Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 290 - Machete

Machete (2010) directed by Robert Rodriguez

"You f*cked with the wrong Mexican."

Machete is that ubiquitous character that has been sprinkled throughout Robert Rodriguez's movies from Spy Kids to Desperado but was perhaps most famous for the fake trailer in Grindhouse, Rodriguez's double feature B-movie homage with Quentin Tarantino. Having so much fun with it, Rodriguez expanded upon that trailer to make a full length movie and keeping with Grindhouse's B-movie theme, Machete is oodles of badness and is proud of it.

I have a soft spot in my heart for movies that are purposely bad and Machete certainly falls in that category. In the opening scenes Machete, who conveniently shares the same name as his weapon of choice, goes into a house and immediately starts impaling and beheading bad guys on scratched and grainy film. He rescues a hot naked woman who pulls a cell phone from the only place she could hide one. And in walks Steven Segal. Yes, it's going to be that kind of film.

Yet in some ways it isn't that kind of film. Machete suffers a bit from the same problems Once Upon a Time in Mexico has, a convoluted and overly ambitious plot. Part of the beauty of a so bad it's good movie is supposed to be its utter simplicity. Machete however tries to do too much and stretches itself too thin in complicated plot points dragging down the pace a little bit. Nonetheless, for the most part the film is still the fun B-movie you'd expect.

I guess I might as well mention the plot not that it really matters for this kind of movie. Machete is an ex-federali whose family was killed by the Mexican drug lord Torrez (Steven Segal). A couple years later he finds himself on the other side of the border in an assassination attempt of a anti-immigrant senator (Robert De Niro) where he is set up by the people who hired him. Machete is helped by Luz (Michelle Rodriguez) the leader of a sort of Mexican underground railroad and pursued by Rivera (Jessica Alba) an immigrations officer torn between the law and her nationality. There are a lot of characters and subplots to keep track of. Part of fun is in seeing all the familiar faces in these ridiculous roles. Lindsay Lohan plays a troubled girl who spends half the movie drugged out and/or topless (boobies!) in a good natured self effacing role.

The film has its good moments, the outrageous violence and corny one liners, but it also has its bad moments as well, the outrageous violence and corny one liners. There is only so much of the same stuff you can rehash over an hour and fifty minutes, some of it is good, some of it tiring. My favorite outrageous moment might be Machete using someone's intestines as a rope, set up nicely after a throwaway line in a previous scene mentioning that that the human intestine is 60 feet long. In the end Machete is a decent B-movie that might have done better by trimming down a little to keep things rolling more smoothly.

Grade: C+

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