Home Year 2013 Machete Kills (2013)

Machete Kills (2013)

"Good timing, Mr President."
“Good timing, Mr President.”

Twitter Plot Summary: Machete seeks revenge against Mel Gibson, who is intent on destroying the world and heading into space.

Genre: Action/Crime/Thriller

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Key Cast: Danny Trejo, Mel Gibson, Demian Bichir, Amber Heard, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Walt Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexa Vega, Marko Zaror, Tom Savini, William Sadler, Jessica Alba

Five Point Summary:

1. So Machete has a reason for getting involved. Vengeance!
2. The Chameleon is a cameo machine!
3. Mel Gibson: villain.
4. It’s all become rather silly.
5. Oh joy, looks like we’re going into space then.

The joke’s starting to wear a little thin for poor old Machete. The first film came about after appearing as a spoof trailer in the Grindhouse double bill, and the character himself is a spinoff from the Spy Kids franchise. This time Machete is embroiled in a plot to destroy the world by evil genius Voz (Mel Gibson). Things start off well. Machete is accused of causing the death of a fellow agent and finds himself hanging from a noose in the office of Texas sheriff William Sadler. As he’s hanging there, a call comes through from the US President giving him a reprieve.

If there is one thing to say Rodriguez does well, it’s bombastic and increasingly ludicrous action sequences. In this sense, Machete Kills is a winner. Each set piece is sillier than the last, which in its own way ties into the frankly ludicrous plot. There’s a kind of twisted logic at play, influenced by the Grindhouse films that started this whole big budget/low budget sub-genre, but it seems convoluted and overly twisty-turny just for the sake of it. The first film was relatively streamlined by comparison. Here, a number of minor storylines are thrown together and it soon becomes a crowded cameo checklist. El Camaleon is perhaps the best new character we meet, who really meets the Grindhouse mantra and whilst being completely one note is an entertaining presence. Same again for Mendez (Bichir) who flip-flops between personalities at a moment’s notice.

"Yep, I think it's a heart."
“Yep, I think it’s a heart.”

The big problem, ironic or not, is the objectification of women. Yes, again going back to the grindhouse origins this is nothing unusual, but the argument that it’s being done knowingly only stretches so far – if there were only a couple of female characters then fine, but other than Jessica Alba every other female in the film is scantily clad and adheres to 70s stereotypes. It’s also too long to sustain the humour – cutting it down to a 90 minute run time would have helped reduce most of the concerns I have about it. At least the cameos, when they do crop up, are entertaining. Charlie Sheen as the President is a fun piece of casting, and Mel Gibson as the villain demonstrates that, whilst some of his personal opinions may be questionable, he is at least still an engaging cinema presence and appears to be having great fun as the precognitive, Star Wars loving Voz.

And then of course we have what appears to be an inevitable third movie. We have a mock trailer at the beginning of the film, and then an obligatory “Machete will return” sequence at the end. The twist this time? He’s in space. Yeah, completely daft, but it fits, especially as this film goes all Moonraker for the final act. I would hope that the idea isn’t pushed beyond that. In fact, I’d argue that Machete only works as a trailer rather than a fully fledged movie, so perhaps if we do get any more it’s limited to just that – a trailer. We’ll see what happens when Machete Kills Again… In Space comes out, but I don’t have high hopes.

Favourite scene: Machete VS Mel Gibson, sword against machete.

Quote: “Machete happens.”

Silly Moment: Mel Gibson setting off into space, Moonraker style.

Score: 2.5/5


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