Steven Seagal as Rogelio Torrez, Daryl Sabara as Julio, Don Johnson as Von Jackson, Jeff Fahey as Michael Booth, Tom Savini as Osiris Amanpour, Tina Rodriguez as Tristana, Tito Larriva as Culebra Cruzado, Stacy Keach as Doc Franklin, James Parks as Edgar McGraw, Billy Blair as Billy