For a movie that came about because of fan reaction to a faux trailer that part of the full package of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse. The story – a Mexican federale named Machete and his partner attempt to rescue a kidnapping victim but it’s a trap, and the corrupt cop kills his wife and daughter. Three years later, in Texas – a corrupt politician’s equally corrupt top advisor hires Machete to shoot the politician but it’s a set-up and Machete is out for revenge – is typical B-movie fodder, but Rodriguez and Danny Trejo [as Machete] capture the extreme violence and savage wit of the best ‘60s and ‘70s exploitation flicks.
Rodriguez delivers a movie about the corrupt manipulators of politics who are plotting to put an end to illegals entering country from Mexico – not to actually keep them out, but to drive up the need for their cheap labor, but only through them. The men behind this plot include Mexican drug lord Torrez [Steven Segal], Texas senator McLaughlin [Robert DeNiro] and his executive aide, Booth [Jeff Fahey]. In their quest for profit, they enlist the aid of a “vigilante” named Stillman [Don Johnson] and a hitman named Osiris [Tom Savini].
It’s an ultra-fast-paced movie that maintains an internal logic that might be absurd, but at least it’s consistent. Thanks to Arizona’s passage of a very peculiar immigration law, Machete even becomes a pointed political statement! There are moments where the film’s political stance feels a bit forced – and interferes with the overall pacing of the film, but that’s not a bad thing [the best exploitation movies always had a political undercurrent] and, overall, Machete powers its way to a conclusion that gives new meaning to the phrase ‘blaze of glory.’
If only Rodriguez had included a commentary track – that could’ve been great fun.
Features: Audience Response Track [pretty much a waste of space]; five deleted Scene [did you know that Jessica Alba played twins? Fun!]; both Theatrical and Red Band Trailers, and… that’s it! [Unless you count unrelated trailers as an extra and not promotion…]
Grade: Machete – B+
Grade: Features – C-
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