James Helsby

LRE #38: Machete

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Little Red Envelope

In my mailbox this week:

Release Year: 2010

Staring: Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal

Would you believe that Machete was originated in the Spy Kids movie? No, seriously!

It all started way back in 2001. The original Spy Kids movie, which was directed by Robert Rodriguez, followed the story of Carmen and Juni Cortez, and their interactions with their estranged Uncle, Isador “Machete” Cortez. Rodriguez revived the character of Machete in Spy Kids 2, in 2002. And In 2003 for Spy Kids 3D.

In 2007, Rodriguez directed a small segment of the film Grindhouse (Tarentino) which generated a lot of talk at the time. In 2010 Machete was released as a feature film.

Many don’t know that Rodriguez and Trejo are actually related to each other, second cousins in fact. The stange thing is that neither was aware of this, until they worked together in filming the movie Desperado in 1995.  Rodriguez is world renowned for his Troublemaker Studios and Los Hooligans Productions, which has released such classics as El Mariachi, Desperado, Dusk till Dawn, Sin City, Grindhouse, Planet Terror, Death Proof, Predators, and Spy Kids franchise. (lets just say one of these things is not like the other, and leave it with that.)

Trejo has a consistent acting career, but typically prefers to play either minor rolls, or villains. Perhaps this is due to his ‘weathered’ appearance or his physical stature (5′ 6″). Trejo also is consistently cast as a character with a knife-like name: ‘Machete’ in Spy Kids, ‘Razor Eddie’ in Dusk till Dawn, ‘Navajas’ (blades) in Desperado, ‘Cuchillo’ (knife) in Predators.

Machete follows the story of Machete Cortez (as mentioned before), a Mexican Federale who is captured by the even king-pin Torrez (Steven Seagal) when a kidnapping rescue fails. (Lets just say that Vagina’s are useful replacements for a purse, apparently). 3 Years later, Machete is in Texas, and through a series of random events is brought in to perform an assassination of a prominent anti-immigration state law maker (Robert De Niro).

Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey), who hired Machete to perform the assassination, is actually under the employ of State Senator McLaughlin. Booth, is secretly obsessed with his daughter (Lindsay Lohan) and often confesses to that fact to Machete’s brother, the priest (Cheech Marin). But Booth is secretly under the employ and direction of the afore-mentioned Torrez.

Confusing? Don’t let it be. It was AWESOME. Seriously. I mean, I know I have a perhaps un-healthy obsession with bad movies, but this movie is intentionally bad. Well, not really bad. Campy would probably be a much more appropriate description of the film. But don’t let that fool you. The film is over-the-top in every regard; from the actors over acting, to the hard-core violence. Hell, I think there is even a bit of titpit and ruffie action.

But it is really difficult to put a finger on exactly why this movie agreed with me. I think that the combination of the unbelievable plot line, mixed with the action sequences and the over references to issues that are currently plaguing America, is what made it into a hit. Robert De Niro was perfect as the ass-hole senator, who cares more about re-election than his does the life of a pregnant immigrant. Jessica Alba worked perfectly as a pseudo ICE agent, who ‘forgets about her heritige. And Michelle Rodriguez, for once, was the right actor in the right role (I don’t like her in general)

So why should you watch Machete? Watch it because you love campy movies. Watch it because you love over the top action sequences. Watch it because you wife has left you home alone, and you have nothing better to do. Hell, watch it because Lindsay Lohan is nude. Who cares what your reason is, the point is that MORE movies should be made like this. Cheap, but with a clear intention. It wasn’t cheap just for the sake of being cheap, or flash just because there is money to be spent. Machete has a clear goal, and Rodriguez perfectly executed the goal.

How painful was it:  That. Was. AWESOME. Horrible, and that’s exactly why it was Awesome!

Rating: 8/10. If you loved Snakes on a Plane for its Campiness, you will dig this.

The Wife’s Retort: Yeah, it was funny. Better than I expected.

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