When you need to take out a madman who has a missile pointed at Washington, who do you call? Machete!
Robert Rodriguez’s follow-up to Machete – the film based on a fake trailer for Grindhouse that he made because of popular demand – is every bit as ludicrous, over the top and fun as the first one. That’s saying something.
From the trailer for Machete Kills Again… In Space to the explosive finale of Machete Kills, this is one wild ride. It has the three Bs – bullets, brawls and babes – also, as an extra, bombs! It features a host of guest stars that ranges from Charlie Sheen (under his birth name, Carlos Estevez), Cuba Gooding and Rodriguez-made star Antonio Banderas, to Lady Gaga. Alexa Vega (the Spy Kids Trilogy’s Carmen) shows up in a role that leaves no doubt that she’s all grown up – one of the assistants of Sophia Vergara’s killer madam, Desdemona.
The plot, insomuch as one is needed: following a tragic loss, Machete (the fabulously deadpan Danny Trejo) is asked by the President of the United States (Estevez) to find and thwart a Mexican madman named Mendez (Demian Bichir) – who has a nuclear missile pointed at DC. Problems arise. Mendez suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder, and he’s had the missile wired to his heart – if he dies, the missile launches automatically.
Side issues include a contract on Machete that brings in every assassin (including Cuba Gooding Jr., Banderas and Lady Gaga), infinitely complicating things. His handler, Miss San Antonio (Amber Heard) seems capable, but maybe not quite up the challenges presented – especially when events lead Machete to Luther Voz (Mel Gibson, going so nonchalantly over the top that it’s wonderful), a self-described visionary who claims to be able to see the future (even as he kind of helps it along).
As in Machete, the titular character finds yet another new use for intestines in Machete Kills. He also uses a speedboat as a blunt weapon, successfully defends himself against a seemingly unkillable foe (Marco Zaror) and enlists the aid of his ex, Luz (Michelle Rodriguez).
Working from a screenplay by Kyle Ward (based on a story by Rodriguez and Marcel Rodriguez), Rodriguez sets a blistering pace and – between referencing any number of genre films, ranging from Dr. No to The Empire Strikes Back – once again captures the feel and look of the best of the bad B-movies.
Machete Kills is not a movie for everyone. It is a delightfully crazed entertainment for B-movie fans and certainly solidifies Rodriguez as the modern King of the Killer Bs.
Final Grade: B+