Machete Kills (2013)
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Written by: Kyle Ward, Marcel Rodriguez, Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Alexa Vega, Amber Heard, Antonio Banderas, Charlie Sheen, Cuba Gooding Jr., Danny Trejo, Demian Bichir, Jessica Alba, Lady Gaga, Mel Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofía Vergara, Tom Savini, Vanessa Hudgens, Walton Goggins, William Sadler
MACHETE KILLS (2013)
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
The first Machete movie introduced us to a deadly federale who was seeking justice for both himself, his family and his people, as the senator and drugs cartel looked to stop illegal immigrants crossing the border for work. Machete Kills continues a few years after the end of Machete, where the titular character and his lover, Sartana (Jessica Alba) are continuing their fight for justice, which leads him onto the path of Luther Voz and ultimately, protecting the world.
Machete Kills takes a Bondesque storyline, complete with crazy scientist villain, and ramps it up 500%. The film tries to fit in as many characters and plot threads as possible that it’s hard to know what’s going on from one minute to the next. As a Machete fan, I’d have loved this sequel to have taken a more realistic route to match that of the first movie. Throwing everything in that they could think of just didn’t work for me. However, if I switch off my brain and see this as a standalone piece of entertainment, it works fine.
As you should all know by now, I love Danny Trejo and will happily watch anything with him in. Hell, I even bought Def Jam: Fight for NY on the PS2 so I could play as Danny and whoop ass (it was actually a brilliant game too – bonus!). I felt that Machete Kills didn’t give Danny Trejo’s character as much depth as it did in the first film, and even though he appears often enough, being the lead character and all, he was overshadowed by shoehorning every actor going into it. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Antonio Banderas, and Cuba Gooding Jr, Amber Heard and even Lady Gaga are great additions, but the overload of characters seemed to draw more focus to that and the confusing story, leaving poor Machete a shadow of his former self, even if he is still as badass. I can only liken this to what Dead Man’s Chest was to Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Machete still wipes out his enemies with such ease and theatrics, however there seems to be less screentime devoted to him as a person, and rather than Machete being in control and the main focus like in the first movie, he’s just one of many standout characters vying for attention.
Whilst torn between enjoyment and a hint of disappointment, I was glad to see the return of Luz, Agent Sartana and Osiris from the first film. Like old friends, it’s always good to return to something familiar and all three were great characters from the first film. Though Machete Kills introduces plenty of new ones in the shape of Miss San Antonio (Amber Heard), the Chameleon (Walt Goggins/Cuba Gooding Jr/Lady Gaga/Antonio Banderas) and Desdemona (Sofia Vergara), none quite seem to evoke any emotional attachment, be it in a good way or bad way.
The cast do a great job though, even if some characters are a bit over-the-top. I suppose you can say that it’s in keeping with the film’s style anyhow, especially with the character of Machete himself. Danny Trejo’s Machete pleases fans with his kills using the environment to his advantage, in particular helicopters and electricity boxes. His arch nemesis Luther Voz, as played by Mel Gibson, is rather eccentric and introduces a range of his own gadgets into the equation too. There’s plenty of blood shed, explosions and chase scenes to fulfill the needs of action geeks and its B-movie awesomeness will always raise a smile.
Whilst the first movie was set pretty much in Texas, Machete Kills takes us around Mexico, including Acapulco and a stop off eventually in Texas. Everything is much bigger this time round: sets, characters, locations… It really is a lot to take in, and as I’ve already mentioned, it can be a little hard to follow if you’re watching it as a fan rather than just for enjoyment. Sometimes, the characters and story get lost in the process.
With the film starting and ending with a teaser for Machete Kills Again… In Space, I can only hope that Machete Kills is setting up for something a bit more tighter knit and packing a much heavier punch. I’ll definitely be looking out for the sequel, as Machete is one kick-ass character, but I just hope this time around, he’ll be dominating the story in a much more controlled fashion.
The Blu-Ray edition of Machete Kills features a couple of really short featurettes “If Carlos Estevez were president” and “Six Degrees of Robert Rodriquez”, where the cast talk about working with the director. The disc does however feature 40 minutes worth of cast and crew interviews including Danny Trejo, Mel Gibson and Amber Heard. The Steelbook version is also available from Zavvi.