Reviewed: Machete Kills (2013)

machete_kills_ver11_xlgI’m a bit of a fan of Robert Rodriguez. Desperado had quite an impact on me as a teen with its comic book action and I’ve been following his career with interest ever since. His high water mark commercially is Sin City but considering that’s a collaborative effort based on someone else’s work – for me, it can’t really qualify as his own. Another contender is From Dusk Till Dawn but for similar reasons, that doesn’t count either. I guess from this, we can draw the conclusion that Rodriguez (although a visionary and cut-price genius in his own right) works best with others. Left to his own devices, things tend to get a little bit out of control. Hell, even when working with others things have a habit of getting bat-shit crazy.

Rodriguez is a big kid who gets to play with cool toys and tell stories using movies and that’s reason enough for me to like him. It’s no surprise that he’s made a string of successful and appealing kids movies with the Spy Kids franchise. There’s nothing too out there for him (he made a another kids film which is a collection of short stories based around the common theme of a magic rock – Shorts). If (through special effects) he can make it happen, he’ll give it a go.

The character of Machete first came to prominence when Tarantino and Rodriguez brought to cinema screens (the ones that would actually show it anyway) their Grindhouse concept – a tribute to the midnight movies of yesteryear where no subject was taboo and genre reigned king. Their ambitious hope to release two films back to back (complete with fake trailers for other movies – including Machete) was received with mixed reviews. I for one, thought it was a brilliant idea. Machete also turns up in the Spy Kids films and it’s a high probability that every other time Danny Trejo has appeared in a Rodriguez film – he was playing an incarnation of him but it’s the Grindhouse trailer that gave Machete an identity as well as a glimpse at his full potential (which honestly isn’t that much) when fleshed out.

The first film Machete (2010) (like many of Rodriguez’s films – Planet Terror for example) took a second viewing before I could truly appreciate it for what it was. When Machete Kills hit the shelf I was interested, but not specifically excited about it.MC2-DF-11265.CR2Machete Kills begins with a (fake?) trailer for a third film which introduces us to the concept of Machete slicing and dicing in space. This essentially sets us up for where the end of this film is going to take us. The story begins with the killing off of characters from the first film so we can reset Machete’s loner persona to zero. We are then introduced to his new accomplices and nemeses one by one until it all makes at least a little bit of sense before we return to the crux of what Machete is about – comic violence. With an intriguing assortment of cameos and supporting cast including Mel Gibson, Lady Gaga and the esteemed Carlos Estevez (Charlie Sheen) along with many other longstanding collaborators, this flick does exactly what it says on the box.

This is one of those movies that you’ll love if you know what you’re in for. As a fresh pick with no background on the approach of this film or its cinematic history – it may come off as a brainless waste of time. I enjoyed it but then again, I have problems. Tread with caution.

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