By Gary Murray
Starring Danny Trejo, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard and Mel Gibson
Written by Kyle Ward
Directed by Robert Rodriquez
Running time 107 min
MPAA Rating R
Selig Film Rating FULL PRICE
Robert Rodriquez is a director who has single-handedly turned Austin into the third coast. Some of his films have been Sin City, the Spy Kids series and Grind House. It was with the last work that Machete was hatched.
The idea of this action hero started as a preview of a film that didn’t exist. As a trailer between the features of Grind House, Machete one of those 1970s style features that played in double-bills at drive-in throughout the south. Basically, Machete was a joke.
Well, since no good exploitation idea ever goes to waste, Robert turned in into a feature in 2010. Machete Kills is the sequel.
The story takes place just after the events of the first adventure but it is its own story. One does not have to see the first Machete flick to understand everything that happens in this adventure.
Before the film gets going, there is a trailer for Machete Kills Again…In Space. It is an over the top yarn about the man in outer space, fighting bad guys. Think Jason X as a template. It is silly, self-reflexive and sets the tone for this adventure.
Machete Kills starts with our hero and his partner (Jessica Alba) taking down some crooked military guys who are trying to sell guns to the Mexican cartels. Just as the blood bath starts, another masked group cuts down the cartel. It is headed by a mysterious man in a Mexican wrestler mask. This fiend kills the partner.
All this is a set-up for the main story. The President (Carlos Estevez aka Charlie Sheen) offers Machete full US citizenship and a pardon if he will go to Mexico and bring back Mendez (Demian Bichir) a drug kingpin who has a nuke at his disposal. He also has a split personality.
Machete is aided by Miss San Antonio (Amber Heard) one of the many women attracted to the animal magnetism of our hero. The path toward Mendez leads through Desdemona (Sofia Vergara), a madam with a killer bra. Think Fem-bots from Austin Powers. She has a personal grudge to settle with Machete.
Eventually, our hero finds Mendez and finds that the trigger to the nuke is embedded it the heart of the king pin. If Mendez’s heart stops, the trigger will go off and the nuke will explode. The only person who can defuse the bomb is the maker Voz (Mel Gibson).and Machete has only 24 hours to save the world.
The plot of Machete Kills is a race back to the border with Mendez before time runs out. Almost instantly there is 10 million dollar bounty on Machete, a bounty that El Camaleon wants. El Camaleon is played by a multitude of different actors who pull off a mask Mission: Impossible style. This device becomes stranger and stranger as the film goes along.
If all of this sounds confusing, it is meant to twist and turn but still make sense. If the entire exercise sounds over the top, it is supposed to be that way. The film makes fun of those 1970s style exploitation flicks that were more just excuses to attach action pieces.
This film is full of references to just about every film that has been produced in the last few decades. It becomes a fun exercise to hunt out the Easter Eggs presented on the screen and figure out what film they originally came from. Robert Rodriquez steals from everybody with Machete Kills.
Danny Trejo is easily the most unusual action star of the silver screen but he still commands a presence. He has this knowing gleam in his eye that lets us know that he sees how silly all of this is but he is still enjoying the ride.
There are so many big stars in small roles that half the fun of Machete Kills is watching who will pop up next. At just about every turn, there is another surprise in the cast. It is a testament to Robert Rodriquez that he can get so many different actors to do such small roles.
I know that violence played for comedy may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Machete Kills was an absolute blast and easily the best sequel of 2013. .It rolls and rollicks like a Coney Island roller coaster and doesn’t let up until the very end. It revels in its political incorrectness with beasts, breasts and blow-ups. In a word, it is a whole mess of silly fun.