Movie review: Machete Kills
There's nothing more dangerous than a sharp knife. Yes guns can cause a bit of damage, and bombs can make quite an impression too, not forgetting how grizzly bears can be if they get their paw claws on you, but all these things can't take away anything from what a sharp and pointy knife can do. In fact probably the only thing worse than having a knife wielded at you is if it's being held by a bad-tempered grizzly.
As the title suggests, a fairly large knife features, among many other weapons, in director Robert Rodriguez' sequel to 2010's gloriously gory Machete, which sees Danny Trejo once again return as Machete 'he slices, he dices' Cortez.
There's no such thing as a quiet life when your name is Machete (Trejo); just when you squash one drug cartel, another one pops up. But that's the least of his problems. He gets a call from the President of the US of A himself (credited as Carlos Estevez AKA Charlie Sheen) who asks him for his services.
There's a revolutionary down Mexico way by the name of Mendez (Demian Bichir) who is out of his mind – literally – as he suffers from multiple personalities. One of them has a missile trained on The White House and is quite prepared to push the button. The President wants Machete to stop him/them. Machete agrees to take on the mission.
It's only when Machete is ankle deep in body parts that he realises that Mendez is only the tip of the iceberg, and that a far more serious foe is posing a far more serious threat to everyone.
Rodriguez set his stool out confidently with the first film; it took the promise of the faux trailer that featured in 2007's Grindhouse double-bill (Planet Terror directed by Rodriguez and Death Proof directed by Quentin Tarantino) and splattered it across the screen in a full-length feature. This sequel then, is pretty much more of the same.
The director may have wimped out a little with this one however, as it drops to a more friendly 15 certificate. This may have been done in just a general attempt to bring a younger and, let's face it, more lucrative crowd in, or it may have been done specifically for the appearance of Lady Gaga; she does, after all, have a huge fan base, and who wouldn't use that to their advantage to get more bums on seats. If that were the case, it is fairly disappointing that Rodriguez would water down his bloody vision for a more kiddy friendly feature, but hey, that's Hollywood commerce for you.
Despite the lower rating, there's still a whole lot to enjoy here. Like the fact that it's ridiculously absurd; the script goes all out to be over the top from every angle and succeeds. Rodrigruez is keen to keep the whole grindhouse mentality very much alive, which is ironic as it's about the only thing that isn't killed off by the film's end.
A minor niggle is the placement of a trailer for a possible third instalment in the series. It contains more than a hint where the story takes off into from within this episode, which kind of gives the game away as to its conclusion. And for that reason, it really should have been tacked onto the end as a nice treat in the credits.
Still, it shouldn't detract from the creative mayhem on screen, as well as some pleasing appearances from Mel Gibson, Cuba Gooding Jr, Amber Heard and Modern Family's Sofia Verga, as well as Machete regulars Antonio Banderas, Michelle Rodriguez and Jessica Alba. And even Lady Gaga doesn't completely suck, although her presence, apart from the possible financial gains, is completely superfluous.
It's loud, explosive and silly fun from beginning to end, proving once again that when it comes to action, Machete is a slash above the rest.
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