Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Machete (2010)

MACHETE
DIRECTED BY: ROBERT RODRIGUEZ & ETHAN MANIQUIS
WRITTEN BY: ROBERT RODRIGUEZ & ALVARO RODRIGUEZ
OVERALL SCORE: 6.00/10
After being setup to take the fall during a hired hit on racist senator Charles McLaughlin (Robert De Niro), ex-Federale Machete (Danny Trejo) enacts vengeance on those behind the scenes. Meanwhile local illegal immigrant helper Luz (Michelle Rodriguez) must work with FBI Sartana (Jessica Alba) to help deal with an impending race war.

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Much in the same vein of last year's Black Dynamite, I found myself once again drawn to a film, if for no other reason than, for its desire to satire a section of filmmaking. Returning, on some level, to Grindhouse films (though this time, much notably more tame in style), Rodriguez creates an interesting, albeit underwhelming, world for our over the top hero to perform carnage in. And Carnage is exactly what we get.

Always with a sense of comical over the top antics, Rodriguez balances message, action, and style with a hint of that old school skill that helped make him a name. It's a start in the right direction, but a foreboding of what can go wrong if he swerves too far. For, as you might well imagine, Machete works as much in its favor as it does out of it.

When it's being ironic (pretty much every time Trejo is passed as a sex symbol) Machete is fun, upbeat, and amusing. When it's dealing with the message, Machete is short winded, and only barely manages to connect the dots. When dealing with its plot Machete just lets things happen for no particular reason and hopes for the best.

The characters are fun, but most of them are cardboard and disposable coming and going into what I can only imagine are magic time delay boxes when the plot sees fit. Though I'm sure you're saying, who cares about plot!? Well, I do, and since it's my review that's where I'm going. You see, Machete, no matter what else it does builds to one particular moment. It's hinted at in the commercials, and we all know its coming... and when it does. I believe we all know the saying going out with a whimper instead of a bang?

It's not that the scene is bad, it's done in a way meant to be amusing and cheesy. Rather, it's that there's just not much to it. You'd think with the talent involved that finale would be more grand, more intense, over the top, and out there. Despite a couple of scenes (a handful ripped right from the trailer) it never reaches there. It entertains, but fizzles quickly into the realm of the forgotten. A strong showing, just not a strong impact.

Worthy of your time for its ability to, at times, be hilarious, smart, and fun just long enough for the runtime to take its course.

If you can get into Machete without expecting too much in the realm of viable plot or intricate details you'll be able to find it entertaining for most counts. Still, despite its promise, and foundation, Machete never escapes its own desire for homage, and allows cheese to get the better of itself, keeping it from rising beyond mindless entertainment. No matter how well intention a mindless action film it might be.


7 better thoughts:

The Film Connoisseur said...

I had fun with it, didnt expect nothing too deep or anything like that. But even then, its main theme has to do with the whole immigration theme (a theme that is pretty hot right now in the real world) so at least it had a hint of a brain in the midst of all the brainless action and gore.

I agree, I wish the ending had been more spectacular somehow, specially when it came to the fight with Steven SEgal's character.

TheAnswerMVP2001 said...

How big a part is Seagal's? That's all I care about.

Univarn said...

@FilmConn If I had to pick I'd likely watch something like Black Dynamite again before this, but I did find it entertaining.

@MVP His character spends most of the film as a background player coming in and out as need be. He's in it quite a bit but minus the start and finale he's usually sitting in a video conference surrounded by girls.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah, that last fight scene should've been more. For the most part though, just dumb, mindless fun.

Simon said...

Don't you just get lost in Jeff Fahey's eyes?

Candice Frederick said...

great review. i definitely want to see this movie. i haed black dynamite, so i was kinda concerned when you drew similarities from that movie. but i definitely wanna go into this with an open mind.

Nottageek said...

De Niro character is called John McLaughlin

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