From the five fictitious trailers that split the two parts of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse apart two brilliant full length movies have been born, Hobo with a Shotgun and Machete both emerging as gore-tasticaly great as the fake teasers promised they would be.
Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez Machete, much like his far superior Grindhouse contribution Planet Terror, harked back to the trashy exploitation movies of the 70’s and the big budget high concept action movies of the 80’s.
Combining clichés from Blaxploitation, Kung-Fu, horror, action and porno Machete appeared like a long lost Mex-ploitation movie but underneath the guns, girls, gringos and gore Rodriguez had a strong message to convey.
Subversively Machete served to highlight the issues of immigration making you think as well as laugh and whoop with joy whenever cult legend Danny Trejo dispatched with another racist yank via the medium of machete.
Added to this the film and its sequel Machete Kills heavily championed Hispanic actors casting the majority of its positive empowered characters from familiar and less familiar Latino faces, actors who are usually sidelined into roles as stereotyped sidekicks, hot Chicas or gang bangers.
Unlike his Grindhouse partner Tarantino who is both inconsistent and over ratted as a filmmaker Rodriguez is under appreciated having persistently provided audiences with filmic entertainment in a vast variety of genres from horrors such as Dusk till Dawn and The Faculty to action epics such as El Mariachi and Sin City, even creating children’s adventures with the Spy Kids series.
Bizarrely it is in 2001’s Spy Kids that the character of Machete Cortez first appears with Danny Trejo across the franchise playing the uncle of the espionage obsessed adolescents and brother to their father Gregorio Cortez played by Antonio Banderas.
Banderas pop’s up in Machete Kills but this time as one of the four different actors playing the multi-faced assassin Camaleón alongside Walton Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lady Gaga.
Camaleón is one of the many crazy characters sent to kill Machete in Machete Kills after the Mexican badass is sent on a mission from the president of the United States equally ridiculously played by Charlie Sheen who clearly embracing his Hispanic heritage is credited under the name Carlos Estevez.
Machete must stop crazed schizophrenic revolutionary Mendez (the hilarious Demian Bichir) who plans to blow up Washington with a missile provided to him by eccentric weapons maker and Star Wars fan Voz (real life mad man Mel Gibson).
Enraging man hatting madam Desdemona (Sofía Vergara) and Southern racist Sheriff Doakes (William Sadler) along the way Machete must slice his way back to the boarder in a race against time killing anything and everything that gets in his way.
Although Machete Kills lacks the originality and edge of the first film it manages to increase the insanity throwing in a buffet of balletic brutality and imaginative deaths using helicopters, boats and a gun that turns people inside out.
The cast are all excellent and obviously enjoying themselves and as well as the new characters the film sees the welcome return of not only Jessica Alba but Tom Savini and Michelle Rodriguez all reprising their roles from the first film.
From the Sci-Fi silliness of the trailer for Machete Kills Again…In Space at the start to the fantastic flipped out finale where you realise that the third part actually will be set in space Machete Kills is non-stop violent visceral entertainment proving yet again that Rodriguez is a master movie maker whatever genre he decides to work in.