- 22 Nov 10
Filled with predictably extreme caricatures, comically excessive violence, 1980s porn music and self-referential humor, Machete is pretty entertaining... for about 20 minutes
In a land far, far away, there lies a mystical place called Malapropisma, where Alanis Morissette is queen and everyone uses ten thousand spoons to butter their toast. While this land has survived without a male monarch for many a year now, Queen Alanis has finally found her soulmate – all hail King Roger Rodriguez! But be warned: by royal decree, anyone who dares suggest that his latest film Machete isn’t ironic, just plain bad, will be charged with treason and beheaded by the titular weapon.
Based on the fake B-movie trailer attached to Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s exploitation film Grindhouse, Danny Trejo plays Machete, a renegade ex-Federale who becomes embroiled in a government conspiracy concerning the exploitation of Mexican immigrants. Pursued by a sympathetic immigration officer (Jessica Alba), Machete is caught in the blood splattering, eyeball gouging, intestine bungeeing (yup) feud between a right-wing vigilante (Don Johnson), and an underground gang of Mexican workers, headed by the enigmatic Luz (Michelle Roderiguez, adding yet another “tough girl in a tank top” role to her resume.) Along the way Machete also encounters a gun-toting priest, a constantly topless and vapid party girl (Lindsay Lohan in her most revealing, believable performance to date) and a naked woman who shows him a novel place to hide a mobile phone.
Filled with predictably extreme caricatures, comically excessive violence, 1980s porn music and self-referential humor, Machete is pretty entertaining... for about 20 minutes. But far from expanding upon the trailer’s pastiche celebration of exploitation films, Machete quickly descends into a muddled, self-satisfied mess that’s not funny enough to be a parody, smart enough to be a satire or engaging enough to justify its run-time. Rodriguez and Maniquis seem to think that trashy aesthetics and a couple of meta-jokes render them brilliantly astute and self-aware film-makers, but remain oblivious to the fact that labelling something an homage doesn’t necessarily make it any good.