Director: Ethan Maniquis, Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, Lindsay Lohan
Synopsis: Machete originated as a fake trailer that separated the films Death Proof and Planet Terror in the Tarantino/Rogriguez dream project Grindhouse. Though the experiment failed, a lot of interest was expressed in this fake trailer, which is the story of a Mexican ex-cop, codename Machete (Rodriguez regular Trejo), who was set up to take the fall for an assassination attempt against an anti-immigration senator (De Niro). What follows in the film is a pure revenge flick that hails back to the exploitation cinema of the 1970s.
A review by Film Nerd.
This film is sickeningly gruesome. It replaces a meaningful plot for alternate shots of naked women with horrid decapitations. It is exploitation cinema almost seeming fresh from the 1970s. The action is so over the top it leaves credibility far behind. Ans the characters are so thin as to be barely two-dimensional. In short, it is exactly what the trailer promised, and I loved every second of it.
Shortly before popping the disc into my PS3, I was on the phone with my cousin. She was familiar with the film from seeing the trailer at a film festival last year. I believe her exact words in response were “Oh no, you are not really going to watch that are you??” I then discovered she knew little of the origins of the film, as I have stated them in the synopsis. The Grindhouse project was a collaboration between Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez to replicate the type of cinema they enjoyed at the drive-in as teenagers in the 70s. We are talking over-the-top action sequences, old scratched and worn prints, missing reels, the whole lot. It was intended as a doubler feature, but when audiences did not “get it”, the two films were separated for distribution internationally. To this day, I still yearn to see Grindhouse as these two unique and visionary directors originally intended.
Grindhouse was not a success, and yet sufficient interest was shown in this fake trailer of Machete, which promised yet another film of the same ilk as Death Proof and Planet Terror. That film is now a reality, and has delivered precisely what was promised. This is not a film you watch for political commentary on race relations across the Mexico/USA border. This is no probing police procedural full od political intrigue. This film is a teenage boys wet dream of physics defying action, violence played for comic effect, and all mixed in with a very healthy dose of bare flesh. In fact, this entire film perhaps has more nudity than an entire season of True Blood.
This is not a film for a queasy stomach, nor for a thought-provoking experience. Watch the trailer below and you know the film already. If the trailer interests you, than this is a 4-star film, as it was for me. If you can see no redeeming features about this trailer, even with an appreciation of the history of this film, it will barely rate a single star. I can only give one final rating though, and for me it is thumbs up.
4 stars out of 5.