‘Machete Kills’: Review

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Grindhouse was a cool movie I was looking forward to in 2007. Well, the story begins before that, being one of those long-rumoured projects that seemed like it would never actually happen, and looked way better on paper than anything would ever come of it. But, there I was Saturday April, 7th, 2007, following a spring break that saw me having a house all to myself for a week and strictly reading the James Ellroy masterpiece L.A. Confidential and watching Late Night talk shows. What a life I lead then, and now I’m not entirely sure if it’s sad or what that I still just do that exact same thing six years later. Anyways, Grindhouse actually happened, a Rodriguez zombie flick back-to-back with a Tarantino car chase/revenge flick along with some fake trailers and goodies sprinkled alongside it. These were the days where Tarantino/Rodriguez were quite literally God’s to me. This was the coolest that could ever happen. There was this fake trailer starring Danny Trejo as the most bad-ass Mexican ever, Machete, killing all gruesomely. A role he was pretty much born to play, and one he’s basically played numerous times in varying degrees throughout his career. It was fantastic as a trailer, and of course me and others being the greedy bastards we are, never satisfied with the limited greatness we got, we wanted a film. We got said film three years later, and again I sat awed that this thing actually got made. But, then it sucked, and I was sad.

That’s a cool and boring lead-up paragraph just to say that Machete Kills was even worse. Hey, I get it, I know Machete isn’t supposed to serious even within the smallest molecule of its being, and I get that it’s a throwback to 70s trash, B movies. I get all the cool celeb cameos playing a juxtaposed character to their real-life self, and it’s cool seeing washed up great actors of old in this jawn. I get what Machete is trying to do, being a fun time escape, with cool explosions and literally everything you want to see in a cliched action film. But, the problem is, it doesn’t even do that well. It’s probably also that I’ve seen so much insane violence in action movies and exploitation flicks that no matter of you figuring out how to behead or kill someone is really going to surprise or shock me anymore. Maybe, that’s my problem, maybe I am broken. The humour is somehow worse than the action tenants of the film, but I guess if jokes about Justin Bieber and tweeting are things you find funny, this might be the movie for you. Also, Sofia Vergara is in this, and she’s scientifically proven to be the worst actress on planet Earth. Vergara has never played a role where her accent, or ethnicity weren’t’ the MAJOR focus of her character or push the river on every joke about or surrounded her. Obviously, Modern Family is the prime example where all the jokes around her revolve around her heritage, so cheap, so lazy.

I really wished I could have liked this film for the pure “brain turned off” fun that it’s designed to be, but I couldn’t even sink to that level for this. The one thing I did really enjoy, though, was the character of El Camaleón, basically an assassin who can change identities by literally ripping off his/her face and becoming Walton Goggins (the original), Cuba Gooding, Jr., Lady Gaga and Antonio Banderas. It was a pretty cool device to use all of them as one character, but usually speaking as Goggins, and was pretty ridiculous seeing them literally rip their face off to expose the one of another actor’s. I wish the Camaleón had gotten a bigger role, but when you have Mel Gibson as your baddie, you better damn well use him as your baddie. They kinda pull an Iron Man 3, though, where Demián Bichir in the early stages seems like the big bad, until it regresses into Gibson. It’s insane and beautiful how much Bichir is committed to his role, him being just an incredible actor in the first place, the fun he’s having just oozes off the screen as he plays a bi-polar crime lord, who dips back and forth from being a reckless childlike dictator to a semi-normal adult male. He’s a wonder to watch in anything, but his commitment here made it hard to hate any scene he was in, but unfortunately it was too few.

I’m sorry Machete Kills, I didn’t like the first one, I gave you another chance and you let me down. I WILL never see another “Machete” film again. Well, unless they actually make that Machete Kills Again… In Space! movie, basically Machete owning baddies in space for some amazingly ridiculous reason. I mean, they would never make that movie, right? Just like they were never going to actually make that Grindhouse movie, or that Machete movie or its sequel…

4/10

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