Monday, September 6, 2010

Machete - 2010

Director:   Robert Rodriguez and Ethan Maniquis
Written by:  Robert Rodriguez and Alvaro Rodriguez
Machete:   Danny Trejo
Senator McLaughlin:   Robert DeNiro
Sartana:  Jessica Alba
Torrez:   Steven Seagal
Luz:   Michelle Rodriguez
Booth:   Jeff Fahey
Padre:   Cheech Marin
Von:   Don Johnson
Sniper:   Shea Whigham
April:   Lindsay Lohan
Julio:  Daryl Sabara
Jorge:  Gilbert Trejo
Osiris Ampanpour:   Tom Savini

Yes, I am a girl.  However, I do like a good testosterone soaked slice of silliness every so often.  I saw "Machete" last night.  It stars Danny Trejo as the title character who is a meek, quiet, sensitive man who is working as a volunteer in a cat shelter while he is trying to get a job behind the counter at H&M.  Ok, I'm making that up.

 "Machete" is one of the best, funniest, most tasteless and most crazily violent movies I have seen in quite awhile.  With the opening scene we start at over-the-top and then go from there.  A few of the films’ deadly highlights:  not one but two people get an eye shot out, more beheadings than I could possibly keep track of, a wine corkscrew to the face, a meat thermometer to the neck, a priest (Cheech Marin) gets crucified (by Tom Savini), many explosions, many bigger explosions, really big knives, any kind of gun you could name and many you couldn't, Machete jumping out of a window and rappelling down the side of the building using a bad guy’s intestines, a pair of high heels used as lethal weapons (Hey, they don’t call ‘em stilettos for nothing!), Robert De Niro electrocuted AND most disturbing of all -  Steven Seagal as a Mexican drug lord sporting the most impressive widow's peak since Lugosi last played Dracula.

It also stars two dishy actors I haven’t seen for much too long: Jeff Fahey as an extremely nasty bad guy with beautiful eyes (Hey Jeff...babe!  Call me!), and Don Johnson listed in the credits as "introducing Don Johnson", and who mysteriously seems to be turning into an "Apocalypse Now" era Marlon Brando.  Whew.  Oh, and Lindsay Lohan dressed as a nun when she and her stepmother aren’t naked in a swimming pool making out with Machete.  

And if none of that makes you want to go see this movie then I give up. 

Danny Trejo plays an ex-Federale who was betrayed, nearly killed and is now working as a day laborer while trying to get revenge.  Actually, he is betrayed and nearly killed several times in this flick.  Sometimes he must think, gee I just should have stayed home today.  He is hired to assassinate a state senator (DeNiro) who is a right winger on a mission to keep all Mexican immigrants out of the US.
Trejo sails through all this with very few facial expressions.  Usually this would be a drawback for an actor, but here it fits the character.  Buster Keaton was once called “The Great Stone Face” but I think we have a new contender for the title.  He was recently in “Predators” as the Guy Who Gets Killed First.  Besides that, the only other film I remember seeing him in was “From Dusk till Dawn” as the bartender.  He is hard to forget, even in a relatively small role.  He could not be called a classically handsome man, but he has a definite presence, maybe even charisma.  I think this movie shows that he can carry a film, and I am looking forward to seeing more of him.  And, the realization that he has been in quite a few other movies means that I need to get out more. 

Speaking of charisma, I can’t not mention Michelle Rodriguez.  This lady has charisma in spades, and starting with “Girl Fight” in 2000 seems always to be growing as an actress. 

The one-note Jessica Alba plays a hard line federal immigration agent who changes her tune and becomes a revolutionary and Machete’s love interest.  I have to congratulate Ms. Alba’s agent for finally finding that wet paper bag she is (almost) able to act her way out of.

There are just too many characters, too many plots and they all come hurling at you at once.  The movie has that cartoon/comic book (beg your pardon, Graphic Novel) feel that is familiar from “Grindhouse”.  This film actually started life as a fake movie preview within that one.  It’s a big bunch of goofy fun and all the actors look as if they are having a blast.  The joke is not on us, we are in on it from the opening credits, and it’s a hoot.    

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