“Machete don’t fail!”
Well Machete, you did disappoint. “Machete Kills” is the third film based on a series of fake trailers made when the acclaimed directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino made their two exploitation films, collectively known as “Grindhouse.” An exploitation film is when a film relies on low budget, effects and artistic quality to “exploit” a current trend or film niche.
“Machete Kills” is in fact a sequel to the first film, “Machete.” Much more fulfilling, the first film covers the origins of the Mexican ex-federal agent Machete Cortez, played by the ferocious Danny Trejo, and his attempt to avenge his murdered family.
In this highly anticipated sequel, Trejo shares the screen with a mind-boggling list of stars including Mel Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Lady Gaga, Cuba Gooding Jr., Antonio Banderas and Charlie Sheen (credited as Carlos Estevez). This time, Machete is hired personally by the American President, played by the hilarious Charlie Sheen, to defend America from a missile launch from the depths of the Mexican jungle.
In terms of what genre the film falls under, “Machete Kills” remains very faithful as a comedy exploitation action film. Regardless, the film is light-years away from its predecessor. The absurdity of the plot downplays the possibilities of the film. Machete jumps across Mexico and the States in a series of ridiculous events which eventually lead to the villain Voz, played by Mel Gibson, who invents laser guns and, yes, laser machetes. Absolutely cool if you love “Star Wars,” but not exactly a favorite for the majority.
Trejo’s performance as Machete has never been one to be lauded. His one-liners are sickeningly funny. From the flat delivery to the bluntness of his language, Machete isn’t one for thinking, but rather one for hacking, and he does just that. Trejo’s Machete is a crossroad of all typical action heroes, combining the straightforwardness of Rambo with the deadliness of the Bride in “Kill Bill.”
The most interesting characters would have to be Madame Desdemona and La Chameleón, two assassins on Machete’s trail. Desdemona is played by Vergara, who gives a steamy, terrifying and energetic performance of an angered mother, strapping on a machine gun bra to hunt down Machete. La Chameleón is played by 4 different actors, including Walton Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lady Gaga and Antonio Banderas. The character, with the help of costumes and latex masks, assassinates people to only peel off their identity to replace it with a new one. One of the interesting characters, La Chameleón is deadly but very funny in their hunt for Machete.
Overall, the film did offer some laughs but was ultimately a disappointment. The plot became unfocused and ended up as a series of uncoordinated scenes blended together haphazardly. The ridiculous plot twist and the even more ridiculous ending managed to make the film irritating to watch as it drew to a close. Even with its amazing cast and ideas for characters, the film falls flat because of its weak plot. Sorry, Machete, but you did fail.