Starring: Danny Trejo, Mel Gibson, Amber Heard
Genre: Action/ Comedy
Not that the ‘plot’ is particularly relevant, but here goes: Everyone’s favourite non texting Mexican, Machete (Trejo) is now recruited by the American President (Carlos Estevez, aka Charlie Sheen) in return for being granted American citizenship to track down schizophrenic Mexican revolutionary Marcos Mendez (Demian Bichir) who threatens to blow up America. This also leads to maniacal arms dealer Luther Voz (Gibson), and Machete must stop these two lunatics and not only save America, but the world. Or something like that!
These days it so hard to review a Robert Rodriguez film, because with his entire exploitation obsession he can just respond to any criticism of his films by saying (probably in Spanish) “Well, that is the point!” Fine, but that joke can only go so far and this whole self aware/ ironic ‘joke’ about films being bad because they are supposed to be because it is a tribute/joke/homage to the genre is getting painfully old. The fact the first Machete started off as a joke trailer, and let’s face it was occasionally fun (mainly because of Steven Seagel) but not actually that good means that a sequel is surely testing the tired limits of that joke too much.
Well, Machete Kills is an absolute mess of a film with a plot that is seemingly made up as it goes along. The first half is admittedly good fun as Machete with Mendez in tow try to get to the American border as every Mexican and his dog wants to kill them. Of course everyone is overacting to within an inch of their lives, but as the bonkers Mendez Bichir is good fun and a perfect antidote to Machete’s now quite boring character. The whole “Machete don’t…” gag is done to death here demonstrating that perhaps Rodriguez has well and truly run out of ideas.
Ever heard of the immortal ‘rule of three’ Robert?
I didn’t think so either!
However in the second half things well and truly go all over the place. As the psychic Star Wars obsessed Voz, Mel Gibson well and truly hams it up, and I expect that and more when he plays the bad guy in Expendables 3! Explanation and logic is well and truly left behind, but the sense of fun quickly gets lost in amongst the confusion. The violence itself feels monotonous, and once again not fun. While we have characters that achieve nothing including an assassin that changes from Walt Goggins to Cuba Gooding Jr. to Lady Gaga (!) to Antonio Banderas with an American accent, but apart from showing that Rodriguez has a lot of friends in the industry it is a character that achieves nothing. Likewise Sofia Vergara’s boob gunned brothel mistress and her gang of scantily clad gun toting prostitutes add nothing except more slightly boring and repetitive violence and play a part in Rodriguez’s unashamedly misogynistic approach.
He is a great director when he wants to be, but Rodriguez has certainly rested on his laurels here and become way too self indulgent with a film that lacks any real edge or genuine inventive humour, and has such an unsatisfying mishmash of a story.
Yes I know that is all apparently the point Robert! Now go away and make Spy Kids 5!
Rodriguez once again proves that he has a lot of friends in the film industry, but in Machete Kills a reasonably fun first half descends into a sexist, slightly dull and repetitive second half that shows a totally self indulgent and complacent lack of self discipline from a talented film maker.