Ah, that’s better. Leaving behind the pretensions of certain other films, “Machete” is a down and dirty, unabashedly fun and silly movie which single-handedly both redefines and subverts the genre of “Mexploitation”. Developed from a fake movie trailer created for the underwhelming grindhouse tribute double bill of Tarantino’s “Death Proof” and Robert Rodriguez’ “Planet Terror”, “Machete” is better than both of them.
Despite the very adult tone of the film, there’s the same sense of mischevious fun at play here that Rodriguez brought to his “Spy Kids” films here and this feels very like a “Spy Kids” for the Friday night, post-pub, mid-kebab crowd. Danny Trejo is an absurdly cheerable anti-hero, gruff and growly in equal measure but never without a twinkle in his eye. Trejo is ably supported by a stellar cast including Robert DeNiro, Michelle Rodriqguez, Jessica Alba, Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin, Lindsay Lohan, Don Johnson, Tom Savini and Steven Seagal, who all seem to be in on the joke. Well, maybe not Steven Seagal who plays it a deadly and po-faced seriousness that makes me wonder if he genuinely thought this was going to be his big comeback role.
The plot revolves around shady dealings between Seagal’s Mexican drug lord and DeNiro’s would be senator but when the senator’s spindoctor sets up Machete as a patsy for an attempted assasination, they set in motion a bloodthirsty revenge quest which ultimately brings Machete face to face with the man who killed his wife and child.
Clever, violent, funny and thrilling, I’m so glad Robert Rodriguez expanded on the throwaway trailer gag. I’m even gladder there’s a sequel on the way. Roll on “Machete Kills”!