Machete Review

Essentially part three of the Grindhouse series, this old-style thriller sprang from Rodriguez's fake trailer. In some ways it should have stayed that short, because while it's riotously entertaining, there's nothing much to it.

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!"


Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd September 2010

Box Office USA: $26.6M

Box Office Worldwide: $31.3M

Budget: $20M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Troublemaker Studios, Dune Entertainment, Dune Entertainment III, Overnight Films

Reviews 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Fresh: 130 Rotten: 51

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: , Ethan Maniquis

Producer: , Aaron Kaufman, Iliana Nikolic, ,

Starring: as Machete, as Luz, as Sartana Rivera, as Senator John McLaughlin, as April Booth, as Padre Cortez, as Rogelio Torrez, as Julio, as Von Jackson, as Michael Booth, as Osiris Amanpour, Tina Rodriguez as Tristana, as Culebra Cruzado, as Doc Franklin, James Parks as Edgar McGraw, Billy Blair as Billy