Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.42%
Worth A Look60.53%
Just Average: 15.79%
Pretty Crappy: 2.63%
Sucks: 2.63%

4 reviews, 14 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Lucky Grandma by Jay Seaver

Vast of Night, The by Peter Sobczynski

High Note, The by Peter Sobczynski

Taking of Tiger Mountain, The by Jay Seaver

Trip to Greece, The by Peter Sobczynski

Night God by Jay Seaver

Alice (2019) by Jay Seaver

On a Magical Night (Chambre 212) by Jay Seaver

Driveways by Jay Seaver

Free Country by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by David Cornelius

"Weed-wackin', intestines-swingin', no-textin' fun."
4 stars

Look: we don’t need a “Machete” movie. Really. We just don’t. The original faux trailer, first appearing in the 2007 trash homage “Grindhouse,” already covered all the bases, what with the over-the-top action, ridiculous titillation, and narration dripping in sleaze. As a parody of old school previews, it was perhaps the most spot-on of the “Grindhouse” bunch.

Almost immediately, however, writer/director Robert Rodriguez began talking of expanding “Machete” into an actual movie, the kind with a story and everything. This immediately misses the point. The trailer was the punchline, not the set-up; it’s like Mel Brooks actually making “History of the World Part II.” (Proving Rodriguez doesn’t know when to let a joke be a joke, recent reports suggest he’s thinking of making a “Machete” sequel, using a title that’s revealed at the end of the film as part of, you know, a joke.)

Still, here it is. “Machete,” the actual movie. It’s kind of a mess, struggling to figure out how to build a legitimate plot from the random scenes-as-gags that filled the fake trailer. But Rodriguez and company are eager to accept the challenge without taking anything seriously, and we’re left with a surprisingly fun action-comedy mash-up. “Machete” is winking and self-aware, piling ridiculousness upon ridiculousness, eagerly pushing toward cartoonish dark comedy, equally mocking and celebrating exploitation cinema. Which is to say, if you saw “Grindhouse,” it’s more of the same here, only without the fake print damage and other visual tics.

The story sticks quite closely to the one we saw in 2007: ace Federale Machete (Danny Trejo) is left for dead after sword-wielding drug lord Torrez (Steven Seagal, looking these days like five guys crammed inside a Steven Seagal suit) murders his family. Years later, while working as a day laborer in Austin, he’s approached by slick millionaire Booth (Jeff Fahey) and hired to assassinate immigrant-hating Senator McLaughlin (Robert De Niro). Turns out it’s a frame-up, and Machete finds himself on the run and eager for revenge.

Eager to give the film a heavy political bent, Rodriguez and co-writer (and cousin) Álvaro Rodriguez (the filmmaker is noted for working closely with friends and family, just as he’s noted for freely sharing screen credit; frequent editing collaborator Ethan Maniquis gets a co-director credit here) push the script into satire territory with intentionally heavy-handed commentary on immigration. It’s mostly painted in broad strokes - De Niro’s blowhard politician and Don Johnson’s greasy border patrol vigilante aren’t meant to be taken seriously in the least - but there’s also a low-grade honest anger that gives the film a sharp edge. Rodriguez allows the exaggerated race war that bubbles under the plot (and darn near erupts full blast in the finale) to hide some heavy truths, reminding viewers that the U.S. runs on immigrant labor. The script introduces “the Network,” an underground community of illegals, making sure to reiterate themes of America as the land of opportunity and immigrants (legal and otherwise) as honest, hard-working folks grappling with a broken system (broken on both sides of the border).

But we do not come to “Machete” for an immigration debate, and Rodriguez plasters his movie with wildly entertaining splatter-heavy action, dopey T&A (heavy on the T), and camp so thick you could slice it with skull-scraping surgical equipment. (Oh, Machete loves him the skull-scraping surgical equipment.)

The script gets far busier than it needs to be, and the running time comes off as overly padded, with subplots about Lindsay Lohan being slutty and Michelle Rodriguez being a bad-ass and Jessica Alba taking the movie way too seriously. It’s cluttered, but in an in-the-moment way that works in its favor; things fall apart after the credits roll, but before then, we’re so whipped up by Rodriguez’s manic energy we don’t really mind. There’s an anything-goes flair that’s just plain fun because, hey, the only thing you know about what’s coming next is that it’s bound to be outrageous.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=19656&reviewer=392
originally posted: 09/09/10 02:12:22
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 67th Venice International Film Festival For more in the 67th Venice International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Actionfest 2011 For more in the Actionfest 2011 series, click here.

User Comments

8/26/12 David Pollastrini Sexy and violent. Great film. 4 stars
4/03/12 moose rapper Action-packed and funny as hell! 5 stars
11/10/11 matthew thompson dalldorf THE action film of '10! Seagal makes a great villain! 5 stars
1/23/11 bill norris if you cant hang with over the top "everything" then this isnt your type of flic. 5 stars
10/16/10 Jeff Wilder One of the better recent exploitation movies. Way better than the ridiculous Expendables. 4 stars
9/09/10 Ace-of-Stars Finally! Ugly Guy is Sexy Lead Man! + So wild & over-the-top, couldn't help but 5-star it! 5 stars
9/09/10 GrandMaster T VIOLENT,SHALL AND TASTELESS- sounds great! 4 stars
9/07/10 KingNeutron Seagal's death scene was awesome - nice to see Trejo in a Lead role 4 stars
9/07/10 Mister Way beyond awesome! 5 stars
9/06/10 Sully Fun popcorn/drive-in flick check it out. Bring your own tacos 5 stars
9/05/10 Karamashi Atrocious! It's own special kind of awful. 1 stars
9/05/10 Billie Blackbrain A cut abive the rest. 5 stars
9/04/10 mr.mike Kicks major ass 4 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  03-Sep-2010 (R)
  DVD: 04-Jan-2011


  DVD: 04-Jan-2011

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast